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|Initiative Title:||Transportation and Access|
Future of Manly Hospital Site – Transportation & Access
Transportation and access to and around Manly per se has always been a problem. According to Northern Beaches Council “cars are killing us”. Poor transportation and access to the Manly Hospital site was one of the key reasons for its failure to be selected as the site for the new level 5 Hospital. This same issue remains true today. Future use of the Manly Hospital site as a Health Care facility will have its own transportation and access challenges as well as creating opportunities for addressing this issue at the site and in introducing improvements applicable across the broader Northern Beaches (NB). So what has changed? Three main things – the future purposeful use of the site, global transportation solutions and technology.
With the growth in the residential population of Manly (tourism and popularity as a first class destination), the transportation, access and parking problems are generally only going to get worse. So more of the same is unlikely to be the right solution for the site. Based upon the experiences of other countries and cities with a similar problem, the solution appears to lie in no longer catering for car transportation. One of the few established solution is our current free “Hop, Skip & Jump” bus network and how this is supported by our local community. This has been very successful and popular with the local community, so more along these lines is worth exploring.
What we do about transportation to and from our proposed Manly Hospital site for a Health Care Facility, will not in itself solve the NB transportation problem. However, this are opportunities for not adding to the problem by considering innovative ideas to make a positive contribution towards a series of solutions which hopefully can be repeated elsewhere across the peninsula. With more than half our households having more than 2 motor vehicles and 60% using their cars to get to work, converting car users into public transport users must be a major consideration in how we improve our public transport and being able to safely walk to such facilities.
Take the example of New Zealand’s largest city Auckland. Auckland’s CBD had just 1,800 people living there in 1991. Three years ago it had grown to 29,000 and today it has risen to 47,000 people. Through greater investment in public transport, this has made an incredible improvement to CBD access. Rather than a city congested with cars, it is now transformed into a “city of people”. To accommodate an expanding village like Manly, the key will be “pedestrianisation”, cutting back on car access and restricting parking. In Auckland improving the urban realm of the CBD was funded by an extra Council tax paid by business within the CBD region because they recognised the business benefits arising from increased visitors and local people facilitated by the improved pedestrian access to their stores and premises. The Council tax (Targeted Rate) raised $A21.4 million a year for 10 years, which was on top of normal rates. These business are now benefiting from increased traffic of more people being able to access a more people-friendly CBD. The number of people walking around the CBD has increased 32% over the past 3 years, according to Mr. Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland City’s head of design.
Manly has great public access for visitors from our public/private ferry services and our rapid public bus transportation (B-Line), which would need further improvement with the likes of more free local “hop-skip and jump bus” services and increased bicycle lanes. What is needed is greater pedestrianisation of our roads and street parking within our village centre to accommodate greater numbers of people walking around within the Manly centre and large-scale away parking hub(s) with regular fast link public bus services in and out. Just like Council has already done with the transformation of our Corso and the Sydney Road market lane. As far as the future Manly Hospital site is concerned, reduced car traffic access and parking can be radically improved by public/private transport (like accommodating wheel chair access and aids for the transportation of our elderly, etc.) is the way forward. Other radical thinking, like an on-site heliport, ferry access into Little Collins Beach (Jump Rock) and funicular transport (like the Blue Mountains Scenic Railway service) up to the Manly Hospital site are all open for discussion – anything to reduce car transportation access and their need for car parking space. This would all take pressure of the issue of residential access to and from North Head.
Massive advancements in technology for transportation and access has opened the way for significantly reducing the amount of road traffic to the site. In fact the ideal is to have virtually a car-free site environment, with minimal parking space available only for essential utility access services, not residents, regular site workers nor visitors.
Simple aspects of “Access Security” need to be considered for when the Manly Hospital Site is closed and vacated, together with many other related such issues.
|Contact Name:||Darryl Dobe|
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