Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ten reasons why the CBD to South East Light Rail will benefit Matraville and Maroubra residents – 26th April 2014

26th April 2014

Carlos Da Rocha
Secretary, Matraville Precinct Committee
Randwick City Council area.

Dear Carlos

Here are the 10 reasons you requested as to why I think the CBD South East Light Rail (CSELR) project will benefit (or not disadvantage) residents in the Matraville area of Randwick City Council.


Electric power grids give light rail a greater potential to access alternative power sources over buses allowing for decreases in carbon emissions.

In short, Matraville residents will get a hybrid public transport system that will carry more passengers than the current buses can and will have excess capacity. The bus/light rail interchange issue is overstated when you realise that many current trips to the CBD already require a transfer between buses. Some trips will take longer on the light rail while others will be shorter. Light rail is more environmentally friendly and has the future potential to help greatly reduce green house gas emissions when Australia switches from coal power stations. Light rail will reduce pollution and car congestion along Anzac Parade. Light rail is actually cheaper for a Government than buses in high demand circumstances.

I have tried to be as accurate as possible but it is possible that your precinct members may still identify some errors. I apologise in advance. Please ask them to email me or to make comments to an online version of this article at and I will make appropriate corrections.

1) The Interchanges – Keys to the CBD and Inner West

The Kingsford light rail interchange should be recognised as the golden key that will open a light rail gate way to a wide area of the CBD and inner west for Matraville and Maroubra commuters. This is because the CSELR project will become part of the emerging Sydney Light Rail network. “These light rail lines will form the new Sydney Light Rail network, with reliable, high capacity services running north from Central to Circular Quay along George Street, west to Pyrmont and Dulwich Hill, and south east through Surry Hills to Moore Park, Randwick and Kingsford.”

2) Possible Eastgardens & Maroubra Junction extensions will reduce interchange issues

When the CSELR is built there will be immense public pressure to extend it to Maroubra Junction and even to Eastgardens as called for recently by the Mayor of Botany. This will further benefit Matraville and Maroubra residents because it means that the bus/light rail interchanges will move further south reducing the need for many southern residents to have to change between the two modes.

3) The CSELR will be a rail transport spine that other links can built from

Matraville and Maroubra residents stand to further benefit via future light rail extensions to other areas made possible when the basic transport spine has been laid down by the CSELR rail line. This could include connecting links to Botany Road at Mascot from Kingsford and then across to the current end of the new Dulwich Hill light rail line using existing freight rail corridors.

4) Light Rail stands to reduce car congestion on Anzac Parade

It is anticipated that the CSELR will indirectly benefit Matraville and Maroubra residents by encouraging commuters to abandon their single occupancy cars to ride in light rail cars. This means that by adding light rail to the mix we will increase the overall capacity of Anzac Parade (i.e. car passengers + bus passengers + bike riders + light rail passengers) because light rail cars can carry more passengers than cars and buses. This will help offset the extra local car congestion arising from the extra 8,400 new dwellings imposed on the Council area by the previous state government.

5) Less air pollution on Anzac Parade

All users of Anzac Parade including Matraville and Maroubra residents will be able to travel through less local air pollution. Buses pose specific health risks as diesel is a probable carcinogen risk to children (whose lungs are still developing) and the elderly. “In Sydney, over 1500 tonnes of diesel particles are emitted each year, resulting in a potential health cost of over $400 million”(Department of Environment and Climate Change). Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses are cleaner than conventional vehicles but still produce some nitrogen, carbon monoxide and particulates (US Dept of Energy) and actually more hydrocarbons than conventional vehicles (Australian Department of the Environment) where as Light rail vehicles make no local emissions themselves.

Cars, diesel buses, motorbikes and vans (Dept of Environment & Climate Change NSW) emitted in 2008:

  • 12% of Sydney’s PM10 sized particulates and 18% of Sydney’s PM2.5 sized particulates -“exposure to fine particles (PM10) and ultra-fine particles (PM2.5) is associated with increased mortality and hospital admissions among people with heart and lung disease”;
  • 38.3% of Sydney’s VOC’s (volatile organic compounds such as benzene). There is “mounting scientific evidence that exposure to these substances can be linked to cancer, birth defects, genetic damage, immune deficiency, and respiratory and nervous system disorders”;
  • 71.1% of Sydney’s nitrogen oxides that chemically react with VOC’s (see above) in sunlight to produce ozone. “Some people, such as asthmatics, are sensitive to ozone at low concentrations, so there does not seem to be a safe level for exposure. During periods of high ozone concentration, hospital admissions for asthma and other respiratory conditions increase.”
  • I had no information available on the percentage share of carbon monoxide emissions available at the time of writing. In heavy doses it is well known as a “silent killer” but is unclear what prolonged low level exposure will do. “More recently it has been suggested that prolonged exposure (days-months) to low concentrations of CO may have subtle effects on the brain.” (source Occupational Health & Environmental Medicine).

6) Situation relatively the same for either light rail travel times or vehicle transfers at bus/light rail interchanges

Some current public transport trips will be longer on the CSELR, others will be about the same, while others again will actually be shorter. Much has been made of the inconvenience of transferring at the Kingsford interchange but in reality many bus only trips actually require more changes between vehicles than the light rail does.

For example, at present a passenger leaving Matraville at 8.01am on the 392 bus can change to an X94 express bus and reach Circular Quay 9 minutes earlier than a future 392/light rail trip via the yet-to-be built Kingsford interchange. BUT to do so will require that passenger to accept the inconvenience of a vehicle change at Kingsford exactly the same as required for the light rail. Furthermore the bus-only trip requires an 8 minute walk to finish getting to Circular Quay. Would catching a ferry 9 minutes earlier cancel out the inconvenience of an 8 minute walk? It might for some but maybe not for others with mobility problems.

The following examples always use a conservative time of 6 minutes for a passenger to change to the light rail at what will be the Kingsford interchange. The trip is always assumed to start at the bus stop on Bunnerong Road near Perry Street, Matraville. The times come from a CSELR trip calculator at and bus trip calculators at

  • No difference in time or vehicle changes from Matraville to Central. At present a 392 bus passenger transfers to a 393 bus at Kingsford 17 minutes after leaving Matraville. This transfer cancels out the 6 minute transfer dis-encouragement for light rail at the Kingsford interchange. The 392/393 bus only trip takes a total of 42 minutes to reach Central. The light rail would take 18 minutes to reach Central from Kingsford meaning that a 392/light rail trip would also take 42 minutes (i.e. 18 + 18 + 6 minutes) equalling the 392/393 trip. And it would require exactly the same number of changes between vehicles i.e. one.
  • Six minutes faster by light rail to Chinatown from Matraville and both trips will require one vehicle change – but there is a 12 minute final walk for the bus. A 392/374/walk trip takes 51 minutes against 45 minutes for a 392/light rail trip. The light rail does better with no final walk required.
  • No difference in times and vehicle changes the Sydney Town hall but there is a walk from the bus. A 392/373/walk bus trip and 392/light rail trip both take 51 minutes and require one vehicle change but the light rail does not require a 10 minute walk from Elizabeth Street.
  • Two minute faster by bus from Matraville to Wynyard with one vehicle change for both services but there is a 12 minute walk required from the bus. At present passengers transfer from a 392 to a X94 and walk 12 minutes totalling 50 minutes. It will take 29 minutes for the light rail to get to Wynyard from Kingsford so the 392/light rail trip would be 52 minutes (i.e. 17 + 29 + 6).
  • Nine minutes faster by bus from Matraville to Circular Quay with the same number of vehicle changes required but there is also an 8 minute walk required from the bus. A 392 bus passenger leaving at 8.01 and transferring to an X94 takes 46 minutes to reach Circular Quay. A light rail trip from the Kingsford Interchange will take 32 minutes to reach Circular Quay. The new hybrid trip will thus take 55 minutes (i.e. 17 + 32 + 6) to reach Circular quay.

7) Global Light Rail emits less carbon dioxide than oil driven buses

Globally light rail is more environmentally sound because it emits only 0.36 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger mile travelled against 0.71 for ”motor buses” and 0.61 for “all automobiles” (source Does Rail Transit Save Energy or Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions? by Randal O’Toole). Even in energy wasting Australia Monash University found that there is no difference in CO2 Emissions between Melbourne buses (an average of 159 grams of CO2 per passenger kilometre travelled and trams (158 grams).

8) More environmental scope to lower carbon emissions with light rail than buses

Light rail systems powered by electric grids have a flexibility advantage buses in their potential to further lower their carbon emissions. Other countries are demonstrating how Australia could reduce light rail emissions even better in comparison to buses if we move away from coal power stations to alternative energy.

  • The US Department of Transportation states. “Most rail transport is powered by electricity, which offers efficiency improvements over internal combus¬tion engines … When the electricity is generated from a zero emissions source, such as wind, hydroelectric, nuclear, or solar, the public transportation systems that use these power sources are also zero emission. Several transit agencies are installing on site renew¬able energy generation to power parts of their sys¬tems. Boston’s transit agency is installing wind turbines, New York City Transit plans to harvest power from the tides by installing turbines in tidal waters, and Los Angeles Metro is installing solar panels on its properties. ”
  •  In 2001, the Canadian C-Train light rail claims all of its electricity from emissions-free wind power generation. “Dubbed the Ride the Wind project, the C-Train system is powered by 60 wind turbines near Pincher Creek in southern Alberta. Since the program began in 2001, local officials estimate that Ride the Wind has saved more than 325,000 tons of CO2 emissions.” (source “Alberta Rail: Canada’s Light Rail Legacy” by Scott Bogren).
  • The light rail system in Karlsruhe Germany receives powered from solar energy. “The system has a peak output of 1000 kilo watts. The direct current it generates – which thanks to its highly efficient modules amounts to around 90,000 kilo watt hours (kWh) per year – is fed into the DC mains supply of the Karlsruhe tram system.”

9) Light rail is actually cheaper than buses under conditions of high demand such as exist along Anzac Parade and in the CBD at peak times

Buses have “lower operating costs per passenger-mile where transit demand is low” but light rail has “lower operating costs per passenger-mile where transit demand is high” according to the “Bus Rapid Transit vs. Light Rail Transit A Side-by-Side Comparison of Competing Mass Transit Options” study. This comparison of the St. Louis bus rapid transit (BRT) and light rail transit (LRT) systems over a 10 year period showed that the buses had annual operating and maintenance costs of $104.6 million verse $26.2 million for the light rail. Further, the study found that in 2005 the total cost per passenger mile was $0.97 for the BRT compared to $0.82 for the LRT.

10) Buses alone can’t carry as many passengers as a hybrid bus/light rail CSELR system can

We have reached the limit for the number of buses that we can run down Anzac parade into the CBD. But the hybrid CSELR bus/light rail system will allow us to go past this bottle neck.

    • The light rail cars will have a passenger capacity advantage over buses. A CSELR car will carry 300 passengers in one vehicle against 58 for a standard bus, 85 for a “bendy” bus and 110 for a double decker. The CSLELR will have a further tremendous advantage that buses can’t match in that two light rail cars will be able to be hooked up together to carry 600 passengers in one trip if required.
    • Even at start up the hybrid bus/light rail CSELR will move more passengers than buses alone. Only 20 light rail trips moving 6,000 passengers an hour will be required because enough buses will be retained to move another 6,000. This equates to a net increased capacity of 2,000 over the 10,000 passengers (Randwick Pre-feasibility Light Rail Study 2011) currently moving through Anzac Parade at peak time.
    • There will be further excess passenger capacity when the light rail is fully operational. With the full 30 light trips an hour CSELR will provide a net increased capacity of over the current bus system of 5,000 via 9,000 passengers carried by light rail and 6,000 by retained buses.
    • Bus capacity can’t be expanded even further but the CSELR still has a further expansion possibility. Two CSELR cars can be linked together to move 18,000 passengers by light rail.
    • Even bus systems that use their own dedicated tracks (BRT) have capacity limits. Curitiba in South America has long been hailed as an innovative user of buses but the limit is being reached and the Government may bring in light rail. Paulo Schmidt the President of URBS, their rapid-bus system, has said: “During peak hours, buses on the main routes are already arriving at almost thirty-second intervals, any more buses and they will back up.” Schmidt has said that a light-rail system is needed to complement it

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) will have excess capacity of at least 2,000 despite planned for reduced services at start up – 17th April 2014

Open letter to the Precinct Office holders of Randwick City Council
From Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

I don’t normally challenge the public views of our hard working elected local Precinct officers but in this case I feel that I have no alternative because the facts being presented are so wrong. “R Mackenzie, Kensington” (presumably Ms Rosemary MacKenzie) had a letter to the editor titled “Low Expectations” in the 15th April 2014 edition of the Southern Courier.

This letter undermines confidence in the passenger carrying capacity of the planed CSELR light rail system from the Sydney CBD to Randwick and Kingsford – but her maths are actually wrong.

R Mackenzie Southern Courier 15th April 2014

Kensington West Kingsford Precinct secretary Rosemary Mackenzie has her published facts wrong on the CBD to South East Light Rail plan.

She attempts to discredit the State Government’s claim that their light rail cars will carry 300 passengers each and claims that it will be significantly less. She does this by referring to (but not quoting from) an early pre-feasibility study done not by the Government but by Randwick City Council, UNSW and the Australian Turf Club’s Randwick Racecourse.

This study of 2011 that she bases her calculations on would indeed have had to adopt a hypothetical passenger capacity for light rail cars – but only as a research assumption for the purposes of the time. That figure used back then by the three local bodies has no link to the present day State Government’s flagged operational decision to purchase 300 passenger capacity vehicles – and 300 is the number of passengers that they will carry.

She also does not remind readers that enough bus services will be kept running to carry an additional 6,000 passengers. Therefore at commencement the hybrid bus/light rail system will not carry a meagre “4800 passengers” in one direct as she asserts but a total of 12,000 – even with just 20 light rail services an hour.

Is this enough at commencement or should the light rail services be pushed up to 30? No, because it won’t be necessary at this time. The Randwick prefeasibility study showed that there were around 10,000 bus passengers moving through Anzac Parade at peak hour. Therefore at commencement the bus/light rail system will have excess capacity by 2,000 per hour.

Ms Mackenzie, is known to be the respected secretary of a local precinct committee, so her opinion carries a lot weight in the community, the same way mine does as a Councillor. But she helps no one by getting these figures so wrong. She would be helping residents more by joining with the Council and the Greens in pushing the Minister to fix specific design flaws such as rerouting the lines through the racecourse rather than Wansey Road and leaving High Cross Park alone.

She should also be supporting the Council’s intention to implement angle parking and parking stations to assist residents in transitioning to the CSLER as the new public transport system.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Tree clearing start on frontage of Argyle Crescent Site – Greens say former Federal Labor Government should have put it back into the Randwick Environment Park

Tree removals commence Argyle Crs 2014 - REDUCED - PNG

An anticipated removal of trees began this morning along the eastern side of the Australian Defence owned Argyle Crescent site known locally as the “Bermuda Triangle.”

Greens Councillor Murray Matson says the removals are unnecessary as the site could have been made part of the adjacent Randwick Environment Park by the former Federal Labor Government.

He said,

“By failing to act when asked to by Randwick Council the former Federal Labor Government threw away a never to be repeated opportunity to expand the Randwick Environment Park by returning the Argyle Crescent site to within its boundaries. That act would have saved these trees”.

Fresh Randwick Council attempt to be made for the reinstatement of the “Bermuda Triangle” land on Argyle Crescent back into the sensitive Randwick Environment Park.

Recent YouTube video featuring the Randwick Environment Park

Recent YouTube video by Robert Rhodes featuring the Randwick Environment Park and its’ wetlands.

Randwick’s so-called “Bermuda Triangle” issue has flared up again with the Randwick-Botany Greens noting that both Labor and Liberal Commonwealth governments have failed to save it as environment park land.

Randwick Environment Park zoning map

The excised “Bermuda Triangle” (seen in yellow) sits awkwardly on Argyle Crecent next to the Randwick Environment Park (seen in orange) which it should have been part of.

Several years ago the Greens tried unsuccessfully to have the triangular piece of land at 4R Argyle Crescent in Southern Randwick put back in to the adjacent Randwick Environment Park.

In recent weeks dismayed residents have seen signs erected announcing that a number of impressive trees are scheduled to be removed to allow town houses to be built.

The triangle was removed from the proposed boundaries of the park some years before the previous Labor government handed it over to Randwick City Council in 2012.

Attempts by Greens Councillor Murray Matson to have the triangle rezoned to environmental status for re-inclusion were blocked by the Commonwealth who retain ownership.

Councillor Matson promised residents at a site meeting on Friday that he would try again to win protection for the site from the now Liberal government with the following Council motion.

“That Council as a matter of urgency write to the Commonwealth Government noting the recently announced removal of trees from the frontage of its Argyle Crescent property and requesting both a suspension of this action and the re-opening of dialogue with Council over the possibility of the site being returned to within the boundaries of the adjacent Randwick Environment Park.”

The site is known locally as the Bermuda Triangle because if you look on a map you see that there is no obvious explanation as to why the triangular piece of land would have vanished from within the boundaries of the now adjacent Park which surrounds it on all but one side.

Councillor Matson has blamed the former Labor Government for failing to protect the site when it had the power to do so. He stated this week;

“The previous Federal Labor Government could have given the Council permission to rezone this small area of land for re-inclusion in the Randwick Environment Park but did not do so despite approaches to local federal MP Peter Garrett. The present Liberal Government appears to be equally uninterested in taking up this never to be repeated opportunity to expand the borders of an urban environment park.”

Councillor Matson described the removed section as looking like an anomaly on the map.

“If you look on a map it is clear that its continuing exclusion is an anomaly. It sits awkwardly on the boundary of the park looking like a bite taken out of a pie. There is no reason why it should not be put back into the park. If it is developed for residential use I can see years of trouble for the Council in establishing and maintaining a suitable buffer zone between it and the adjacent park land with its sensitive flora, fauna and ephemeral wetlands.“

Councillor Matson said that the local Greens were making a last ditch plea “to the present Liberal Government to recognise the ecological value of restoring the triangle to the broader Randwick Environment Park and to provide it with a logically defined boundary line.”

The Randwick Environment Park is identified as “E2” on the map above and the disputed 4R Argyle Street site is labelled “SP2 DEFENCE”.

Also See:

Randwick Council wins court battle with Defence over “Bermuda Triangle” site at Argyle Crescent – 9th July 2012

Defence Moves Ground On Randwick Environment Park – Outcome Of Canberra Meeting to Resolve Stalemate – 28th September 2010

Randwick Council Greens Councillors respond to 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – 7th April 2014

Randwick’s Green Councillors have responded to last week’s release of the 5th Report of the IPCC with motions to next week’s Council meeting.

5th IPCC Report

5th IPCC Report

Councillor Lindsay Shurey will note the sea level rize risks to Council’s beach infrastructure.

Text of motion:

“That, not-with-standing our current LEP provisions, Council responds to the recent release of the 5th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by adopting a Council policy of carefully re-assessing all Council development applications (and specifically the proposed Coogee Beach amenities block project) against any up to date findings from creditable sources on the risks of rising sea-levels to coastal infrastructure.”

Councillor Murray Matson will call on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to reverse his contentious decision to remove climate change from the agenda of the November G20 meeting in Brisbane.

Text of motion:

“That Council, notes the release of the 5th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with its’ relevance to Randwick as an urban coastal community, and as a matter of priority writes to the Prime Minister urging that he accede to European Union requests by reversing his decision to remove climate change from the agenda of the upcoming G20 conference in Brisbane.”

Historic WA Senate election now under way – 5th April 2014

UPDATE: The Randwick-Botany Greens congratulate WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlum on his succesful re-election on Saturday

Greens Senator Scott Ludlum

Greens Scott Ludlum is seeking to win back his WA senate seat today.

Here is a couple of alternative web sites covering today’s WA senate election that allow comments. Be impressed as posters vie with each other in making their best predictions on the outcome.

Will Clive Palmer’s bold claim of winning a seat come off? Will Scott Ludlum of the Greens get back in at PUP’s expense or will his promised swing of this week evaporate through the course of the day?

The Tally Room
The Poll Bludger

How Should Randwick Councillors Respond to the “Summary for Policy Makers” from the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? – April 3rd 2014

What is the local message for your own Randwick City Councillors from the recently released Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?

The Panel has produced a “Summary for Policy Makers” document. Greens Councillor Murray Matson is asking local residents to read it and then use it to lobby himself and his colleagues with suggested policies that could be enacted at a local level.

He said,

“I am personally looking for direction as a responsible local government policy maker representing an urbanised coastal community. I am asking our residents for suggestions on how their local Councillors should respond to the Intergovernmental Panel’s latest and most exhaustive study of the dangers of climate change.”

Councillor Matson also noted that Randwick Council was in the process of drafting its 2014-2015 building program under its annual budget.


Just some issues commented on in the summery for policy makers include amongst many others:

  • Recent climate-related extremes: “For countries at all levels of development, these impacts are consistent with a significant lack of preparedness for current climate variability in some sectors”;
  • Sea-level rises: “In Australasia, planning for sea-level rise … is becoming adopted widely.”;
  • Global aggregate impacts: “…high risks around 3°C additional warming…”;
  • Human Health: “…there has been increased heat-related mortality and decreased cold-related mortality in some regions”;
  • Livelihoods: Hazards will affect poor people by “impacts on livelihoods, reductions in crop yields, or destruction of homes and … increased food prices and food insecurity”; and
  • Governments are responding: “Engineered and technological options are commonly implemented adaptive responses, often integrated within existing programs such as disaster risk management and water management.”

Councillor Matson noted that some recent Randwick Council activities or debates in relevant areas that people might want to look for possible amending or expanding included:

  • the CSLER light rail project;
  • local food sourcing through its community garden policy and the La Perouse Chinese Market Gardens;
  • beach improvements and general drainage works;
  • existing flood plain management plans;
  • coastal ecosystem concerns for the grey nurse shark and blue groper;
  • annual tree planting and flora and fauna protection budgets;
  • the Randwick Environment Park wetlands;
  • bike facilities and path expansion;
  • shop local initiatives;
  • water and energy conservation initiatives;
  • continuation of the Council’s environment levy; and
  • Council’s position on the pricing of carbon emissions.

This latest IPPC report is likely to reopen the carbon price issue amongst Randwick Councillors. Last year a successful Greens motion saw the Council writing to the Prime Minister “advocating the retention of a market based system for setting a price on carbon”.

Councillor Matson commented,

“Despite our pro carbon price resolution there are still some Randwick City Councillors who identify as climate change sceptics but I think that this latest IPCC report now makes that view untenable.”
Councillor Matson also noted that Randwick Council is in the process of drafting its 2014 to 2015 building program and provision of services under its annual budget.