The resident campaign for an active transport bridge across the train tracks at Eveleigh is growing.
The long stretch of tracks and rail yards separates communities and there has long been a recognised need for pedestrian access.
Resident action groups Friends of Erskineville (FoE), REDWatch (representing Redfern, Eveleigh, Darlington and Waterloo) and Alexandria Residents Action Group came together last year to improve local connectivity and sustainable transport options.
A bridge was promised in 2006 but never built.
Since then developer contributions have been collected for its construction. The precinct contained the Australian Technology Park, but was privatised and sold to Mirvac.
The Commonwealth Bank moved in and shifted 10,000 jobs from Parramatta — a massive failure of urban planning.
New plans for further sell-offs at North Eveleigh between Redfern station and arts space Carriageworks were greeted with anger at a recent REDWatch public meeting to which the Department of Planning were invited, but failed to attend.
Among the criticisms was the lack of the footbridge, having been left off the plans.
A group of volunteers held a stall outside Carriageworks market on September 10 to raise awareness and collect signatures on the #buildabridge petition. The advocacy group WalkSydney also assisted.
Interest from passers-by was strong, with many saying it was a great idea. Several had been led to believe that the bridge was actually included in the plans, when it is not.
The petition is now just shy of 1000 signatures. The City of Sydney supports the campaign, and has written to the Minister for Transport and Roads about it. The only reply so far has been from the Director of Customer Response saying that it will be “investigating the feasibility”.
This is not good enough.
Public land should remain in public hands and be used for socially beneficial purposes. The climate emergency and housing crisis could be seriously tackled by providing public housing and sustainable transport close together in locations such as this. Instead, the New South Wales government is selling these lands to its developer mates and ignoring the community.
Resident pressure can make important gains. FoE won a similar campaign for lifts and a southern entrance at Erskineville Station.
We will continue this campaign until the community is heard and the bridge is built.
[The #buildabridge petition can be signed at tinyurl.com/buildabridgepetition. Andrew Chuter is the President of the Friends of Erskineville.]