Transit key to corridor growth

JULY 2010

Additional heavy and light rail systems may be pivotal in upgrading northern commuter nodes, but according to the city’s peak development body, European-styled transport developments must be built to support transport infrastructure.

The creation of additional public transport systems are intended to offset the city’s trend of ‘two-car families’, but the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) puts the emphasis on transit oriented developments (TODs) to convince the market to embrace public transport.

Gold Coast UDIA vice president Steve Harrison, says more than 800,000 residents will call the Coast home by 2030 and ‘simply introducing commuter infrastructure’ won’t spread that population around.

“Northern hemisphere cities are well-acquainted with TODs, but in Australia – and especially on the Gold Coast - it’s a principle we’re learning about. European cities don’t have the same percentage of two-car families the Gold Coast has,” says Harrison.

“The Gold Coast is a linear city and land restrictions will prevent an urban sprawl. So to cater for this population influx, centralising residents in high quality urban spaces and community hubs in and around TODs is an important outcome.

“Maximising space, improving pedestrian linkages, providing a reliable transport network, and being able to deliver quality and attractive product at an accepted price point, will be major challenges.”

TODs are characterised by mixed-use higher density residential-commercial developments around public transport nodes.

Residential development is within 400-600 metres from a bus or train station, while office and commercial space is also in walking distance.

Recent and planned public transport infrastructure will establish three major north-south commuter corridors on the Gold Coast: the light rail corridor route planned between Helensvale Rail Station and the Coolangatta Airport; the M1 from Tugun to Coomera; and the heavy rail line between Varsity Lakes and Coomera

Accessible public transport will also be required for several brownfield communities due for development under South East Queensland’s Regional Development Plan.

“To achieve this, developers and governments will need to work closely together to make sure planning conditions encourage the community to take up this concept,” says Harrison.

“Council is working with the development community to activate the light rail corridor for TODs, and we look forward to achieving frameworks that are sustainable."

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