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Question and Answer Tracking Details


Crakanthorp, Tim to the Minister for Transport and Roads
  1. Considering the Newcastle Light Rail tracks at the intersection of Scott and Pacific Streets, Newcastle has been the site of many accidents in recent months, what action has been taken to address these safety issues (as at 1 August 2019)?
  2. Further to my correspondence of 12 July 2019 regarding this matter, will the Minister convene a group of experts and key stakeholders, including representatives from the cycling community, to assess this section of track and identify enhancement that can be made to improve safety at this location for all users?
  3. Have rubber track inserts been considered as a possible solution to these issues?
  4. Will the Minister work with Newcastle City Council to prioritise the deliver of cycleway infrastructure in the Newcastle CBD?
Answer -

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.

Question asked on 1 August 2019 (session 57-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 16
Answer received on 4 September 2019 and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 23