Pedestrians might want to think twice when crossing the tracks of Sydney’s new light rail system with more than 160 pedestrians slapped with a $76 fine before the project has even opened to the public.
Whether it be motorists, cyclists or pedestrians, safety has been a major concern for Transport for NSW ahead of the project’s eventual grand unveiling pencilled in for this month.
As Transport NSW continues to push out endless safety campaigns regarding the light rail with dozens of trams operating between Randwick, Kingsford and Circular Quay during a testing period, pedestrians have been copping $76 fines for not adhering to the law when crossing the tracks.
NSW road rules state pedestrians can only cross a road either at a designated crossing or at their own discretion 20 or more metres away from a crossing. If found to have breached the rule, pedestrians will cop a $76 fine.
Transport for NSW has reminded pedestrians light rail tracks must be treated exactly the same as roads.
Beginning on October 21, NSW Police issued 162 fines while targeting light rail infringements up until November 14, a police spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“As the light rail network expands, pedestrians are urged to be safe and alert at all times when near the light rail network,” the spokesperson said.
The only places pedestrians are exempt from the rule is the pedestrianised area of George Street and Central Station.
Plethora of tram-related fines for drivers
Driving into the path of a tram or failing to move out of the path of a moving tram will see drivers fined $344 while receiving three demerit points.
Driving in a tram lane will see motorists fined $268 and handed three demerit points.
Not giving way to pedestrians at a stopped tram will incur a $191 fine and two demerit points.
Transport for NSW Coordinator General Marg Prendergast said they are concerned the safety of distracted pedestrians is at risk, particularly in areas where they aren’t aware the light rail project is now operating.
Transport for NSW urges all pedestrians to put phones away, remove headphones and keep vigilant when walking in light rail areas.
“Safety is our number one priority and we’ve introduced a lot of measures to educate the community about being safe around trams including our ‘Heads Up, Play it Safe around Light Rail’ campaign and regular engagement with community groups and schools,” Ms Predergast said.
Trams force slower speed limit for key Sydney roads
In a bid to reduce the dangers facing pedestrians and road users, Transport for NSW has also revised vehicle speed limits along the two routes, with large stretches of road subject to a reduction in speed limit.
The changes apply to trams also.
Notably the stretch of Anzac Parade from Kingsford to Moore Park has been lowered to 50km/h from 60km/h.
Areas of Surry Hills have been lowered to 40km/h to remain consistent with the changes along the track.
Last month Transport Minister Andrew Constance revealed the final cost of the blowout project – an eye-watering $2.9 billion and $1.3 billion over budget.
The project has been plagued by problems, resulting in its delivery date pushed back well over a year.
Mr Constance said no one was denying that the light rail construction has been difficult.
"We took the busiest street in the nation and ripped (it) up to transform it into the open, inviting boulevard it is today," he said in a statement.
NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay branded the project “bad management.”
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