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Risks and impacts on governments and the community when planning coal mining projects in urban growth areas

25 Nov

Wallarah 2 Coal Project Rev 2 March 2014Planning for population growth is one of the challenges Australia has to face to ensure a good socio-economic future. This means that mismanagement and errors due to bad planning will affect our prosperity both individually and as a nation.

Currently Australia is going through an increase in applications for mining operations. Some of the recent policy of State governments has been to embrace mining and exports to improve royalty revenues. In the face of climate change, Australian states are continuing to give approvals for mining operations to take advantage of carbon-based resources.

This paper will investigate how a population growth area and a coal mining application are in conflict on the Central Coast of New South Wales (NSW). It identifies a range of planning principals for urban growth areas and superimposes a real life proposal for a mining operation within the locality of the growth area on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

The paper looks at planning processes, the potential impacts related to the mine’s coal loader and indicates how the risk of these impacts can affect socio-economic factors during construction, operation and after the mining operation has ceased.

The paper attempts to describe through some planning theory how the incompatibilities of urban development and a mining operation plays out. It shows by using as its argument a real life mining proposal within close proximity to proposed urban development in the form of a new green fields city planned for the Central Coast, a plan that has been documented since the publication of the 1975 Central Coast strategic plan.

Within this paper is the case study based on the application for a long wall mining operation by Kores Australia (a company owned by Korean and Japanese investors). It investigates impacts related to a proposed coal loader planned to be located near the intersection of the M1 motorway and the Link Road to Doyalson. The case study gives some analysis to the proposed mine head’s proximity to other existing and proposed urban developments, and natural environments in the North Wyong area.

The paper suggests that the externalities associated with the coal loader and transport of the coal to the coal loader at the Port of Newcastle create risks. If these risks are realised through the construction and operation of the mine head works it could create socio-economic repercussions for the local council, the state government and individuals.

The paper attempts to be objective showing an understanding of the economics of mining operations and need to accommodate population growth, but in the final analysis, risks and evidence seems to be weighted towards an incompatibility between mining and urban developments in the same locality.

Follow the link below to see the entire paper:

Paper in PDF format

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Transport for NSW – Submission by David Holland regarding the Discussion paper on Long Term Transport Planning for NSW

15 May

As an advocate for both adaptive thinking and the Environment the Habitat Association for Arts and Environment has included the latest publication by one of its members, David Holland, on transport planning for New South Wales.

For those who are surfing the web from outside of Australia, New South Wales is arguably the most populous State in Australia and has a large economy in Australian terms.

This means that transport planning in New South Wales (NSW) is pivotal to the future success of that economy and the well being of the residents and workers of the State.

We may even go as far as to say that without a solid strategy for the future and new co-operation between the various transport agencies, NSW is poised to produce more transport bottlenecks which will affect the states future prosperity. The submission outline three themes that Mr. Holland feels are important for the way forward. They are sustainability, security and reliability.

The submission not only looks at very practical aspects of providing a sustainable public transport system, but also sustainable ways to operate transport systems into the future. This is highlighted in the approach related to handling freight. The submission proposes a logical but revolutional way to handle freight service between regions and between other Australian States.

The use of renewable energy in the rail system is touched on as a way for the State to meet renewable energy targets.

The Central Coast of NSW is referred to in much of the submission. David believes that regional Australia is often left out of detailed transport planning processes because of the assumption that all commuting, as has been traditionally the case, is flowing to and from the Sydney metropolitan areas. With the slow but steady improvement of job opportunities in the regions, more and more commuting is being done intra-regionally. This means that public transport services should not only accommodate this trend but transport planning should drive this trend, providing appropriate infrastructure to give greater opportunity for regional investment in the growing regional economic powerhouses of the Illawarra, the Central Coast, the far west of Sydney around Penrith and the Blue Mountains, and the south west of Sydney around Campbelltown.

To Read More follow this link>:

Submission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia

20 Sep

The North Wyong Structure Plan is one of the most important documents compiled for the Central Coast. It identifies the pattern or template for development in the fastest growing areas of the Central Coast, the areas north of the township of Wyong.

The plan has been produced from the objectives of the Central Coast Strategy 2008, which is the main future looking document for the whole Central Coast.

The relationship of this plan to the Draft Central Coast Regional Transport Strategy (CCRTS)

Recently, the Central Coast has had the opportunity to be presented with the Central Coast Regional Transport Strategy.  This document although still in draft, in our opinion, was not able to satisfactorily identify the future transport needs of the Central Coast. By not using demographic trend data to show the huge needs in transport for the future of the Central Coast it was not able to properly analyze future transport trends and plan projects that relate to these trends. As this plan relies on the CCRTS for transport planning into the future we feel that the transport component of this plan is inadequate.

This document however, while only touching on transport has been able to show the capacity that the Central Coast will be able to contribute to NSW and the growth potential of the area covered by the North Wyong Structure Plan.

Trend from Private to Public Transport

The Plan outlines a potential of up to 10,000 new jobs with the release of developable land over the scope of the Plan. With this increase in employment opportunities there will be an increasing burden on transport infrastructure to move commuters. To increase efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions the Plan should move with the trend away from private forms of transport to public transport. This planned trend will help avoid cost blowouts on roads funding and time wasted by commuters waiting on congested roads.

It is expected that a large proportion of the jobs will be filled by workers from the southern parts of the Central Coast and Newcastle. It would be ideal that everyone living in the region would be able to walk or ride to work, but this would not be practical considering individual life style choices. However, workers will examine the feasibility of how to get to a particular job. This is where transport plans and transport planning must use a forward planning model to help enable large parts of the work force to easily access public transport.

The CCRTS, of which the Plan relies as a blue print to achieve sustainable transport is lacking in vision.  The Plan lacks a vision for transition from the medium term planning to the long term planning. The Plan, for example, relies on the CCRTS to supply the needed road infrastructure for the massive amounts of movement that is planned within the Plan.  This movement must be planned so that workers leave their cars at home and travel by public transport to work, either locally or from the regions. Bus services must become a seamless option for commuters.

Extractive industries planning

As identified in the Plan there are a number of natural constraints both now and into the future.  These include: 1. loss of biodiversity due to urban expansion; 2. pressures on the urban and natural landscape by mine subsidence; and, 3. potentially non developable areas in the short and medium term caused by extractive industries. The latter will become a balancing exercise between the release of land for urban purposes, and land for extractive industries. It is noted that the Plan includes these extractive industries as an asset to the region, given potential jobs creation opportunities.

We believe extractive industries are incompatible with urban areas because of the many negative effects related to these industries (i.e. impact on urban and natural environments).  We thus oppose any extractive industries within the Plan.  North Wyong should be reserved for urban development and low impact industry.

Wetlands and flooding

Other constraints mentioned in the Plan include both flooding and sea level rise. Flooding is an issue in the North Wyong given much of the land is low lying. Many of these low lying areas are designated wetlands. With the extra hard stand areas planned that will form house roofs and road surfaces, ways of moving accumulated water away from the more fragile wetland environments will need to be addressed.

Climate Change Issues

Sea level rise is part of a larger environmental challenge, that of a changing climate throughout the world. As a result the Wyong north area is likely to experience sea level rise

(see report on climate change)

http://www.cen.org.au/images/stories/Issues/Planning/climate_change/planning_for_climate_change_r2a.pdf).

Climate change impacts will increase constraints on developments in low lying areas, and in particular around waterways. In addition, as a result of climate change it is expected that increased precipitation in coastal regions both in volume and intensity will also affect constraints on development.  In summary, climate change issues should be addressed in the Plan.

A Social Impact Strategy Needed

The Plan has not explicitly included the growth of education institutions or mass movement of students to and from school.

The Plan seems to assume that students would get to school as they always have, by bus or walking.  However, unless culture changes, an ever increasing amount of parents will be transporting their children to school, by large family cars. These cars put a large burden on the local road infrastructure.  As a result we suggest that the Plan address the social and transport issues within a social impact strategy on this transport factor for the whole of the Central Coast and in particular North Wyong.

Finally, the Plan should address the ever increasing instances of vandalism and graffiti inWyong Shire. An investigation should address the causes and the social drivers for this behavior and propose some viable solutions.

Bushell’s Ridge growth and a rail and bus interchange at Bluehaven

The Bushells Ridge area is expected to become a commercial and light industrial area, and will be supported by housing in the new Warnervale Town Centre, urban expansion in Wyee, Gwandalan and existing urban areas such as Blue Haven etc.  It is also expected that many job holders will come from Newcastle region and Gosford region. This trend will see long convoluted bus trips from the new Warnervale station to the Bushells Ridge industrial estates. This lack of efficiency will ensure that commuters opt to use their cars to travel to work. Our long standing suggestion is to include both rail yards and a commuter station at Blue Haven. This would reduce the distance to work for the commuters and allow a good bus service from the rail to Bushells Ridge. This would also enable a range of bus services to connect at this interchange from Charlestown, Swansea, Gwandalan, Mannering Park,Norah Head and Lakehaven also providing a good connection to the Lake Macquarie bays and the beach from the rail.

See:http://www.cen.org.au/images/stories/Issues/Planning/wyong/planning%20public%20transport%20structures%20in%20north%20wyong%20the%20%20%20%20%20%20bluehaven%20bus%20and%20train%20interchange%202nd%20ed.%20rev%202%2015.01.2010.pdf

Biodiversity Preservation

We commend the Department of Planning on taking the initiative to not only plan for urban and industrial activities within the Plan but to plan for natural areas that will continue to carry a pre-settlement signature of the biodiversity in the Wyong Shire from the mountains west of Wyong to the Sea.

We also commend the inclusion of the proposed Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) Central Coast Conservation Plan (CCCP) in any analysis of biodiversity within the Plan. This is needed to give scientific rigor and proper priority to natural resource and ecological attributes for future generations. Incorporating the CCCP would highlight the importance of ecology to overall environmental health of North Wyong. By detailing, for example, the conservation values of the landscape within the two major corridor systems planned for the sub region, it will enable planners and ecologists to agree on the most appropriate planning decisions in regard to biobanking.

By the plan identifying the green corridor areas it ensures that future generations will be able to appreciate the aesthetic attributes of the pre-settlement environment.

Biobanking the natural resources of North Wyong

Currently biobanking is written into the legislation (with DECCW outlining some guidelines). Some developers however (often via contracted companies) are attempting to water down these principals and use the legislative opportunity of biobanking for advantage. One advantage that appears to be sought is to reduce costs by not doing various environmental studies as required by the legislation outside of biobanking agreements. We thus recommends that the Plan, in conjunction with the CCCP, close this potential loop-hole by incorporating more stringent requirements on biobanking in North Wyong (e.g. when a plot of land is to be subject to a biobanking agreement). As a result, with a biobanking policy in place, strategic corridor land can be part of the biobanking process. This will ensure the connectivity desired, providing a range of elevations for the preserved land and a diversity of biota from the various elevations. Overall this would ensure a working ecology is preserved.

Green Corridor Planning

As a general comment we are encouraged by the inclusion of green corridors within the Plan. We agree with the Plan’s assessment that the unique biodiversity of the Central Coast should be preserved in a way that allows movement of biota throughout the system. (i.e. due to external environmental changes).  We, however questions whether this plan will properly cater for the expected north south biota migration opportunities that will be needed to accommodate the effects of climate change (noted above). We ask that within the Plan some consideration for biota migration be made, relying on the CCCP analysis of this issue. Finally, it is encouraging to see two clear corridors have been planned, one within the Lake Munmorah area and the other within Wadalba area. The Plan should ensure the pre-settlement floral diversity within these corridors is protected.

We agree with the Plan that the land within these corridor areas should be explicitly zoned for the purpose the land is intended and no other, so as to ensure no encroachment or fragmentation of the land is possible by developers, Wyong Council or the State.

Land Management and Land values of Green corridor Lands

We are concerned about pressure brought to bear on both state and local governments by land owners who have a perception that their green corridor land will be devalued by the Plan. Given this scenario, in the interests of transparency, it would be worthwhile identifying the benefits of these green regions more clearly in the Plan. A user’s guide to biobanking should be considered, identifying clearly the land market produced for green corridor land through the land development process. The guide should show land owners that their land will not lose value but become more valuable under the biobanking opportunity presented through State environmental legislation. Other options for Green Corridor land include Voluntary Conservation Agreements (VCA) and the purchase of these lands by State and local government due to the importance of these lands for the future of the regional landscape. Both the VCAs and the government buyback opportunities will increase the scarcity of land available for biobanking, thus enabling the price of land to be supported at a higher level within the corridor systems.

A plan should be developed within the CCCP detailing the management of these corridor lands. The Plan should reference this issue, and defer to the CCCP. Current management practices of the small amount of designated corridor land at Wadalba have not been managed well to date. (see Attached Document on the History of Wadalba Hill) We suggest that the management of the corridor lands should be overseen by the DECCW. That private contractors and local government land managers are accountable through regulations relating to the management of corridor lands. As part of these regulations, the level of management of biobanked land should be considered and managed accordingly as per the DECCW 13 point Code.

Corridor lands are a valuable environmental assets and the Plan should give major consideration to the value and future management of green corridor lands.

Aboriginal Culture

We commend the Plan on its recognition of the need to preserve the remnants of Aboriginal culture in the sub region. The Plan states that Aboriginal sites identified by artifacts and markings need to be considered as land is developed. However, the Plan is less clear when explaining cultural sites that have little surface evidence related to the cultural setting of Aboriginal history. We believe that the Plan should be more specific about the identification and preservation of places of meeting, as well as culturally significant places that have only the landscape as a remnant of the history associated with past Aboriginal activities. One potential example of this is associated with Wadalba Hill. (Ref. Aboriginal Law Lady Elder Marjorie Woodrow’s application regarding Indigenous Heritage East Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts and under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act (ATSIHPA) 1984)

Wadalba East Town Centre

The Plan shows a new town centre to be placed at Wadalba East on the eastern side of Wadalba Hill.  The Plan indicates that this will be a centre that will have a variety of planning zonings including commercial zones and medium and high density residential zones, supported by some industrial zones. How does this new town relate to the existing town centre of Wadalba?  Will the old town centre continue to develop into a sub-regional centre as first planned, with higher density housing and high intensity commercial opportunities? Please provide some commentary within the Plan on the nexus between these towns.

Tertiary Education Opportunities

The Plan identifies that the Shire has more students leaving school earlier compared with the State average. It is most likely that students are not taking up this option who live in the North Wyong area because of the lack of access to University type institutions in the north Wyong area and the Central Coast at large.

Lack of access is likely to be due to two factors:

  1. The availability of suitable transport to an appropriate tertiary institution that a student can and has an interest in attending. Public transport on the Central Coast is used in the main by the young travelers and the elderly. If young travelers cannot access their chosen institution by public transport they cannot attend classes. Access to these institutions must be time effective, both in length of time for the commute and when the commute needs to take place.
  2. The institution must be within an acceptable distance from the student’s place of residence. Currently the only option for students wishing to attend university tertiary education is the Ourimbah Campus of the University of Newcastle. The University’s Callahan campus is not served well by public transport and many Sydney universities require a long commute by train after an extended time on the local bus network.

With the expected growth to the region in population to the year 2036, it is probable that the number of students resident in the North Wyong area will be an additional 20,000 attending both public and high schools.  Out of this there should be a significant number desiring to commence University studies. We thus need a university institution in the North Wyong sub-region, possibly at Warnervale near the new Station.

Affordable housing

Within the Plan there are a number of residential building densities identified (i.e.as high as 15 dwellings per hectare). If these are to be ground level dwellings, what social impact would this density have on the neighborhood?  This subject should be investigated in the Social Impact strategy as outlined above.

In addition, with such high density at a ground level, would this be a model for access to affordable housing in the North Wyong area?  Can affordable housing be established in a different format and density or is affordable housing excluded from the North Wyong area altogether. Affordable housing needs to be clearly identified in the Plan.

Review of Plan objectives

We commend the Plan on referencing the Central Coast Regional Strategy’s (CCRS) objectives and clearly identifying where the Plan sits in the forward planning of the Central Coast. It is important that the Plan fit into a larger planning framework. By referencing this plan as an action of the CCRS, the Plan is elevated to a status it needs.

Conclusion

Overall the strategy has given hope for a bright and prosperous future for the North Wyong sub-region. It identifies the large potential for jobs growth with a growing population. It identifies that even with the growth in population the natural environment is important to preserve for a number of reasons. It proposes green corridor links from the coast to the lands west of the freeway, which will revolutionize the current planning process undertaken by Wyong Shire Council.

We look forward to reading the amended Plan with the above considerations included.

by David Holland

Bachelor of App. Sc. Environmental Planning, 

Grad. Dip. Environmental Management

In co-operation with

Dr. Ray Rauscher

B.E. (Civil Engr), M. Town Planning, PhD. Sustainable Resource Management

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)