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Time to give light rail a go

Light rail through the Wollongong CBD could benefit the city,according to a tourist consultant Matt Davidson.
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Mr Davidson echoed the comments of University of Wollongong transport expert Philip Laird in saying light rail should be something the city started thinking about.

Dr Laird suggested a light rail line from Wollongong station to the entertainment centre, with possible later additions linking in the hospital and university.

“It’s only an idea but what I’m saying is it shouldn’t justbe ignored, it should be looked at,” Dr Laird said.

Mr Davidson is also a former chair of Tourism Wollongong. In his time in that role, there was a study into a gondola from Mt Keira down to the University of Wollongong and Stuart Park.

The idea of light rail was touched on as a way to connect this to the rest of the city –and also make it easier to get around the CBDwhich he said was especially difficult for east-west traffic.

It would also provide a way of linking existing transport infrastructure to the places people want to go.

“We’ve got an issue where our heavy rail, our train station, is more than a kilometre away from the foreshore,” Mr Davidson said.

“Wollongong doesn’t seem to be a city where we say‘let’s jump on atrain and go to Wollongong’because it’s too damned far to walk from the train station toanywhere good.

“The harbour is about a 20-minutewalk.”

He said it could also provide a further boost for growth in the city,citing the light rail network on the Gold Coast and “pockets of development” that spring up at every rail stop.

Mr Davidson said it was “absolutely” worth having a conversation about the use of light rail in the city and neighbouringsuburbs.

“I wouldn’tprofess to having all the answers but wehave a tendency in this cityto write things off beforewe’ve started,” he said.

“We can’t be a city like that. Citiesthe size of Wollongongall over the world are doing light rail or at leastthinking about it. Why aren’t we thinking about it?”

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