Light rail walk threat

BUMPY ROAD: Colin Scott would “seriously consider” leaving inner Newcastle if light rail lanes are built on Hunter Street. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.THEY are10 centimetres Colin Scott says couldend his shop’s almost four decadesin Newcastle.

Mr Scott,owner of the 37-year-old inner city retailerFrontline Hobbies, told the Newcastle Heralda plan forthe city’slight rail with segregatedlanes raised 100 millimetres from the road would make Hunter Street “a no-go area for cars”.

“This light rail version is not the version we signed up to,” Mr Scott said.

“We are a proud supporter of the city but would seriously consider moving out if the [light] railwaycame to Hunter Street and we lost280 car park spaces.”

Mr Scott’s comments follow the state government’s releaseof itslight rail review of environmental factors, which canvassed removingtwotraffic laneson Hunter Street andparkingfor 267 cars and 17 motorbikes.

An extra83 car parks onKing Street would also disappear withina proposedpeak time‘no stopping’ zone, and 29 loading zones wouldbe shifted.

The Transport for NSWplan for segregated light rail lanes raised 100 millimetres, rather than rails recessed into the ground, is opposed by Newcastle City Council.

Trams in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane run along lines sunk into the road,and Mr Scott said Newcastle hadbeen saddled with “an inferior system”.

“It beggars belief that the powers-that-be in Macquarie Street would saythis is what’s happening, without understanding what the people ofNewcastle actually want,” he said.

Former Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy has also publicly wound back his support for routing the light rail down Hunter Street, telling the Heraldthegovernment’s plan is “a recipe for disaster”.

At last week’s release of the light rail environmental factorsreview, thesystem’s newly appointedprojectcoordinator general Anna Zycki saidthere was “absolutely”flexibility to review the loss of parking.

Ms Zycki urged residents to make submissions on Transport for NSW’s plan.

Thereview’sauthorsestimate the project will bring100 constructionjobs and employee 60people to operate the light rail.