A missing link
It has been apparent for some years that, with the increase in population and consequent traffic, there is need for an additional, safe and level pedestrian and bicycle route between Rozelle and Pyrmont. Moreover, plans for extensive redevelopment of the Blackwattle Bay and White Bay areas will greatly increase the numbers of people travelling between Pyrmont and Rozelle.
In recent years the NSW Government has released several plans for the Bays area and, specifically, new plans for major developments at Blackwattle Bay and White Bay.
Part of the 2015 Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Plan, published as The Bays Precinct Sydney Transformation Plan by UrbanGrowth NSW (now Infrastructure NSW), included as one of its seven key actions, work towards the linking of Pyrmont and Rozelle by the restoration and reuse of the Glebe Island Bridge to create a pedestrian and cycle route. The rationale was to provide a direct pedestrian and cycle link from Rozelle and Balmain to proposed new fish markets, retail and residential developments and to enable better access to public transport.
The new Sydney Fish Market was subsequently approved in 2020 and is now under construction. Plans for the Blackwattle Bay area also include large scale retail, commercial and residential housing development, all of which would bring many more people into the area.
In March 2021, the draft Bays West Urban Place Strategy was released by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, proposing the repurposing of the White Bay Power Station, a Metro train link and future commercial, residential and recreational uses. The Strategy also sees the necessity of linking the city, Pyrmont and Glebe to White Bay by a direct, pleasant, level pedestrian route and cycleway.
The Strategy sets out six ‘Big Moves’, three of which support the restoration of Glebe Island Bridge:
- Repurpose White Bay Power Station to become a focal point of the precinct.
- Enable a crossing from Bays West to Pyrmont to create more convenient, and direct, active transport connections.
- Connect community to water, while recognising and supporting the working harbour and port operational requirements.
- Deliver a significant, connected, activated public open space near the water at an early stage.
- Make the most of the opportunity that a new Metro Station presents to renew the precinct and surrounds through development that has a strong dependence on public and active transport.
- Enable a world class harbour foreshore walk.
The restoration and use of Glebe Island Bridge is presented as an important part of the overall plan. The proposal sees the Glebe Island Bridge restored and in use as a pedestrian and cycleway by 2030.
Similarly, a plan for the Pyrmont area released in December 2020, the Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy, envisages a future ‘active transit’ link via the Glebe Island Bridge to connect Pyrmont with Glebe Island and the Bays West Precinct. It prioritises walking and cycling as the preferred mode for local trips, including by creating better connectivity.
If the Glebe Island Bridge were to be restored and able to open and close, it would immediately greatly improve safe access for many pedestrians and cyclists on a daily basis.
Access from the West to:
- Pyrmont, Ultimo and Glebe businesses, workplaces and parks
- the City and Darling Harbour
- the Sydney Fish Market
- the University of Technology
- the Maritime and Powerhouse museums,
- The Star
- Central Station
- the Light Rail network
- North Sydney, via the Harbour Bridge
- a waterfront walkway to Circular Quay and beyond.
Access from the East to:
- White Bay, Rozelle and Balmain
- Lilyfield and Annandale
- the White Bay Cruise Terminal
- the Heritage Fleet and Yacht Marinas.
A functioning Glebe Island Bridge would enable access to Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays by boat. It would swing open – as it is designed to do – for watercraft to enter and leave the Bays. A timetable for openings would be advertised in a fashion similar to the Spit Bridge at Mosman and would enable larger boats to move in and out. Pyrmont Bridge similarly opens, when necessary, for vessels to move in and out of Darling Harbour.
With more people living in and around our city and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicle use, we must have a vision for our future that encourages people away from motor vehicles. Creating an attractive, direct active transport route across Glebe Island Bridge will encourage walking and cycling, bringing benefits to the environment and community health.
- Infrastructure NSW, The Bays Precinct Sydney, Transformation Plan
- Infrastructure NSW, Blackwattle Bay
- Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Bays West draft Place Strategy
- Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Bays West
- Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, Pyrmont Peninsula