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Author Topic: Article: High-density key to city living  (Read 4063 times)

colinw

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Article: High-density key to city living
« on: November 01, 2010, 03:00:32 PM »
The Mercury: Article: High-density key to city living -> click here.

Includes a mention of light rail.

Quote
High-density key to city living

HELEN KEMPTON   |   October 31, 2010 12.01am


FROM the top of Amy St in Glenorchy, you can see green spaces where new types of housing could be slotted in within easy access to the services the city offers.

Not your standard three-bedroom house on a quarter-acre block with a Hills Hoist out the back, but a new type of high-density in-fill housing which planners say Hobart needs to avert a land and infrastructure crisis in 20 years.

The urban transport corridor between Hobart and Glenorchy is one of the residential gaps which has been earmarked for development under a new land-use blueprint for Southern Tasmania.

Other gaps around Kingston's shopping precinct, around the golf course at Rosny Park and along both sides of the old main road between Hobart and its northern suburbs out as far as Claremont are also being targeted for high-density housing and commercial development.

In total, the draft Southern Tasmanian Regional land Use Strategy says 6000 new in-fill dwellings are needed before Hobart's urban sprawl can be allowed to continue.

Rather than spreading out, Hobart's housing stock needs to go up, onto smaller plots of land, become more creative and concentrate around transport routes, existing shopping areas and employment hubs, the strategy says.

The strategy has been drafted in the face of predictions that an extra 4000ha of land will be needed for housing in Greater Hobart within 20 years if a radically-different approach is not adopted.

The strategy is all about creating a less-dispersed and less car-dependant city with 25 dwellings per hectare in inner urban areas.

The current housing pattern, outside of the Hobart CBD, is seven to 10 dwellings per hectare and the trend is driving up the cost of providing water and sewerage to fewer people across a wider area.

Joint managers of the land-use project Emma Riley and Damian Mackey said 25 dwellings per hectare was not high density by mainland standards.

The pair said a few areas around West Hobart and North Hobart were already at that density and were very people-friendly places to live.

"We are not talking all high-rise developments but smaller houses, townhouses, flats and units on smaller lots and low-rise development," Ms Riley said.

Development will be discouraged in rural and urban-fringe greenfield sites under the blueprint.

A moratorium on the zoning of residential rural land is proposed while the plan is implemented.

However, Mr Mackey said some orderly suburban growth would be encouraged around Kingston, through the Tranmere-Rokeby corridor and in the Brighton-Bridgewater areas.

"Not everyone will want to live in inner areas so the planning system will still allow for an orderly spread of housing further away from the CBD," Mr Mackey said.

"But we need to promote increased density in the four major activity centres of Hobart, Glenorchy, Rosny and Kingston and make it easier and cheaper for developers to invest in high-density inner-city housing rather than the fringes."

Ms Riley said the biggest implementation tool the strategy could use was pricing. She said investors needed to be offered economic incentives to create high-density developments and planning hurdles needed to be reduced.

"If we build housing around existing infrastructure, services and employment hubs we can promote a city where people cycle or walk to work or support the public transport system, including the concept of a light rail system in Hobart," she said.

Ms Riley said that once an urban area reached a certain size, it was possible to generate an agglomeration economy - where the activities generate the need for other activities and bigger and better commercial and public transport services.

"In other words you have the critical mass needed to promote growth in both housing, jobs and commercial developments," she said.

The ultimate aim is for Kingston to grow to be as big as Glenorchy and be a self-sufficient hub for business activity rather than a commuter suburb.

Mr Mackey said the land-use strategy was all about trying to prepare the city for the future.

"Sooner or later the era of cheap petrol will be over and I think already, people are moving away from the concept of a big house on a big block," he said.

Tasmania's ageing population also needs to be taken into account as well as the implications of the Federal Government's push towards regional migration in a bid to slow growth in Sydney and Melbourne.

Glenorchy Mayor Adriana Taylor said the new plan, the first to look at Greater Hobart's developmental future in 30 years, was timely and important.

But she said it would only work if all of the 12 councils involved stuck to the strategy - if it is adopted - when making planning decisions.

"We don't want to take up all the green space with housing," Ald. Taylor said.

"But it makes no sense to keep spreading further and further out when we currently do not have enough density to make services and infrastructure affordable.

"We will be looking at building up or moving towards smaller blocks and redevelopment on existing blocks, particularly on the public transport route."

Currently the Southern Tasmanian region has 246,162 residents but this figure is due to balloon out to 327,036 in 2035.

In 2008 there were 102,700 dwellings in the region and this number is expected to go out to 385,000 by 2035.

The draft land-use strategy said homeowners were starting to see that the disadvantages of living on the urban fringe could outweigh the benefits in terms of services and infrastructure.

This notion is supported by an increase in resales of outer urban and rural dwellings compared with inner-city residential properties.

The report said in-filling rather than sprawling would see services built and maintained where they were needed.

The draft Southern Tasmanian Regional Land Use Strategy is open for public comment until the end of November. When it is finalised it will be declared a statutory instruction which will formally guide development.

Offline Stillwater

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 03:41:31 PM »

With construction of a freight transit centre, now underway, at Brighton, in the Hobart northern suburbs, this will become the southern focus of Tasmania's rail sector.  This frees up the track from Bridgewater to the Hobart waterfront for a reintroduction of passenger (heavy/light) rail.  Station platforms are still in place.  It's not a bad alignment either (from the perspective of attracting walk-up and park-and-ride patronage).  Parts of the rail reserve have been converted to a very popular bikeway, from Glenorchy to the city.

colinw

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 04:15:08 PM »
Where was Hobart station by the way?  I've had a look in Google maps, but can't identify where it would have been.  I presume a spur extending off the current yard?

Offline #Metro

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2010, 04:24:57 PM »
This looks like another application of Diesel LRT along previous rail alignment. The tracks are already there.
Some works required, a bus distribution network and diesel LRT services!
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Online ozbob

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2010, 04:27:54 PM »
I think the former Hobart Station site is now the ABC HQ location.  It was near the corner of Liverpool and Park Streets.  I think Park street is sort of built over now.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 04:35:30 PM by ozbob »
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2010, 04:33:24 PM »
http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dier.tas.gov.au%2F__data%2Fassets%2Fpdf_file%2F0008%2F48257%2FRPT001-B-pt_Cost_Estimate_Report.pdf&ei=217OTOiIL4PRcZHwgIkO&usg=AFQjCNFBdQ-HqKk9Y_ftKBJ628vsZjfklA

The Busway Option http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/48260/BRT_costings_pittandsherry.pdf

Quote
DIER has been exploring options to utilise the existing rail corridor between Hobart Port and Granton, to provide timely and efficient commuter transport, servicing the northern suburbs of Hobart.
A light rail system has been considered in detail. DIER now wishes to obtain a strategic level estimate of cost for provision of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), utilising the existing rail corridor.
This report covers the methodology adopted, and the outputs, of a strategic level estimate of cost to provide a BRT servicing the corridor between Hobart Port (Evans Street) and Claremont Shopping Centre.
The LRT Option http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/48257/RPT001-B-pt_Cost_Estimate_Report.pdf
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2010, 04:40:33 PM »
Upfront capital cost only

Busway $115 million
LRT $625 million

IMHO proper lifecycle assessment should be employed as well as any TOD and land use changes as well around the stations.
Some things are cheap up front and then more expensive to operate over time.
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colinw

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2010, 04:42:05 PM »
My "gut feeling" on this one is that Hobart is probably not ready for LRT yet, and a better bus service should be developed, but that rail corridor kept free of competing use.

A quick look in Google maps shows that the rail corridor cuts a nice direct path through the suburbs from Cornelian Bay north, but the southern bit that runs around the waterfront to the port is rather indirect, and terminates rather inconveniently out of town. Some on street running would be necessary to get into the CBD.

I also suspect a $600 million project would probably be a bit of a stretch for the Tasmanian Government.  Federal funding would be a necessity.

Do we have any Tasmanian members who can comment?  I am simply not familiar enough with Hobart or Tasmania to have an informed opinion on the merits of this one.  The comments above are definitely a case of "shooting from the hip" and could be way off the mark.

Online ozbob

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2010, 05:10:48 PM »


The area to the left is where the Hobart railway station was.  The area to the right present rail yards but was more extensive when the station was operating.
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2010, 05:14:43 PM »
IMHO I think the idea of Brisbane style busways is not the best idea.
The busways work initially very well, but as patronage grows, labour costs, bus acquisition costs, fuel costs etc begin to spiral.
If you are going to do line haul work, it is probably better off as rail- light or heavy because you can expand that capacity easily
while keeping acceptable frequencies.

There is a danger in comparing costs of LRT vs Busway in the sense that the BRT option might need to include the cost of conversion
to LRT and costs for that conversion if it is likely to be required within the lifecycle of the project (typically 20-30 years). Most often I suspect,
the costs of upgrading and converting are simply not mentioned or looked at. Not only costs either- but the ease of conversion when the thing
is so busy with buses every few seconds should be taken into full consideration.

Hobart is a surprisingly walkable city. It has wide roads too.
In many parts it is very hilly, so electric buses are also an option.
Hobart also used to have trams. The CBD isn't very big, and I doubt busy either.

IMHO I'm erring on the side of BRT as the solution, however without the construction of busways in the rail alignment.
One idea would be to simply take lanes from the Brooker Highway/Ave for exclusive bus lanes/T3 and run frequent bus services that way.
Traffic lights/intersections or overpasses/bus bays could be constructed to allow passengers to cross the road safely.

This is likely to be cheaper than all the options considered and will buy time.
This is actually what I have noticed is happening in Canberra- there are bus lanes being retro-fitted to most major highways/arterials.

The rail alignment should be used for rail and built as the bus on highway option begins to approach capacity.

Don't re-invent the wheel twice!
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 05:16:25 PM by tramtrain »
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Article: High-density key to city living
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2010, 05:34:25 PM »
PS: Hobart has the most shocking bus system I have ever used! They need something like BUZ to simplify what is going on and grow patronage.
Ridership is about 10 million per year.

A good peer city to compare against would be Wellington, NZ (and Canberra, Aus.)
Hobart's topography and climate are strikingly similar to Wellington, and they are both small capital cities.
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