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A proposal by residents for a ferry stop in the inner east Sydney suburb of Woolloomooloo gets a run from time to time. It came up again last week, with the Wentworth Courier reporting on a public meeting in support of a new ferry service to Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, on the western side of Woolloomooloo Bay.
The idea also has the backing of the nearby Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Unfortunately, the case for a new ferry stop at Boy Charlton Pool - or anywhere in Woolloomooloo Bay - is less than convincing.
A generally accepted rule of public transport planning is that most passengers will walk up to 800 metres to a train or ferry stop. Resistance increases with obstacles such as steps or a busy road. If a ferry wharf is located at Boy Charlton Pool, the only Woolloomooloo residents to benefit will be those living in the 100 or so apartments in Lincoln Crescent. For almost everyone else, the walk to the pool is more than 800 metres and may involve crossing the four lane Cowper Wharf Road.
Even visitors to the Art Gallery may be deterred as the walking distance from the pool to the extended Gallery is about 600 metres.
There is also the issue of how to integrate Woolloomooloo into the current ferry network. Two options are available:
Both options are problematic. The current Double Bay line follows a reasonably direct route. Making a diversion into Woolloomooloo Bay will add significantly to the travel time of existing Double Bay, Darling Point and Garden Island passengers.
Existing Double Bay line, superimposed with a diversion to Boy Charlton Pool (in yellow)
Option 2 is even less attractive. For the reasons already outlined, demand is likely to be tiny. Even if the wharf was located nearer to Cowper Wharf Road and the head of Woolloomooloo Bay, walking directly to Macquarie Street in the CBD would offer a competitive alternative in time than a ferry ride to Circular Quay.
More importantly, there are simply not the berthing facilities available at Circular Quay for an additional line. The Quay struggles to accommodate the existing nine lines.
It is very understandable that residents of Woolloomooloo would like to have a ferry wharf near their doorstep. But on a scale of places suitable for ferry connection, Woolloomooloo does not rate highly.
This article first appeared on sydneyferry.blogspot.com
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