Berejiklian destroys congestion-busting & Google

Update 2 Jan 2023

Today’s SMH has a spectacularly stupid and typically corrupt story on the NSW LNP Government smoke-screening the malicious destruction of the Goanna Transit Bridge and Berejiklian’s attack on Google, Turnbull and Baird, primarily me.

There is a page on Berejiklian’s Big Lies at  (UrbanGrowth tried to steal the Goanna when its design competition failed – this is so good it is a monopoly product.)  Other pages cover process, budget, governance and other corruption in her quasi-fascist attacks on Australian democracy in favour of her Eastern European communism.  Her attack lost $1 billion in landowner returns, penalised the Rozelle precinct perpetually, and pushed up Metro waste across Western Sydney including Kennedy idiotic WS City Plan by about $80 billion.  (Kennedy’s “cost” is $400 billion.):

  • West Metro – Berejiklian did not realise that combined Bankstown and West Metro is 30 trains/hour and now is/was trying to disguise a second Western route at public expense, reducing transit values. It sterilises the Goanna Transit Bridge (which was needed by Google at White Bay) as well as the redevelopment potential promised by Turnbull and Baird (she has lied about her non-scheme).  She is crippling freight and logistics along the Eastern Seabord. This, all, is a capital offence in urban planning terms


Remember this?  Perrottet falsified three Budget Papers to conceal the stolen saving on the SW/Bankstown Metro – add this.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has pledged to work closely with the federal government on a planned $12.5 billion (stet, should be “more than”) line from Sydney to Parramatta in a sign he is hoping to grab some of the $10 billion of federal funds on offer …. Infrastructure lobby groups have urged the NSW Government to fund the West Metro project urgently …. Property developers argue the line will services (stet) suburbs like Homebush where the state government has encouraged them to build huge housing developments.

There is no scoping, no feasibility of options, no “first plan before transport projects are dreamt up”, no benefit/cost analyses, no community engagement – no legitimacy.  Once again unelected interests are covering governments’ eyes and leading them to the developers’ trough.  The Federal Minister for Infrastructure at least said iA would be consulted first.  Coming generations will face a depleted treasury, an inefficient transport/land use context, and an inability to correct mistakes for at least two generations.


Baird and Turnbull announced the “most exciting urban redevelopment scheme in the world”; then Google promised an iconic redevelopment of White Bay Power Station, and Transport Minister  Constance said add 16,000 new dwellings.

Urban Growth failed with their design competition (with inappropriate sequestration of IP rights), then tried to flitch the copyrighted Goanna set. Berejiklian refused to consider it, forcing Google to withdraw, then she denied them also at Eveleigh.

Berejiklian now uses a surreptitious note towards the end of the Freight Plan to sterilise Glebe Island – all deceitful, incompetent and malicious.  Berejiklian is deliberately harming tourism, innovation, housing and now relief of WestConnex’s dumping of 20,000 (20%) more vehicles per day at Rozelle, the only remedy being the Goanna.

Turnbull said he wanted urban innovation but did everything he could to prevent it.

I conceived the Goanna a decade ago when Labor’s metromaniacs were pushing an unviable tunnel – as they still are – and it has been peer-reviewed at the highest levels.  Governments and corporates are fighting over separate building design and placement issues;  while Berejiklian is on a lunatic tangent to build a $30 billion non-solution instead of my $1 billion direct solution – she forced Google out on this point.

Historical Perspective

The Goanna (was) part of the Prime Minister’s urban innovation mantra (it originated well before) as well as Jobs & Growth.  In addition to being non-ideological, it is in accord with his energy market focus on “economics and engineering”, in a long-term context that has been and is dominated by “ideology and idiocy in equal measure” (the Berejiklian Mantra).  UGNSW wanted the Goanna in 2016 and that they failed showed the deficiencies of their teams, as did Google’s departure from White Bay for related reasons.  iA, Greiner’s iNSW and the Commission of Audit wanted smarter, faster, cheaper and better options than the Big Tickets, and in Goanna we potentially have all those qualities.

WestConnex’s imposition of 20,000 vehicles per day (20% of current loads) necessitates a more rapid and more responsible response than a long-term, high cost and rather remote mega-metro.

Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Baird launched the “most exciting urban redevelopment scheme in the world” then welcomed Google’s offer to redevelop the White Bay Power Station as an iconic technology hub.  UGNSW was put in charge of the redevelopment and ran design exercises, all of which failed, especially the transit one – transit being the sine qua non of the Bays’ redevelopment.  Google were advised of the Goanna Bridge (UGNSW has wanted to use but in breach of copyright);  but logic went out the door once the Baird/Berejiklian succession happened – and Google quickly upped-stumps.

The Goanna Bridge and relief of the Anzac Bridge sit within a much more immediate context than the West Metro, which in turn needs to be assessed against major known options in accordance with iA’s and iNSW’s charters.  Community confidence will come with full compliance with accepted procedures.

The “Barangaroo ExpressNet” © and Fireworks ©

The “Barangaroo ExpressNet” ©  comprises:

  1. Linking of the street transit systems (bus and tram) on the eastern and western sides of the CBD via street systems and the construction of a curved Goanna Transit Bridge© from above Barangaroo to Rozelle off the tips of headlands (minimising land disruption).  Its “mother” bridge was built 10 years ago at Coalcliff, costing just $60 million.  Extending for length, the Goanna would cost about $500 million – cheap for its great value
  2. Resolution of CBD congestion by the elimination of 7 E/W conflicted intersections through a circumferential road and transit boulevard – where the Jan Gehl and George St tram schemes ignored the realities
  3. Provision of fast transit through The Bays to the Victoria Road corridor at Rozelle, including the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Power Station (the Google site, now foregone due to delays in providing transit enablement)
  4. Relief of the ANZAC Bridge (and speeding-up buses) which is about to experience 20% more congestion (20,000 vehicles per day) off the WestConnex works
  5. Promotion of walking and cycling in extension of current programs, and
  6. Provision of a basis of a long-term fast transit service using Flexity Swifta or similar tram/trains to link street and rail transit systems. (This is urban innovation but of a type well-known in Europe, checked by a former Bombardier senior engineer.)  One stream could run to Victoria Road and thence North Ryde;  the other via Norton Street and back to Central via three universities and two regional shopping/services centres.

Since Google’s departure, the concept of The Fireworks©  apartment and mixed-use tower was developed by RG.  This might be 110 floors in height with the Goanna Bridge going through its middle, creating a transit and retail/services structure over several floors.  Two vertical firing pipes would allow spectacular fire curtains to harmonise with the Harbour Bridge’s firework curtain.  The configuration would be developed by a Joint Venture:  the Goanna is an “un-locking” stratagem.

Other firing sites through the CBD are vertical.

The “Barangaroo ExpressNet” © including Goanna Transit Bridge© has professional assessment dimensions including:

  • Urban innovation (PM’s priority): a clever solution to CBD/innerwest transit and CBD congestion issues – major feasibility analysis is required urgently especially as trams will worsen intersection conflicts
  • Urban innovation: a bridge that sits in the water and facilities the spread of tram/trains – a major feasibility assessment is required urgently
  • Cost-effective solution: cheaper relief of Anzac Bridge that will be over-stressed by WestConnex given the impact of 20,000 extra vehicles a day on a road that is already over-capacity
  • Sydney branding: another beautiful bridge, not ugly – just as the Seacliff Bridge “mother” is loved
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles: walking, running and cycling in a safe environment, and superior transit where society demands energy and health responses
  • Reversing UGNSW’s stasis: over 16,000 housing units and offering the chance to replace Google with another Icon especially focussed on The Fireworks©.

No competing transit scheme is available – the West Metro proposal sits on a different orbit as will be seen.  The tram line is indirect, “remote” from mainstreets and nodes, and slow – it offers nothing but farce in terms of serving the Overseas Passenger Terminal.  There was a foolish thought bubble to install an overhead “skyway” which shows the monopoly on good ideas the Goanna represents. It has to be added that developers are complaining that the governmental context was bad but is now getting worse.  (This is an updating  supplement to the two main recent Barangaroo Expressnet documents.)

For the record, here is the treatment in “Barangaroo Expressnet” which was copied to Lend Lease, John Hartigan and Lucy Turnbull et al at various times:

The elements of the ExpressNet will be mass transit, walking and cycling.  All are in accordance with TravelSmart and Local Agenda 21.  Car usage will not be encouraged. The Sydney community can look at this package and compare it with others, to see which offers better value for money, accessibility and environmental outcomes.

ExpressNet is a package, not one element or one project.  It covers Barangaroo and Darling Harbour, the CBD, Inner suburbs and wider visitage and commuting movements.  It is a step in tripling the proportion of Sydney that has access to public transport.

The transit vehicles will be world-class – seating between 100 and 300 passengers as needed, air-conditioned, featuring modern entertainment and communication facilities, with “stations” providing shelter, comfort and pre-ticketing.  Technology selection – bus or tram – would be done through an Eddington-type exercise.

The topography of the CBD Metro route suggests bridges rather than tunnels.  The latter are extremely expensive in terms of tunnelling and station depths as well as risks given Sydney’s fractured sea floors.   Bridges would better serve the Lord Mayor’s intention to promote cycling and walking (they cannot be done in tunnels).

Bi-articulated buses or trams will run along Kent, Clarence and/or York Streets depending on the configuration of the inner circumferential bypass road that would ease congestion and allow the Lord Mayor’s desire for a pedestrianised George Street – without buses or trams on it.  The same applies to Hickson Road which could be landscaped to Parisian or Melbourne standards.

There will be a special structure running across from about Kent Street, through or adjacent to the Barangaroo red building and over the water – the Goanna.  As Sydney is becoming a city of bridges, this will be a spectacular addition.  The Goanna will carry two lanes of transit vehicles, and one each for walkers and cyclists, one each, not mixed.  No cars will be on it.  The perway will be to tramway standards but carry buses, at least initially.

The viaduct could be of a modified O-Bahn type and look something like the above – the RTA’s Coalcliff bridge, with cycleways and walking paths on the side/s.  Wynyard/ Barangaroo and Pyrmont/Rozelle are at compatible levels, 20 m above AHD for the first 2 and 35 for the second.  Bridges would work, with adequate placement and clearance at White Bay to allow cruise ship passage and avoidance of land impacts.  The ship facility would be serviced by the modern vehicles and rapid transit back to the city – about 2 minutes.

This is an indicative alignment map, showing a stub/loop into the cruise vessel facility and a connection into surface streets.  At each end there would be a ramp entry/exit akin to the Eastern Distributor’s at Moore Park – but for transit vehicles only.

At each peninsula point, there would be an elevated “station” on top of the “pylon” (4 or more of).  Land take would be minimal, the cost of covered escalators and lifts would be factored in, and the design team would have to decide on the type of structures.  Access through buildings might be negotiated on a redevelopment basis (that is, internal reallocation of space).  Whether there is justification for a People’s Bridge near to the Anzac Bridge is a matter for the citizens of Sydney to decide.  Congestion on that bridge and its accesses would be eased.

The peripheral circulatory road arrangement (which does not now exist but single-direction roads exist in most world capitals).

This takes cognisance of the existing geography – showing a fairly seamless peripheral flow with specific entry and exit points and internal slow-access arrangements for deliveries, cyclists and tourists.  There are practical realities such as the Harbour and Anzac Bridge access points as well as Oxford St and the Eastern/Cross City freeways.  Barangaroo access would be off the bottom flow.  (A data sheet is available.)

One lane of each circumferential segment would be landscaped much as St Kilda Road in Melbourne.

The key is connecting the waterside precincts, King Street Wharf and Barangaroo, to the CBD.  This will be done through super-escalators which would be elevated above roadways or existing stairs.

Starting at the ground floor of Barangaroo, there will be three or four commuter express footpaths rising up the hill to Kent Street or thereabouts.  These are moving footways enclosed in a transparent “tunnel” – similar to the Hong Kong Mid-Level Escalator except they would be two-way. This will eliminate bus interchanges and heavy vehicle flows on Hickson Road.  The escalators would connect with bus and rail stations as well as carparks.  The peripheral by-pass road would help achieve this.

The existing CBD street structure does not have capacity to handle additional bus services.  As well, the ExpressNet buses would have to share road space with cars on the existing road axes, Oxford, Elizabeth and Flinders Streets, Victoria and Parramatta Roads, and Anzac Parade, among others.  A case study for the NRMA’s Clean Air 2000 Campaign showed how tidal flow arrangements producing sacrifice of an off-peak lane (but continuation of existing peak lanes) would allow that lane’s capacity to increase from about 6,000 people per hour to some 20,000.  That would be the beginning of giving the majority of car-users a choice for some or more of their movement needs.

It is acknowledged that service to the developable land around White Bay is important but the service would allow the Goanna to have provision for six transit vehicles in each direction per minute and more for special events.  This would be used as we saw during the Olympics, with dispersed pick-up and drop-off points.  During normal times, the Goanna would carry sufficient vehicles to allow a fanning-out of destinations, so that (in one direction) buses/trams could come from the East, North or South;  then vice versa.  This builds on my Metro Bus lines that (were) underway in Sydney.

The main regional transit systems focus on George Street – buses, trams, the two busiest rail stations, and pedestrian bridges and tunnels.  The new Barangaroo station points north/south which means duplication with the City Circle and the North Shore rail lines, instead of east/west which would have been useful.  It is about 50 m below the level of George Street which is too deep to allow acceptable integration with the main systems.  Rozelle is about 30 m above water level but White Bay is at about 1 m.  Past geo-technical investigations showed fractures in the Harbour substrata.

There has never been a transit solution from say George Street to Darling Harbour except for one Planning and Environment Commission scheme in the 1970s which was defeated by vested interests as indeed have all other “outsider” ideas, even the best.

The Bays Precinct is to the immediate west of Barangaroo and the CBD.  It has only internal pedestrian access ways and geographically-limited buses.  For that, it is a popular Bridge-to-Bridge walking circuit which takes in a few watering holes.

The Anzac Bridge abuts the southern side of Glebe Island.  It is to carry 20,000 extra vehicles per day as a result of the opening of WestConnex.  There is no medium-term prospect of relief except taking buses out of the traffic stream via the Goanna Transit Bridge (and however many cars are eliminated by a web of tram/train services off it).  Buses would be sped rather than slowed.  The following numbers are the best that RMS could supply but it seems unlikely that the increment would be equivalent to one-third or a bit more extra.

The precinct is a defunct industrial area that is relatively free of planning controls.  It became the apple of various ministers’ eyes because of its river frontages, 16,000-unit potential and proximity to the CBD as well as Balmain/Rozelle.  Promises were made and broken, with the main delivery agency, UrbanGrowth NSW, failing in all phases.  Google was the star prospect, the icon, but departed when available transit support was denied to them by the Premier.  There is considerable doubt about its future as Premier Berejiklian took it off the Minister for Planning and made it clear only the West Metro will be pursued.  (Other documents describe the chronology, history and context.)

The Bays is a classic case of how NSW gets things wrong including through UGNSW’s poor performance and GSC’s unfortunate inability to initiate urban innovations.

Since becoming Premier Berejiklian has shown her dogged determination to implement deficient greyhound reforms against advice, force an extravagant Peninsula scheme against logic she knew about, and make the West Metro work, which is an absurdity would she and her cheerleaders but think.

On 14 August ’17 the media leaked a Cabinet briefing on the West Metro package that has been prepared in haste at the Premier’s request.  That is the level of detail that characterised Labor’s “planning stench”.  The appearance is that

  • options are the usual “internal” ones, one metro route Vs another, not the genuinely complementary/competitive Christie/Greiner options nor the spatially, functionally and time-based Goanna Transit Bridge
  • the farebox is irrelevant but property speculation and property taxes are vital – both being unreliable for market reasons (cf iNSW State Infrastructure Strategy and as well as withheld in all of this Government’s “Summary Business Cases” – which should be rejected on principle and professional standards
  • the cost is excessive and the time scale unreasonable compared with genuine options
  • the underpinning assumptions threaten the operational and financial integrity of the Bradfield-era rail system and force lifestyle and intergenerational burdens, all without electoral legitimacy.

The following points represent reality:

  • The West Metro and other Berejiklian priorities are un-funded within reasonable timeframes: the Berejiklian Government has over-spent its privatisation windfall four-times over, and this project is too heavy to be contemplated where cheaper alternatives are available from Christie’s, Greiner’s and Gibbons’ work.  Other Big Announcements will have to be dumped – very soon as the light shines through the cracks (the Government has no methodology to use economic tools to compare and rank options – what will Baird do to Berejiklian if she makes more capricious promises and/or drops the Peninsula mega-tunnels!)
  • Illegitimate: the West Metro has been through no feasibility studies of genuine options, no business case on options, and no proper engagement procedures.  There is little or no chance it will produce credible BCA ratios, considering recent analytic distortions and disasters.  It is as valid as were Labor’s pathetic efforts which saw their electoral defeat.  BOF promised to end this “planning stench”.
  • The Metro cannot service The Bays given its depth (RailCorp had trouble with geology anyway), and have trouble with existing activity zones
  • The Main West could carry fast trains as in previous proposals if Berejiklian reverses her silly cancelation of Epping-Parramatta
  • The eastern Parramatta Road corridor could be served by an upgraded tram network as RG has proposed, completing the loop with great commercial and precinct benefits
  • The Goanna Transit Bridge would take buses off the congested Anzac Bridge (WestConnex will worsen congestion), would link the eastern and western transit systems, could carry trams or metro vehicles, would provide direct service to the Overseas Passenger Terminal, White Bay (Google left in disgust at the Government’s failure to support its needs), and the media and commercial precincts along Jones/Johnston Bays
  • Flexity Swiftas could deliver quality services in the North West to CBD orbital corridor (see below) without the multitude of cost and service problems with the separate Metro
  • They could also extend “tram” service to North Ryde via Victoria Road, and three universities and two regional shopping nodes via Parramatta Road and Broadway (thus completing the loop – an incredibly valuable idea)
  • Parramatta and Victoria Roads should use bi-articulated buses for BRT as RG has proposed since 1995’s Clean Air’s Towards a Transport Vision for Sydney, that this was being pursued by the Administrator and Innerwest is proof that the Government has failed to follow iA and Audit Commission procedures.  (Centre of road BRT is not supported by this analyst.)

The subsequent defects and gaps are well-illustrated in “New metro line from Sydney CBD to Parramatta ‘highest priority’ for state” by Matt O’Sullivan which appeared in the SMH on 25 November 2017.

The economic conditions applying to high-rise and other residential apartment buildings in Sydney are falling off for predictable reasons (which threaten the Metros).  The need for the Goanna and its modest costs are in line with different priorities which are explained in the following matrix but it fits into planning logic called “infrastructure pipelines”.  Such infrastructure aids in maintaining activity as well as stimulating prosperity.

There is a need to re-plan The Bays to take its place in the Greater Sydney Commission’s preparation to accommodate some 800,000 new units over just 15 years.  The best means of doing so is “in the wind”.

With political skills, a stylish bridge carrying pedestrians, cyclists and transit vehicles, and no cars, will be popular.  That it takes no or very little land is an incredible advantage.  The overall package from the eastern transit networks and CBD traffic “oasis” is an holistic opportunity to be addressed in line with iA and iNSW guidelines.  Any cynicism about local politics about building a bridge and Labor/Lib recycled promises can be put in context.

The likely capital needs are $12.5 billion for West Metro (capital payments of $23.8 million per week over 20 years), versus $1 billion or less for the Goanna Bridge ($99,000 per week).  The Metro will be some 50 metres under the level of George Street at Wynyard and that will preclude linkages with street systems;  whereas using the eastern tracks on the Harbour Bridge (the former tram tracks) for the Metro would open up many possibilities.  (There are other options including those described by Ron Christie and Mr Greiner’s iNSW, namely better utilisation of the Main West corridor and possible completion of Parramatta to Epping which would take trains off the Main West.  These should be evaluated in separate Business Cases.)

NB I added a balloon Loop off the Main West to Nancy Bird Walton Airport and Aerotropolis station in EDDINGTON BEDROCK.


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