PPT Conference Reports  - 2003:    "Missed Opportunities - New Possibilities"

These reports are excerpted from the journal
TRANSIT AUSTRALIA - February 2004, Vol. 59, No. 2 , pp 41-43
We wish to thank the publishers for their kind permission to reprint these items.

2. Transit-Oriented Development

Alan Perkins talked about the benefits of making railway stations centres for the community, with commercial and medium density housing clustered around the stations. He stressed the importance of urban design and security at stations.

When Adelaide's major centres are plotted on a metrosize map, he noted that the city centre, the five designated regional centres, some other significant centres, and some of the major industrial areas are located adjacent to the spinal fixed rail system or dedicated public transport corridors. In addition, the corridors pass through many residential areas. This is clearly a positive for Adelaide that can and should be exploited in future planning. However, on closer examination, the actual relationships between major centres and the stations on these lines are much less ideal. He attributed this to the fact that for 50 years development has 'turned its back' on public transport in favour of serving private car travel which accounts for a staggering 81 % of all metropolitan person trips (averaged over the whole week).

He quoted details of this 'desertion' of the rail corridors:

•  "There are more people living within 5km of the site we have chosen than within 5km of the site that is much better served by public transport -it happened at Marion (the worst case);

•  If we insist that the developer places a higher priority on public transport access then they will simply say that they will take their money to another State" (it happened at Elizabeth);

•  "Land is always cheaper further away from the old station that has developments already established around it" (it happened at Salisbury);

•  "We can't get the developer to place the centre at the station because they want exposure to a main road, not a railway station" (it happened at Munno Para);

•  "Developers want some population close by from the beginning - hence the centre will be located close to where the people are, not at a railway station" (it happened at Mawson Lakes);

•  "The only reason public transport users come into our centre is so they can use the toilets" (it happened at Tea Tree Plaza - O-Bahn station);

•  In Port Adelaide, the opposite happened - the railway went through the middle of the centre in its heyday but was rerouted away from the centre in 1917 [1916] because the steam trains caused problems in St Vincent Street. In Semaphore, the train down the main street was removed [1978];

•  And the worst of all -Adelaide Station was supposed to be on the corner of King William Road and North Terrace until someone decided to put Parliament House there.

These days the term 'Integrated Land Use and Transport' is widely used in the planning fraternity. What we are actually talking about is reintegrating land use and public transport. Perkins went on to explain what constitutes Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) and what opportunities existed for TOD 10 years ago, and what opportunities exist now. There have been some changes in the 'policy environment' since then. One is the commitment in the draft SA Transport Plan to a public transport patronage 'target'- increase the use of public transport to 10% of passenger travel by 2018. It is currently at 4.6% of weekday trips (3.9% on the seven day weighted average). The other significant one has been the introduction of the urban growth boundary.

There are still some significant development opportunities around some stations within the growth boundary. The redevelopment of Adelaide has so far been closely linked to amenity – within the square mile. the eastern suburbs. the coast, along the Torrens Linear Park. Railway lines are riot usually associated with high amenity - however, that is what will be needed. State and Local Government should invest in urban amenity around TODs with good urban design standards, investment in the public realm by quality stations, paving, lighting and landscaping. Possible mechanisms to boost use of stations as TODs include:

•  All station environs with TOD potential to be within a special policy area - overlaying the zoning - that encourages new development to occur, but only in accordance with TOD principles;

•  Developer fees be levied to support public transport service provision - some could be directed into TOD development; Car parking levy - if applied to major region al/district centres, could be levied on area of land devoted to car parking, rather than car parking spaces - to encourage more intensive use of land.

Perkins concluded by saying that there is a need to set t ground rules - Local Government and/or developers find the TOD potential. This is a long-term strategy none of the excuses alluded to before should ever be accepted again.

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