Newcastle Greens Policy on Connected City (long version).
Adopted August 2012
Newcastle Greens recognise that transport is a key component of a sustainable, fair and liveable city. Responsibility for transport infrastructure and services is shared among different spheres of government, and Newcastle Council must play a key role as an advocate for the community, as a facilitator and partner in collaborative planning and service delivery with other transport infrastructure and service provides, and as a significant provider and regulator of transport-related infrastructure and services.
Transport involves the movement of people (for both personal and business travel) and goods, and the delivery of many services. Newcastle Greens are committed to a fundamental shift in transport for personal travel from reliance on private cars toward more sustainable alternative transport modes, including walking, cycling, and public transport, such as rail, buses and ferries. Business travel and freight transport must also shift to cleaner, more energy efficient modes.
Such a shift would reduce:
- road deaths and injuries;
- the use of non-renewable resources;
- greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions;
- ozone depletion;
- noise pollution;
- social alienation;
- transport disadvantages suffered by people less able to afford private cars; and
- the area of land wasted on roads, carparks and other automobile related activities.
Transport infrastructure and services must be coordinated and integrated. Planning for more sustainable transport must be given high priority and incorporated early in the development process, and transport infrastructure must be integrated into the urban form.
Newcastle Greens will work to:
1.1. Achieve better integration between all public transport modes, in timetabling, fares, location and information.
1.2. Ensure that council plays a more active role in planning Newcastle’s transport system, and in decisions about transport infrastructure and service delivery.
1.3. Advocate for a Hunter regional transport authority.
1.4. Ensure that land use policies and plans encourage the establishment of employment-generating developments along major public transport routes.
1.5. Oppose any attempt to privatise local public transport services (such as buses or ferries) in the Newcastle area.
2.1. Ensure that council spending on footpath construction and maintenance is maintained or increased relative to total budget expenditure.
2.2. Promote the health and environmental benefits of walking.
2.3. Recognise that there is a pedestrian component to every use of public transport, and ensure that this component is as direct, safe and convenient as practicable (e.g., reducing wait times for pedestrians at light controlled intersections).
2.4. Review and identify locations where the phasing of traffic lights presents a problem or disincentive for walking, and modify these to give appropriate priority to the needs of pedestrians.
2.5. Advocate measures that help reduce waiting time for public transport.
2.6. Ensure that new residential, commercial and industrial developments provide infrastructure and an urban form that encourages and facilitates a high level of pedestrian activity.
3.1. Ensure that council spending on cycling infrastructure and facilities is increased relative to both road spending and total budget expenditure, and in accordance with the priorities identified in council’s Cycling Strategy.
3.2. Increase the number of separated cycleways, both off-road and on-road, ensuring that there is a physical barrier where practicable between cyclists and motor vehicles.
3.3. Recognise the difference between recreational shared paths and commuter cycleways, and ensure that these differences are taken into account in the design and operation of these facilities.
3.4. Promote the health and environmental benefits of cycling, and increase the mode share of cycling relative to motorised transport, especially as an alternative to private motor vehicle use.
3.5. Recognise the need to provide end-of-trip facilities for cyclists (e.g., cycle-racks at commercial areas, sporting grounds, etc), and develop programs that encourage relevant target groups to cycle rather than use private motor vehicles for such trips.
3.6. Give appropriate priority to creating and improving cycleways that link with public transport or with key destinations where cycling could provide a viable alternative to private motor vehicle use.
3.7. Increase public awareness of the potential of combined cycling-public transport trips, such as the ability to carry bicycles on public transport.
4.1. Strongly advocate a comprehensive audit and review of bus infrastructure and services in the Newcastle area, aimed at:
4.1.1. identifying what people expect and want from local bus services and how to best deliver this.
4.1.2. identifying and eliminating inefficiencies that lead to buses being a relatively unattractive choice for commuters, and assist the state government in developing and implementing a plan to remedy these deficiencies, especially in areas where council has a direct role (e.g., bus stop location, provision of bus shelters, inter-modal linkages).
4.1.3. examining the adequacy of vehicle mix in the Newcastle bus fleet, options for providing bus priority lanes, more efficient bus-stop design, and improving the amenity and security of bus shelters and seating.
4.1.4. extending the fare-free zone on existing routes, to cover areas such as The Junction and Hamilton.
4.1.5. developing a park-and-ride strategy for buses.
4.1.6. examining the viability of replacing the current system of onboard fare collection and validation with an annual payment for a trial period (e.g., via council rates).
4.2. Address the deficiencies in the planning and operation of bus services in the CBD as a key part of CBD revitalisation.
4.3. Ensure that bus stops provide high amenity, attractive structures that contribute positively to urban form and function, especially in the CBD.
4.4. Ensure that the state government accepts appropriate financial responsibility for providing and maintaining bus shelters and stops throughout the city.
4.5. Ensure that new residential, commercial and industrial developments are planned and constructed in a way that facilitates effective and efficient provision and use of bus services.
5.1. Increase the frequency of ferry services, particularly during peak periods.
5.2. Examine the viability of providing ferry services to Honeysuckle and Wickham in conjunction with existing trips to those areas for shift changes.
5.3. Improve park and ride facilities near the Stockton ferry berth, including the possible co-location of small scale commercial development (such as a kiosk) that supports park and ride.
- Rail (General):
6.1. Collaborate with the state government to:
6.1.1. identify and improve key areas and points on the local rail network in need of landscaping and visual enhancement.
6.1.2. improve signalling and address delays at railway level crossings.
6.1.3. identify suitable locations along local rail corridors for higher density development.
6.2. Advocate for more rail crossings at key locations, particularly in the CBD, including:
6.2.1. replacing previous level crossings between Wickham and Newcastle stations
6.2.2. examining options for grade-separated crossings, such as high quality over-bridges or underpasses, or full or half-lowering of the rail corridor, at other locations.
6.2.3. examining opportunities for relocating level crossings as any current at-grade crossings are converted to grade-separated crossings.
6.3. Examine opportunities for rail crossings in conjunction with built development adjacent to the rail line.
- Passenger Rail:
7.1. Ensure that pedestrian and cycle paths linked to rail stations provide direct, safe and convenient access to and from these points.
7.2. Assist in providing adequate park and ride facilities at appropriate suburban stations outside the CBD, including the co-location of facilities that attract people to use public transport (such as kiosks, valet services, child-care, etc).
7.3. Investigate opportunities for railway stations to include a range of services, creating activity centres that increase the convenience and attractiveness of rail travel.
7.4. Support improved disability access at Broadmeadow station (e.g., elevator or inclinator) without closing the pedestrian underpass.
7.5. Work with the community and RailCorp to identify community expectations for the replacement of aging intercity rolling stock (e.g., V-sets), and any planned replacement strategy in the light of that work.
7.6. Advocate for additional Newcastle-Sydney CBD services via the North Shore Line, eliminating the need to interchange at Central.
7.7. Advocate for an increase in Hunter-based passenger rolling-stock to:
7.7.1. increase services between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley
7.7.2. allow for direct services between the Central Coast/south-west Lake Macquarie to Warabrook and beyond, without the need to interchange at Hamilton
7.7.3. provide the opportunity for more local feeder-services and extending these to Wyong
7.7.4. allow for new direct inter-regional services, e.g., Tamworth – Newcastle.
7.8. Support the Glendale transport interchange, including the associated Glendale railway station and roadworks
7.9. Investigate options for expanding Newcastle’s passenger rail network in the CBD and elsewhere, including consideration of options such as light rail, ultra-light rail, PRT, etc.
- Freight Rail:
8.1. Support a suitably located western rail by-pass, in conjunction with locating an appropriate site for a future inter-modal freight facility.
8.2. Promote the development of appropriate commercial/industrial clusters around the future inter-modal freight facility to improve the mode share of rail freight relative to road freight.
8.3. Support the development of a Mayfield port-side rail line.
8.4. Advocate for coal trains to be covered, to minimise dust exposure to residents and to reduce fuel consumption and pollution by reducing aerodynamic drag.
9.1. Ensure that council’s road network is maintained at a level that provides for the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
9.2. Ensure that the design and construction of streets in new release areas facilitate safe and convenient cycling and pedestrian activity, and future public transport use, and do not perpetuate car dependency and transport inequity.
9.3. Continue to implement local area traffic management schemes and other initiatives that promote traffic calming and make our urban spaces more liveable and community-oriented.
9.4. Encourage and facilitate the use of formal road closures for neighbourhood street parties and events, to help build a sense of community.
9.5. Develop a strategy for implementing high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Newcastle.
10.1. Develop a program for providing recharge stations for electric vehicles at relevant parking sites reserved for such vehicles.
10.2. Oppose the introduction of paid parking that is primarily for revenue-raising, or where there is insufficient evidence that it would provide a significant economic, social or environmental benefit to the community.
10.3. Investigate the feasibility of providing parking payment discounts or waivers that reward more fuel efficient car use, such as smaller cars, hybrids and renewable-fuel vehicles, car-share schemes, and multiple-occupancy car use.
10.4. Promote workplace travel schemes that include car-pooling, and support and incentives for employees who use more sustainable transport modes.
10.5. Explore ways of providing parking concessions for developments that incorporate initiatives that save car-parking space (e.g., the shared car scheme developed for the Avaria Apartments).