Uni chiefs call for light rail that makes all stops to Westmead
A Western Sydney Light Rail Network that includes Westmead will be a major boost to the knowledge economy of Western Sydney and is vital to realising the busy precinct's future as a world-leading hub for health and medical research, according to Dr Michael Spence and Professor Barney Glover.
Dr Spence, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Sydney, and Professor Glover, Vice-Chancellor of Western Sydney University, have come together to throw their support behind a preferred Light Rail route for Western Sydney that begins its journey at Westmead.
They say it is critical Westmead – Australia's leading medical research and integrated healthcare precinct – is connected to the region's key employment, business and residential areas, including the Parramatta CBD, Camellia, and Carlingford.
With four major hospitals and three research institutes, the Westmead precinct represents the largest concentration of hospital and health services in Australia, serving Western Sydney and providing other special services for New South Wales.
It currently employs 12,000 full-time staff, however this is expected to grow to 25,000. Over the next ten years the Westmead Precinct is also projected to provide over four million outpatient visits or 11,000 visits a day.
Currently the most popular mode of public transport to the precinct – train – is still a 10-20 minute walk away, which is a burden particularly for people who are unwell or may have a disability. The lack of other viable public transport options has resulted in constant road congestion around the precinct.
"Both universities have a long-standing presence at Westmead, and both will be significantly expanding our teaching and research activities in the area over the next few years," says Dr Spence.
"A light rail system that connects our students and Westmead's knowledge-job workforce with other key employment precincts across Western Sydney will be an important driver for the region's future economic development," adds Professor Glover.
The University of Sydney plans to increase its student numbers at the Westmead precinct from 2,000 to 6,000 by 2036, while Western Sydney University has announced its plans to redevelop its Westmead campus into a transit-orientated, mixed use development, that will include education, commercial, retail, residential and community spaces.
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