Parramatta Road Urban Renewal

Parramatta Road is a major road transport corridor that runs through the Inner West Council area. One of the oldest roads in Sydney, it connects the CBD to Parramatta.

Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Corridor

The NSW State Government is working on a long term project to regenerate the Parramatta Road Corridor. The ‘corridor’ is the land next to and at least one block back from the road, as well as eight growth Precincts.

Four of these eight precincts are wholly or completely in the inner west area:

  • Camperdown
  • Leichhardt
  • Taverners Hill
  • Kings Bay

The Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy was released by the State Government in November 2016.

Read the Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy

Council’s game changing transport solution

Guided Electric Vehicle

Inner West and Canada Bay Councils have investigated the huge benefits of centre running public transport on Parramatta Road, as opposed to the kerbside rapid bus service proposed by the Strategy.

Read the Parramatta Road Transport Opportunities Summary (PDF 1.5MB) here

Read the full Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study (PDF 14.5MB) here

Inner West and Canada Bay Councils have investigated the huge benefits of centre running public transport on Parramatta Road, as opposed to the kerbside rapid bus service proposed by the Strategy.

The Parramatta Road Public Transport Opportunities Study recommends a Guided Electric Transit (GET) system as world’s best practice public transport for Parramatta Road.

Guided Electric Transit is a leading edge technology now used in cities around the globe. It uses carriages similar to light rail.

An optically guided system uses cameras to identify lane markings and steer the carriages. This is like the technology now used in new cars to warn drivers if they are veering from their marked lane.

Council is calling on the State Government to urgently fund a feasibility study into a GET system. This would be a game-changer for Parramatta Road.

Ten Big Benefits for Parramatta Road

1. Kerb-side parking and buffer for pedestrians
A centre-running transit system allows kerb side parking during off peak. This provides a buffer for pedestrians and shops. 

2. Street activation
A kerbside buffer will remove noise and fumes from the footpath environment and create a friendlier environment for shoppers and visitors. This would make it much easier to activate the streets and bring Parramatta Road back to life. It would support the aims of the Urban Transformation Strategy.

3. No expensive infrastructure
GETs don’t require rails to be laid in the road. The optical guidance system uses cameras to identify the pathway.

4. Narrower laneways
The optical guidance system perfectly aligns the carriages, meaning that less space is needed to account for the natural ‘wobble’ that occurs when a person guides a vehicle.

5. Going ‘offroad’
The driver can turn off the optical guidance and leave the specified path to drive around incidents blocking the road.

6. Environmentally friendly
Modern carriages charge overnight at the depot. Some can run all day, and some have fast 15 second recharges at set stops. That means no more bus diesel fumes.

7. Higher capacity
A GET can move 10,000 people per hour – twice the capacity of a rapid bus system.

8. Fast installation
With no infrastructure needed, a GET system can be ready to go very quickly.

9. Cheaper
A GET can be put in place for around half the cost of a light rail system.
The GET would cost less than half the cost of a rapid transit bus system to operate.

10. World’s Best Practice
The New York Institute of Transport maintains a score card for transport. GET’s rate a ‘gold’ score, while a rapid bus service doesn’t score at all.

The original study was commissioned by the former Leichhardt Council in 2015. Council called for the study to look at options for the proposed gap in public transport between Burwood and Strathfield, the width of Parramatta Road and how that impacts traffic and revitalisation and world’s best practice transport solution to support revitalisation.

Consultants Bodhi Alliance Pty Ltd and EDAB Consulting Pty Ltd from Perth were engaged, to make sure that there was no conflict of interest.

Inner West Council has expanded upon the foundation of that study to come up with a recommendation for a guided electric transit system. 

Council is calling on the State Government to prepare a feasibility study in consultation with councils touching on Parramatta Road.

Parramatta Road Urban Transformation Strategy

>How will it affect the inner west?

Key points in the Strategy that affect the inner west include:

  • 27,000 new dwellings
  • 50,000 new jobs
  • A rapid bus service
  • A direction to retain industrial and employment lands
  • A focus on provision of affordable housing
  • Open space

How has Council responded?

The State Government has responded to some concerns from local Councils.

However the Strategy falls short in several key areas, and Council is continuing to lobby the government on the following issues.

Public Transport

The Strategy recommends a rapid bus service with frequent buses occupying the kerbside lanes during peak hours. This is business as usual for Parramatta Road.

A more modern public transport system would truly transform the Road and serve the new apartments and jobs that will be generated by the Strategy. 

A centre running system like a Guided Electric Transit system or Light rail would move people within the precinct and reactivate the street frontages.

It would allow parking along the kerb during off peak periods, which provides a buffer between the traffic and the shops and pedestrians on the street front. 

This would make the street front quieter and less polluted than with large numbers of diesel buses using the kerbside lanes.

It would also get more cars off the road.

Affordable Housing

Providing affordable inner city housing helps make sure that essential workers like teachers and nurses can afford to live near their jobs in the cities.

It also makes sure that institutions like hospitals and schools can get the staff that they need.

There is a critical shortage of affordable housing in the city.

Council has set an affordable housing target of 10-15% of existing housing stock, to meet this shortage.

The Parramatta Road Strategy has set a far lower target of 5%. This is far below what is needed locally.

Industrial and Employment Lands

The strategy, along with the District Plan, states that Sydney should preserve industrial and employment lands. However the State Government is still rezoning industrial land in the Inner West Council area.

It is also vital the Strategy better addresses the urgent need to preserve industrial land near the CBD for industrial and employment uses.

Council does welcome the commitment to keeping employment land in Camperdown. Council has been pushing for the lands to be preserved for the development of a medical research hub.

Open Space and Infrastructure

There is not enough open space and public infrastructure identified in the strategy.

With the large number of new residents to be brought to the road corridor, new high quality open spaces need to be provided so that existing spaces are not overrun.

The costings are also unrealistic, with a danger of sub-standard finishes for public domain works.


The Strategy has reduced the heights and densities in Taverners Hill from its draft proposal.

However, it is still proposing buildings of 6-7 stories along Parramatta Road, particularly next to low density residential areas in Stanmore and Petersham.

Previous submissions

You can find submissions from the previous Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils on the drafts of the Urban Transformation Strategy below.

Ashfield submission to the Urban Transformation Strategy (PDF 2MB) 
Leichhardt submission Urban Transformation Strategy (PDF 7MB)
Marrickville submission Urban Transformation Strategy (PDF 19.7MB)

Off Broadway Precinct

In 2016 The Inner West Council partnered with The Sydney Fringe Festival to launch a new creative arts precinct along and around Parramatta Rd, from Catherine Street Leichhardt to Pyrmont Bridge Road, Camperdown.
The Off Broadway Precinct is the ideal location for Sydney’s indie creative and cultural precinct. It’s close to the CBD, sits on one of the City’s main public transport routes and has limited residential properties.
Read more on the Off Broadway Precinct here

Public Art Program 

Three new and exciting public artworks are planned for Leichhardt and Petersham as key features of the Parramatta Road Urban Amenity Improvement Program (PRUAIP).
Find out more about the Parramatta Road Public Art Program

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Page last updated: 21 Oct 2021