By the time the University of Newcastle builds its proposed city-centre campus in the Civic precinct, the state government will have removed the heavy rail line between Wickham and Newcastle.
Students who want to catch a train to university from outside the city, in places like Maitland and the wider Hunter, will have to change to a bus, light rail or walk to their place of study when they reach Wickham.
The university’s proposed NeW Space development is on public exhibition through the NSW Department of Planning until September 19.
The plan involves a 10-storey education building that includes lecture theatres, a library, classrooms, office and retail space, refurbishment of University House and construction of pedestrian links.
Trevor Lynch raised the issue of transport access to the proposed education facility after the Mercury called for readers concerned about the rail truncation to contribute to the public debate.
Mr Lynch wrote that he was concerned about how making public transport to the site complex could lead to traffic congestion in the precinct, if people opted to drive instead of use public transport.
“The thing that makes no sense to me about cutting the rail line is the fact that the government is building a 4000-student university at Civic Station,” he said.
“Parking in the Civic precinct is difficult now even at night when businesses are shut.
“Try finding a park to attend the Civic Theatre when there is a performance in town and the theatre is only half-full.
“Parking at the Shortland campus of the university can be difficult at peak times and there are many hectares of car parks out there.”
Mr Lynch wrote that cities and towns around the world, including Bunbury in Western Australia and Los Angeles in the USA, had removed rail infrastructure but began to regret the decision years later.
The Mercury and other regional newspapers in towns across the Hunter have called for the government to postpone the planned Boxing Day start work date and take the rail issue to the March election.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute to the debate.
* This arrogant delivery of platitudes without actually answering questions is not acceptable. Robyn Parker needs to now stand up for the people who elected her. - JOHN FROM BOLWARRA
I catch the rail regularly – the developers don’t. They can’t understand why people can’t see they are right . . . they are rich and therefore right .The rail stays and the corrupt should be convicted! - JD
There must be another big developer that wants to build another concrete jungle to replace the rail line. I say put it on hold until we have a new state government and Newcastle has a new leader. - Ron
I’ve said for over 20 years, improve the rail, not remove it. I’ve always said to run it underground from behind Hunter Water building to near Market Street with a new Civic Station built down one level. Then sell off the land above the line for light development (not skyscrapers). This is a win-win for everyone as WE the commuters from outside Newcastle who ACTUALLY use the trains to Newcastle have not been listened to. From the day they replaced Hannell Street gates to new gates at Stewart Avenue, this cut has been on the cards for developers. email@example.com