There has been some discussion lately about the future of the Peninsula with mayor Cr Jane Smith and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce president Mr Matthew Wales talking about the need for a renewed urban design.
This may be so, but what is the chamber’s real vision? The Peninsula needs an urban design that benefits the whole community and would include low-rise, mixed-use buildings with active street frontages, more trees and open spaces that will create a better urban amenity than currently exists. It doesn’t need more traffic lights and more layers of car parking. One of the main points of a coherent urban design is the transport system. The Member for Gosford, Ms Liesl Tesch, is on the right track in relation to transport (Peninsula News, January 29), although what is required is future thought on transport and living spaces around the Peninsula that reflects projected climate change, sea level rise and technology.
The Peninsula needs a complete solution involving vertically integrated public transport for residents, commuters, school children and the elderly, not one-off projects. One possibility is the implementation of a light rail. Research by a Canberra university has shown utilisation of rapid transit can be successful in urban and regional areas of lower density and can be city-shaping, transforming communities when combined with long-term strategic urban planning.
A trackless light rail such as the ART in China could deliver considerable financial, social and environmental benefits to the area. This includes a flow-on effect to diversifying the economy, improving livability for the community and sustaining the environment by reducing traffic congestion and transport disadvantage, and increasing value capture and health via more walkable suburbs that are connected across the Peninsula.
Smart cities provide active transport, reliable sustainable public transport and urban design that responds to population growth but enhances the livability of locations. The money suggested to be spent on any major car parking project should be utilised in establishing a transport-orientated design project that services the whole of the Peninsula, looking at reducing traffic volumes rather than old engineering paradigms of more cars, more spaces to park them in and more traffic lights.
Email, 7 Feb 2018 Mark Ellis, Woy Woy