Submission on the draft Central Coast Transport Strategy 2006 – 31

19 Aug

This submission on the draft Central Coast Transport Strategy (herein referred to as the dCCTS or the Strategy) is laid out under the following headings:

  1. Structure of the dCCTS
  2. Issues, Concerns and Questions
  3. Connections between Statistical Data and Works
  4. A Complete Strategy for the Central Coast
  5. A Proposed Structure for the Strategy

1.0 Structure of the dCCTS

The dCCTS is divided into three time frames.

  1. Current to 2012
  2. Medium term 2012 to 2020
  3. Long Term 2020 to 2036

Each timeframe addresses: Rail, Road, Buses, Bicycles, Walking, Freight, Transport Interchanges, Car Parking and Governance.

The dCCTS lists projects in order of:

1. Recently completed or soon to be commenced;

2. Long term.

There is some reader confusion between these two project categories. For example, the $300 million roads funding is noted as a future project, though these funds are mostly already expended on the nominated projects. Also, the new bus routes as announced by the State were finalised with the commencement of new schedules on 8 Nov 2010.

2.0 Issues, Concerns and Questions

There are a number of issues, concerns and questions that must be raised.

2.1  Central Coast Bus Review

I see the dCCTS as needing to compliment the recent Central Coast Bus Review (under the Outer Metropolitan Bus Review) process. I draw attention to the submission on bus transport needs compiled by myself on behalf of the CEN.

Ref. (Bus review Central Coast 2009)

This submission highlighted the bus needs of the North Wyong District. The dCCTS heralds the result of the outer metropolitan bus review, but many of the North Wyong services (i.e. Lakehaven) as requested in the submission have not been incorporated within the new bus timetables (8 Nov 2010). The dCCTS states that a North Wyong Bus Servicing Strategy is to be prepared between 2012 and 2020. This seems to be yet another delay for the North Wyong area to get a comprehensive plan established. (dCCTS ref p32, 47).

Additional issues associated with the new expanded services for North Wyong extolled in the Strategy, are in contradiction to the new timetable which run the last services generally earlier in the evening than the old timetable to certain destinations north of Lakehaven and in particularly on the weekends. Finally, new peak hour services are ending their runs later at Morisset and Wyee stations than from Lakehaven, thus disadvantaging workers returning home from Tuggerah in comparison to these afore-mentioned locations.

2.2 More Services Needed for North Wyong

The claim in the strategy is that more services run past the Wyong Hospital. This is true except on Sundays where there are now fewer services to the hospital and services finish several hours earlier. Saturday services are not much better even though services between Tuggerah and Lakehaven have increased dramatically on Weekends (ref. p. 29 dCCTS).

2.3 Contributions from Key Stakeholders

I express concern in the comment that Transport NSW will allow contributions from key stakeholders when assessing the needs of the community for additional services. Can the State define ‘key stakeholders’ (dCCTS ref. p31)?

2.4 Bus Corridors

No Strategic Bus Corridors were identified in the North Wyong Area. There is a need, however, for these services, as follows (not exhaustive):

  • Lakehaven to Gosford via Bateau Bay
  • Lakehaven to Charlestown via Swansea
  • Lakehaven to Gosford Via Tuggerah
  • Tuggerah to The North Entrance via Mingara

2.5 Metro Bus

The Metro Bus is a Sydney program and would thus need more explanation of its introduction to the Central Coast (ref p31 dCCRTS). The Strategy suggests that it should be expanded to the Central Coast. If Metro Bus is to become the dedicated bus transit ways on the Central Coast, I suggest The Entrance and the Tuggerah transport interchanges should come under any Metro Bus program and other Central Coast interchanges should be investigated (dCCTS ref p32).

2.6 Fast Rail and Freight Services

The strategy mentions long-term planning for a fast rail and plans for a loop rail for freight services though there are no references to any improvements to the current level of access to the rail. The one exception here is, the addition of the Warnervale township station. The fast train and freight loop installations on the Central Coast will take pressure off the existing rail line, thus allowing an expanded system to meet the Central Coast’s growing population (ref p33, 38). CEN has submitted proposals to the State for two new stations, one at Blue Haven and the other at the southern end of the Coast’s rail line west of Woy Woy Station. This will give quicker access to rail for about 20,000 people by the year 2036.

Web Reference:

Planning Public Transport Structures in North Wyong: A Proposal for a Blue Haven Bus and Train Interchange

2.7 Parking Trains

The outer metropolitan rail carriages (called Oscars), currently park in Wyong. With the advent of the proposed Warnervale township station, the dCCTS proposes that these cars be parked at Warnervale. Comments are made that this arrangement will service the new township in morning peaks and again in the evening peak period. I suggest caution in parking trains in expanding urban areas (ref recent noise problems at Gosford station). This occurrence could be avoided by accommodating rail carriages parking areas at the proposed Blue Haven station. ( See Above Web Reference). A Blue Haven station could subsequently be provided as the population in this district grew (ref p29).

2.8 Local Government Transport Plans

The dCCTS suggests that local government (LG) should be involved in preparing local transport plans, but recognises that currently no legislative mechanism allows councils to do this. In earlier submissions to the State, CEN has stated the importance of LG completing transport plans as part of councils’ overall infrastructure planning. The dCCTS suggests a time frame for this type of planning post 2020; however the need exists at present (ref p49).

2.8 Minor Towns not Addressed in Strategy

Although many of the destination towns are considered in the strategy, smaller towns with some potential for population growth have been ignored.  These towns have the potential to accommodate green fields development in some cases, but more pertinent to the strategy they will be able to accommodate redevelopment at a higher density than present, thus creating an opportunity for more efficient public transport systems.

Higher Density potential urban areas:

Ourimbah, Toukley, The Entrance, Long Jetty, Bateau Bay, Budgewoi etc.

Greenfield potential development areas:

Wyee, Gwandalan, Chain Valley Bay, Nords Wharf, Catherine Hill Bay, Warnervale, Woongarrah, Wadalba, Doyalson etc.

2.9 Secure Bike Parking (Page 14)

It is questionable whether secure bike parking in all areas has been achieved. It is evident that bus interchanges in many shopping centres have not installed this kind of equipment for bus travellers. See Wyong Council’s On Road Bicycle and shared pathway Strategy.

2.10 Wyong town Centre (Page 24)

Wyong Town Centre and interchange has been identified as a growth centre.  This means that the integrity of the town’s function must be protected. I believes that without special and combined effort from a range of government agencies, the town will stagnate. As part of the $300 million flagged in this strategy, a road is planned to be renewed through the town. It is our assertion that if the road is pushed through the town, it will split the town from the transport precinct. We believe that the town will be left behind by developments at Warnervale and Tuggerah. We feel that the interchange and transport precinct at Wyong is the key to revitalise the town by providing both function and a sense of place in the town. The interchange should provide a nexus for the CBD and the Baker Street master plan developments.

2.11 Commitment to Provide Alternatives to Private Transport in North Wyong (page 24/25)

It is imperative to fulfil the commitment to provide alternatives to private transport on the Central Coast, especially North Wyong as a State growth focus.  As the population in North Wyong grows, private transport congestion will increase.  Outlying places like Gwandalan, Chain Valley Bay, Mannering Park and Nords Wharf must be provided with a bus service that will discourage residents from purchasing that second car and encouraging them to travel on public transport exclusively. These residents will increasingly be a major contributor to traffic on the Pacific Highway at Charmhaven for example.

2.12 Changing Demographic due to Climate Change

As outlined on page 28 of the Strategy the government’s key projects will (with population as a driver for more accessibility improvements to the transport network), improve productivity and economic competitiveness, and integrate with the existing transport network to contribute to environmental sustainability. However, has the Strategy considered the effects of climate change to demographic patterns beyond 2030?

2.13 North Wyong Public Transport Links to Newcastle

I would encourage the preparation of a North Wyong bus Servicing Strategy and would like to contribute to this process in its initial stages through my involvement in the CEN. One of the priorities for this connection would be a bus service to Charlestown Square, providing both commuting and shopping opportunities.

2.14 Promoting Public transport use

One of the Strategy aims is to reduce the population’s reliance on the car and encourage the use of public transport. However the Strategy does not show a process by which this could be achieved. The announcement of a separate study and program to achieve this would help the Transport Strategy show that it had addressed this issue. (dCCTS p.5)

3.0 Connections Between Statistical Data and works

3.1 The dCCTS quotes a range of statistical data.

Facts like:

Travel Patterns (p.16):

1.9% decrease in trips during weekdays;

9.5% increase in trips during weekend days and

Bus travel remains the same in 2008-10 while car travel has increased 3%

3.2 What assumptions could be made from the nexus of these facts?

One hypothesis is that there may be a lack of buses on the road and this is increasingly so on weekend.

Other examples of the nexus follow.

a. Central Coast residents drove 30 km more per day than 5 years ago (p16).

Why is this? Could it be due to the urbanisation of the Central Coast over a larger area, thereby requiring residents to travel further to work and shop etc? What transport conclusion could this present? One suggestion from this data could be that the Central Coast needs better connectivity or transport, via road, rail and bus between the north and south of the Central Coast.

b. Journeys to work via public transport have dropped by 1% over the last 7 years (p17); and 86% travel by train while only 14% by bus.

What could be gleaned from this data? It seems that cars are used to commute to stations in most cases. To reduce the number of cars on the road, the drivers of these cars should be targeted to catch the bus. What strategies could be implemented?

c. Fewer people travel outside the Central Coast for work (down 1.6% since 2001).

This data shows that more people are finding work on the Central Coast and that the inter-Central Coast transport trend is increasing.  This adds more weight to the need for more connectivity of transport within the Central Coast. If the government wishes to reduce individual carbon footprints and reduce congestion on the road then increased investment in public transport is essential.

d. The population is aging (p.24/25). The strategy suggests more home and community care programs. In addition easier access to bus transport must also become a priority.  This will mean low floor buses, kerb heights appropriate at every bus stop; shelters at every bus stop; proper lighting. Roads surfaces on bus routes maintained to ensure smooth travel and smooth stopping at bus stops.

4.0 A Complete Strategy for the Central Coast

The Strategy announces a range of initiatives by the State government to enhance the Central Coasts transport systems.  However the local councils have not been considered in this strategy, only to say that local councils must get involved after 2020 in transport planning.

Councils, although not commissioned to provide bus and train services are by far the biggest provider of roads infrastructure on the Central Coast. As such they are charged with the maintenance of many roads that buses traverse. They provide infrastructure for the bus services in the form of bus shelters and are to maintain the streets free of obstacles such as overgrown trees etc.

Council has been working on planning documents that show plans for future development and future population growth nodes. Although much of the data within this Strategy document has come through the Bureau of Statistics, more precise information should have been sought to accurately assess public transport needs particularly in the North Wyong Area (e.g. Toukley Master Plan and Council population projections).

The Strategy should consider all aspects and involvements relating to transport, not just projects that the State agencies have provided or will provide. Money that has or could be provided to councils and community transport to provide components of better transport should be considered in the strategy. For example, road funding to Councils to provide and maintain road surfaces for heavy vehicles where bus routes exist should be considered.

5.0 A Proposed Structure for the Strategy

The strategy presents a vision and it outlines aims in the first few pages.  These aims are in the form of a narrative and could be put in point form to highlight the direction of the strategy.

Data is presented, however, as mentioned in point 3 this data is not clearly connected to decisions and nominated projects.

Projects are listed over three time frames, leaving the last time frame a little nebulas from 2020 to 2036. This time frame should be more detailed given the expectations of the residents of the Central Coast.  The Strategy needs to be more than a works program. It needs to be a vision for the future of the Central Coast residents and a forward planning document for successive governments’ budgets.

The Strategy rightly considers the preparing of a subsequent more detailed strategy called the ‘North Wyong Bus Servicing Strategy’. This is one of a number of outcomes of the Strategy. The strategy should be an empowering document and it should herald a number of outcomes.

Finally, under the section of governance, the Strategy announces that the strategy will be reviewed in a five year period. I would encourage the government to continue to monitor the factors relating to the Strategy within this 5 year period and incorporate new information into the next revision of the plan.

Submission By

David Holland

B.A.S. Environmental Planning

Grad. Dip. Environmental Management

Member of the Sustainable Transport Committee of CEN

Member of the Community Environment Network (CEN)

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2 Responses to “Submission on the draft Central Coast Transport Strategy 2006 – 31”

  1. rayr65 August 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    This study is essential to good transport planning on the Central Coast.

    Ray
    CEN Sustainable Transport C’tee

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  1. Submission to Transport NSW on: Draft Central Coast Transport Strategy 2010 « Habitat Association - August 19, 2011

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