I am advised:
(1) and (2) Transport for NSW is conducting a review of road safety on the
Newcastle Light Rail network. The review focuses on cyclist interaction within
the mixed running alignment (where the light rail runs along a normal road
environment) between Newcomen Street and Pacific Street.
As part of the review, an independent road safety audit was commissioned to
assess the risk along the mixed running alignment. The audit was led by a
qualified road safety auditor with extensive experience in light rail systems,
and the audit team included the local Newcastle Cycleways President as an
independent specialist advisor.
An on-site investigation and walkthrough was held on 19 July 2019.
Stakeholders involved in the walkthrough included Transport for NSW, Newcastle
City Council, NSW Police, and transport group Keolis Downer. During the
walkthrough the group discussed road safety risks to cyclists, previous
crashes, and potential solutions that can be implemented to reduce the risk.
(3) A study was conducted in the United States of America into cyclist
interactions with street car systems, which are considered similar to light
rail and tram networks elsewhere in the world. The report refers to rubber
inserts (flange filler material) used for heavy rail and its ability to reduce
the risk of a cyclist wheel falling into the gap. However, the report further
states that extensive experiments in Switzerland indicate that flange filler is
not appropriate for light rail tracks due to the frequency of trams. Separate
analysis conducted by Transport for NSW's Assets Standards Authority also
supports this finding. The safety review will consider a range of solutions.
(4) Cycling infrastructure in the Newcastle CBD is a matter for the City of
Newcastle Council. Transport for NSW will assist Council where possible and
encourage Council to submit nominations through the Active Transport Program
for consideration of future funding.