The NSW Government Architect has a vision for the northern precinct of Gosford that connects the redeveloped hospital to the CBD, remodels the Gosford Train Station and sees the area evolve into an attractive innovation precinct.
The ‘City North’ area is examined in the Government Architect’s second place based report on the revitalisation of Gosford. It incorporates the expanded Gosford Hospital, the schools west of the station, and the station precinct, including the railway line crossing (currently the train station concourse), and the eastern side of the station to Mann St via Burns Park. Although positive about its potential, the Government Architect outlines the challenges that must be overcome to achieve a revitalised northern precinct. “The rail corridor forms a significant barrier through the city, restricting physical, economic and social connections between places on either side of the railway line. “The station lacks the quality and amenity expected of a regional capital and a significant transport interchange.
“The hospital is an inward-focused facility which does not connect well with its surrounding public domain or the city. “It is separated from Mann St and the civic heart by the railway corridor and steep topography. “The poor public domain contributes to a lack of connectivity between health and education facilities and the civic heart of the city. “The streets have a lack of trees and active street frontages and no public spaces. “Walkability is typically poor.” However, according to the report, “with improved connections, the city north is an area of great opportunity. “By connecting the hospital to a re-imagined rail corridor and main street, its potential is expanded to start a new generation of innovation, allied health and education in the northern end of Gosford,” the report said.
“A hospital development of this scale will promote the growth of allied health services that support the hospital, such as fitness and rehabilitation facilities, scanning services, medical consultation rooms and accommodation for key hospital staff and doctors. “Connecting the hospital back into the city is key to enable Gosford to build on this investment and promote co-location of a range of associated uses to revitalise the area.” The Government Architect has recommended consideration of an expansion of TAFE or a university presence in the northern precinct.
The first strategy for connecting the hospital to the CBD is through improved pedestrian links, in advance of longer-term options for new connections across the railway line.
The existing connection at Etna St needs to be improved to prioritise pedestrian, cyclist and emergency vehicles, and reduce traffic on sections of Racecourse Rd. Another possibility is to investigate options for a new pedestrian crossing from the hospital to Beane St in the east, and an additional crossing at Erina St linked to the extension of the platforms and a potential new station entry point.
The report calls for an investigation of options for a pedestrian and active transport bridge from the main concourse of the Hospital, at Holden St, over the new hospital carpark and railway corridor to Mann St. “The link could align with the street grid at Beane St. “This is roughly halfway between Etna Bridge and the station, and could possibly form part of the development of a mixed-use transport interchange.
“Consider landing the bridge in an improved public domain and improved Mann St. “Mann St is to become a strong green spine through the city, connecting the distinct areas along its length.” The report identifies Gosford Station as an important transport interchange for the Central Coast. “There are station upgrades planned for the new intercity train fleet due in 2019, including platform extensions and improved wayfinding.
“The interchange, station and rail corridor will require further investment and upgrades to improve access and connectivity through the city, and between the station, buses, and commuter parking. “The concourse should consider water views, whilst any other opportunities to view President’s Hill from the station and its surrounds should be explored. “Any redesign of Gosford Railway Station should encourage direct access to platforms to release capacity on the concourse, and consider a southern rail platform entry/ exit with the required platform extensions for the InterCity Fleet trains.
“With the station platform extensions proposed to be towards the south, this provides an opportunity to consider a southern platform entry and exit aligned with Erina St East. “This could be a new rail crossing that links the State Commuter Parking station and Mann St, encouraging commuters to have easy access to the station, and the commercial, retail and food and beverage options on Mann St. “Consider whether some pedestrianisation of Erina St East, between Mann St and the rail corridor, could create a new public domain for pedestrians to land into, activated with commercial opportunities,” the report said.
The Government Architect believes the area can support the growth of a range of housing types suited to an increase in the population generally, and more specifically, to the health sector workforce. “The potential growth of student housing, as well as new models of aged living, can bring a diverse population to the city north area,” the report said. Pedestrian amenity along Showground Rd, Etna St and Faunce St needs to be improved to connect the schools and hospitals into the station and centre of Gosford. Parking options in the Showground and nearby sites, with shuttle bus access to the hospital and station, should be considered, to help reduce traffic congestion.
“Consider an active transport loop that could connect Mann St, Showground Rd, Etna Bridge and the Station (at either entry). “Consider the potential of this loop (approx 1.25km) to make a pedestrian-focused core for the City North for the students, hospital workers, commuters and wider community.” A public open space needs to be provided for the city north area according to the Government Architect. The Government Architect has called for a “careful redesign of Burns Park, the Gateway Centre site, and any future station redesign” to create a glimpsed view of Rumbalara Reserve from the station.
An upgraded Burns Park should function as the civic entrance to the city for people arriving by train, according to the Government Architect. The report said any possible future redesign of the Gateway Centre should be subject to design excellence processes as it is a strategically important site and gateway to the city centre. “In the short term, consider removing the bridge over Mann St to encourage street-level footfall,” the report suggested. Another option explored is the potential for public open space to be created on some of the government-owned lands at the junction of Mann St and Beane St. “Provision of this space could activate Mann St, be connected to the hospital, and delivered in conjunction with a new development of this land.”
Source: Gosford UDIF Place Report 2: City North Government Architect of NSW