The popularity of light rail in Australia shows no sign of waning as we step into 2016. In NSW alone we have seen the recent extension to the Inner West line, works begin on the line from Circular Quay to Randwick, and plans released for Parramatta and Newcastle.
Practically the first thing Malcolm Turnbull did upon becoming Prime Minister was to give the green light to funding for the 2nd stage of light rail on The Gold Coast. Canberra has approved its line. Existing networks in Melbourne and Adelaide continue to be modernised and there is the proposed line for the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane in the mix.
With all of this in mind, the Australasian Railway Association and Informa Australia are excited to bring you our 3rd annual Light Rail Conference which will take place in Melbourne in February.
In the lead up to the event we were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with one of our keynote speakers and get his thoughts on the subject. Mr Ofer Manor, Chief Architect, Jerusalem Municipality is responsible for light rail development in Jerusalem as well as having a leading hand in the city’s ongoing regeneration. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the topic as well as what he is looking forward to about Light Rail 2016. We look forward to welcoming Mr Manor to Australia and to this industry leading event next month.
Ofer, tell us a little bit about your background and your role at Jerusalem Municipality
Ofer Manor: I serve as the City architect. In this capacity I play a key role in forging urban development, preservation and design policies for the city and in directing their implementation. For example, I headed a design team which crafted the city centre regeneration plan which has been successfully implemented over the past decade, and have directed over 75 additional design schemes, from the scale of a single building to entire neighbourhoods.
I currently direct additional flagship public-sector developments for the city, such as an 800,000 sqm. mixed-use project at the city entrance, the redevelopment of the national government precinct, and an international -standard sports, business and leisure quarter in the south of the city.
Much of my work lies in the interface between urban design and transportation.
I have overseen the urban integration aspects of Jerusalem’s 14 kilometre long light rail line, a US$1 billion public-private venture, and am currently doing the same for two additional lines now in the design development stage.
I also regulate the design of Jerusalem’s public realm, having supervised the design of over 40 pedestrianization and street upgrade projects, and routinely devise design guidelines for buildings, street-scapes and street frontages.
Can you give us an insight into the light rail project in Jerusalem?
Ofer Manor: In the years preceding the Millennia, in light of receding modal split data, it became clearly apparent that even an extended public transport network could not accommodate the transportation needs of the city. Several mass-transit options were considered, and a light rail network was found to be most suited to the needs and conditions of Jerusalem. Being the first light rail system nationwide, its introduction was accompanied by initial apprehensions and many hardships, resulting in a delayed phasing in of the entire network. To date, the Red line is operational as of December 2011, and two additional lines are scheduled to become operational in 2022 and 2023.
Despite these challenges, ridership figures have far exceed targeted expectations since the line’s inauguration.
The light rail project and the city’s regeneration are intrinsically linked, why do you think the light rail project proved so important to the city’s revival?
Ofer Manor: The introduction of the light rail coincided with the implementation of a parallel urban development initiative – the regeneration of the city centre, through which the light rail runs. These concurrent projects created a synergy which has benefited not only the central core, but the city in its entirety.
What are you looking forward to most about attending Light Rail 2016?
Ofer Manor: I am eager to share both the hardships and achievements of Jerusalem’s light rail project, and hope it will serve as an inspiration to similar initiatives. I’m also looking forward to gaining new insights on light rail through exposure to the presentations of my colleagues and discussions with attendees at the conference.
We look forward to Ofer Manor’s keynote presentation at the upcoming Light Rail 2016 Conference, taking place at the Pullman Melbourne on the park, on 24th– 25th February 2016.
As well as two days packed with presentations, attendees have the option to tour Bombardier’s Dandenong Rail Vehicles Production Site on the afternoon of the 25th February.
The Bombardier Transportation Australia Head Office is based at their Dandenong manufacturing site where they build the FLEXITY Melbourne E-Class Trams for Yarra Trams, VLocity DMU regional trains for V/Line, and have just recently completed manufacturing works on the Adelaide A-City EMU train fleet for South Australia. There are approximately 400 employees at the 41 acre site, which also contains a 1km standard gauge Light Rail test track.
Attendees can experience firsthand how Bombardier has designed, manufactured and delivered the E-Class trams to the Melbourne network.
Places are strictly limited to 50 attendees and you are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment. Please note that site tour attendees will be required to wear closed toe shoes. Safety vests, glasses and ear protection will be provided on site.*