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Economic blueprint for Central Coast infrastructure released

09 April, 2008

NSW Business Chamber Central Coast in partnership with 10,000 Friends of Greater Sydney has released a blueprint on the long-term future of the Central Coast.

The blueprint, entitled “Towards a Sustainable NSW Central Coast Region”, outlines the opportunities and challenges facing the Central Coast over the next 40 years.

“The message to Government is simple – we need urgent action on transport and congestion before its strangles our region”, said Mary Doherty, Regional Manager for NSW Business Chamber.

“Long term investment in road and public transport will unleash significant economic opportunity for the region.

The key to the strategy is the development of three distinct Central Coast precincts:

  1. Coastal tourism and residential precinct;

  2. Central industrial, employment and residential precinct;

  3. Western agricultural, resources and rural residential precinct.

The strategy identifies:

  • 82% of workers from the region choosing to travel to work by car

  • Less than 10% travel by train and only 1.5% travel by bus.

  • Train travel has declined by 15% since 2001.

  • That between 2001 and 2006, households in the Central Coast with three cars jumped a staggering 26% and car ownership is now outgrowing population growth.

The strategy highlights six key infrastructure issues that are constraining the Central Coast region:

  • Ineffective public transport: access to work, education, health facilities and retail areas is difficult.

  • Constrained regional road network: roads are congested with slower peak journeys increasing pollution and business costs.

  • Inadequate fast access to Sydney and Newcastle CBD’s: longer travel times than a generation ago.

  • Lack of Integration: inadequate parking to support public transport journeys and poor integration between bus and train routes.

  • Inadequate funding: development constrained by lack of infrastructure.

  • Lack of leadership: poor co-ordination by key government agencies.

NSW Business Chamber Central Coast and 10,000 Friends of Greater Sydney have developed an action plan of six strategies to confront the infrastructure and economic issues facing the Central Coast over the next 25 years. 

Highlights of the strategies include:

Strategy A: Integrate Land Use and Transport Planning

  • Car park and drop off facilities to car pool at F3 interchanges

  • Express bus service links between centres

  • Relocate State Government regional agencies to Gosford and Warnervale centres.

Strategy B: Foster Economic Growth of Region

  • Grow and enhance Gosford health precinct

  • Provide a self-contained University with region.

  • Develop Warnervale as the regional airport

Strategy C: Reverse the Growth of Car Travel with Improved Public Transport

  • Introduce transit lanes on all dual arterial roads for buses, taxis and cars with two or more people.

  • Introduce car-parking charges at centres to fund a “Green Fund” to enhance public transport improvements.

Strategy D: Encourage Active Transport

  • Continue to build walkways and cycleways to link centres.

Strategy E: Improve Intra-Regional Connectivity

  • Review the road classification system to ensure each level of government has appropriate funding responsibility.

  • Upgrade arterial roads.

  • Develop high frequency bus or rail links between key centres.

Strategy F: Improve Inter-Regional Connectivity

  • Investigate new east-west links from F3 to region.

  • Replace car ferries with new bridge over Hawkesbury River.

  • Develop very high-speed train to link region to Sydney network.

  • Develop alternative road route to F3 between Central Coast and Sydney.

“This strategy is a wake up call for the future planning and development of our regional economy,” said Doherty.

“If we continue on our current course of under investment in infrastructure we will end up in a traffic nightmare that will be very hard to awake from.”

“Sydney is not the only region to be facing traffic congestion issues, the problem exists in the Central Coast and it is very real. We need to act now to ensure that the Central Coast has the opportunity to grow and develop and not be restrained by traffic gridlock.

"It’s very worrying to think that one day there could be more cars on the central coast then people. Over 80% of Central Coast residents driving to work is a shocking statistic and shows that our public transport isn’t up to scratch. We need to reverse this trend and take pressure off our roads.

“Considering the rising costs of petrol and the impact of climate change, an integrated and fast moving public transport system makes sense.

“While the shift in focus to public transport is very important for our transport future, we can’t ignore investment in our road network. Roads will continue to play a very important role as links between town centres and to Sydney and Newcastle.

“The strategy we have announced is a comprehensive plan to build on and dramatically improve our existing infrastructure.

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