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Customer Outcome 10: Improved connectivity, integrated services and better use of capacity

Greater Newcastle Future Transport Plan

Customer Outcome 10: Improved connectivity, integrated services and better use of capacity

Customers will enjoy improved efficiency and reliability from their network

Investments in the future transport network to meet the growing demand for the movement of goods and people will require a large financial outlay from a constrained government budget. It is important that new build and upgrades to the network deliver improved connectivity in an integrated system that makes the best use of the existing capacity to ensure that all funds are spent in the most efficient and effective manner.

Fernleigh Track

An example of making better use of existing assets is the Fernleigh Track. The Fernleigh Track is Greater Newcastle’s busiest cycleway with 123 commuting riders counted on the Super Tuesday count in March 2016 (between 7am-8:45am).

The 15 kilometre multi-use track follows a former private railway line which runs between Belmont and Adamstown. Like much of the network it was developed in stages over the course of a decade (the first section between Adamstown and Burwood Road opened in 2003).

As well as being a commuter route, the Fernleigh Track has become a popular visitor destination that takes cyclists though local bushland and the beachside community of Redhead.

 

Priority corridors

In 2019 Newcastle Light Rail will commence operation, providing a new way of moving through the Newcastle city centre. To support this investment, we need efficient transport connections that enable people to access the Newcastle Light Rail network and city centre.

Seventeen potential priority corridors have been investigated across Greater Newcastle and its strategic centres for investment in priority public transport over the next 10 years. Corridors investigated included connections to Newcastle Airport, University of Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital, Broadmeadow as well as other key destinations. All corridors have been investigated due to their anticipated patronage growth and development, travel trends and opportunities to build upon the existing public transport network. They have been considered in relation to the urban renewal corridors identified in the Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Plan 2036 as well as Newcastle Transport’s frequent network implemented in January 2018.

Four priority corridors have been shortlisted for further exploration:

  • Newcastle Interchange – John Hunter Hospital
  • Newcastle Interchange – Wallsend
  • Newcastle Interchange – Mayfield
  • Newcastle Interchange – Charlestown

As part of identifying priority corridors, an analysis was undertaken in relation to the performance of the corridors, identification of bus priority measures to improve performance and a review of light rail constraints.

Introducing bus priority measures in tactical locations can increase journey speed and reliability in the short and medium term delivering more rapid services with potential for light rail in the long term depending on demand. For customers, this will result in improved connectivity between Greater Newcastle’s centres and increased accessibility to opportunities like jobs, health care, education and sports facilities.

This work will provide the foundation for the development of a rapid bus program for Greater Newcastle.

 

Parking

A strategic approach to the provision of car parking needs to be considered for Greater Newcastle. This includes consideration of parking in centres as well as opportunities for park and ride and car pooling.

Informal car pooling and park and ride currently occurs along key corridors such as Hunter Expressway, Newcastle Link Road and Pacific Highway. We need to develop a plan on how to better manage these opportunities in consideration of the broader transport network, including connecting public transport corridors.

Other opportunities available for consideration include:

  • Using technology to better manage car parking through improved communication and wayfinding, parking enforcement compliance and pricing based on demand
  • Development controls setting maximum parking space requirements in new developments
  • Shared use of car parking spaces e.g. with businesses that only require car parking at certain periods. The use of McDonald Jones Stadium parking by Newcastle City Council’s park and ride service is an example of this currently occurring in Greater Newcastle

A consistent approach to managing parking needs to be achieved across a region; it cannot be undertaken in one area and not others. We will work on delivering parking guidelines for Greater Newcastle to provide direction to local decision makers and developers.

Parking in strategic centres

Previous parking policies have focused on providing parking to meet the demand in centres. However, ease of parking results in traffic congestion, decreases the viability of public transport and detracts from the amenity of places as they focus on vehicle access and not access for people. These policy positions should be considered:

  • Parking should support customer and business service needs
  • Sustainability should drive parking supply, not demand, recognising:
    • The need for parking turnover
    • Reallocation of all day parking away from centres that are supported by strong public transport networks
  • Maximising value in parking spaces particularly in centres through:
    • Prioritisation of short stay, high turn-over spaces over long stay, low turn-over spaces
    • On street parking for short stay uses only
    • Reduction in time limits for on-street parking
  • Parking to support transport objectives through:
    • Progressive reduction of relative parking supply or pricing as a travel demand management tool to encourage mode shift to public and active transport.

Commuter car parking

Commuter car parks (CCPs) are an important component of an integrated transport network with both strategic and customer benefits. We are investigating the role that CCPs have in NSW’s public transport network to develop overarching guiding principles for locating and prioritising CCPs. The guiding principles will help to inform the analysis, evaluation, and prioritisation of new or expanded commuter car park locations. While these guiding principles are in development, they may consider:

  • How CCPs may provide access to rail and high capacity bus interchanges for populations not well served by public transport
  • Frequency and type of available public transport
  • Strategic importance of the location and ensuring land use supports placemaking and economic outcomes
  • Future land use changes and urban renewal
  • Existing parking capacity (on and off street)
  • Patronage
  • Operational interventions and service alternatives to better utilise existing CCP facilities.

This prioritisation and development process helps to ensure that planning for new or expanded commuter car parking favours locations that would derive the most benefit and where additional parking would most effectively address customer needs.

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