What is the purpose of a Transport Management Plan?

    Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement aims to focus growth in the City’s economic centres to allow more people to live closer to the services and facilities they need. Transport Management Plans are the primary tool to plan for the future transport needs of each of the City’s nine economic centres.  

    Transport Management Plans will identify improvements in economic centres for a range of transport modes such as walking and cycling, ride-share and public transport to support more people in these locations. Car parking also plays an important role in supporting the movement of people and goods to and between each centre.

    The Transport Management Plans will work together with our other strategic plans to support growth and change in a way that meets the desired vision for each centre.

    How will this make it easier for me to find a parking space?

    The Transport Management Plans will consider how technology can be used to improve the convenience of parking. For example:

    • Apps that direct people to available parking spaces and notify them when their time limit is approaching.  
    • Sensors and number-plate recognition to assist enforcement of time limits, preventing over-stays and increasing turn-over of spaces. 

    Making improvements so that streets and paths are safe and enticing has also been shown to encourage more people to walk and cycle, reducing demand on parking resources. 

    What about building more car parking?

    Car parking is very expensive and takes up large amounts of land that could otherwise be used for housing, businesses, public spaces and other productive uses.  

    Previous estimates to design and construct a multi-deck car park at the existing Tallara Street car park in Charlestown were around $35,000 for each additional space. To double the capacity of the existing car park to 592 spaces would cost at least $10 million (and result in significant disruption to parking during construction).  

    By first implementing car parking management and technology measures we can make better use of existing resources and monitor parking demand. This data can be used to support a business case to build more car parking where and when it is actually needed.

    How will this make it easier for me to walk around Charlestown?

    Several new pedestrian crossings and priority locations for the construction of footpaths are identified in the plan. Council will also apply to Transport for NSW to extend the current High Pedestrian Activity Area to provide safer environments with areas of high pedestrian movements – particularly around Smith Street.

    How will this make it easier for me to cycle to Charlestown?

    Key cycling routes, focusing on north-east and south-east connections to the Fernleigh Track via Kahibah and Whitebridge are identified in the Plan.  Feasibility testing of these routes is proposed prior to detailed design being undertaken.  Other potential cycle routes are shown for longer-term investigation.  A cycling connection from Whitebridge to Dudley is outside the scope of this plan but may be considered in the future.

    How can public transport at Charlestown be improved?

    While it is the responsibility of the State Government and private operators to provide bus services and identify the locations for bus stops, Council plays a role in improving bus stop infrastructure and pedestrian access to bus stops.

    The Pearson Street bus stops are the busiest in Lake Macquarie, accounting for around 20% of all Opal tap-ons. As the Charlestown bus trip catchment is broad, Council is focusing on improving access for people living with disability at stops around the City.

    The installation of digital e-ink displays at the Pearson Street north bus stops are also proposed to provide real-time information about bus routes and arrival times.  Opportunities for an off-street bus interchange to facilitate more seamless connections between bus routes, provide better amenity for passengers, as well as layover space for buses and facilities for drivers will also be investigated.

    How much car parking is available in Charlestown?


    Spaces available

    Time Restrictions

    Cost

    Tallara Street

    296

    No

    Nil

    Smith Street

    90

    2 hours

    Nil

    Charlestown Square

    3400

    (700 for staff)

    No

    First 3 hours free

    $6 - $30

    Staff $4 per day

    Hilltop Plaza

    239

    No

    First 90 minutes free

    $7 per day

    On-street parking

    Between and including Milson Street in the east and Griffiths Street in the west and between Ida Street in the north and Charles Street in the south.

    600

    Mix of timed and untimed

    Nil


    Peak use of Council’s Tallara and Smith Street car parks is generally during business hours on weekdays. Whereas peak use of Charlestown Square car parks occurs on weekends.  This means that on most weekdays, while parking availability in Council car parks and in streets close to Charlestown can be harder to find, hundreds of empty car spaces are available at Charlestown Square.  As part of the Charlestown Transport Management Plan, Council will be discussing opportunities for some of the under-utilised car parking within Charlestown Square to be made more economical for those requiring all-day parking.

    What will happen with money previously collected from developers for car parking?

    Funds collected for parking in Charlestown under the Lake Macquarie Commercial Centres development contributions plan are recommended to be spent on measures to improve the turnover, availability and convenience of existing public car parking within the centre.  This includes line-marking of on-street parking bays, and introducing electronic signage and parking sensors.  

    Previous estimates to design and construct a multi-deck car park at the existing Tallara Street car park were around $35,000 for each additional space. To double the capacity of the existing car park to 592 spaces would cost at least $10 million (and result in significant disruption to parking during construction).  This greatly exceeds the funds that Council holds for the purpose of car parking in Charlestown.

    Does this draft plan propose any paid parking?

    No. Additional time-limited parking is recommended in some locations as well as using technology, potentially supplemented by surveys, to monitor parking occupancy rates over a period of time.

    If parking occupancy rates during peak times are found to consistently exceed the target of 85%, (as adopted in the Lake Mac Parking Strategy), then Council may consider the introduction of paid parking.  The elected Council would need to consider and endorse any paid parking.

    What will Council do about parked cars in residential streets impacting local residents?

    In streets near each centre commonly used for long-stay parking, line marking may be used to help prevent cars parking across driveways, parking too close to intersections etc.  Council rangers will continue to respond to complaints as necessary.

    Any issues of illegal parking can be raised through Councils customer service centre by calling 4921 0333 or emailing council@lakemac.nsw.gov.au.

    How will further development in Charlestown affect current parking availability?

    It is important to support local residents who would like to walk and cycle to nearby services and facilities to be able to do this easily, safely and comfortably. Supporting these modes of transport will go some way towards reducing congestion and demand for parking in economic centres.

    Additionally, all new development must provide off-street parking based on Council’s Development Control Plan.  This includes accessible parking, motorcycle parking, bicycle parking and car parking.  The controls are designed to minimise impacts on residents and visitors to the area by ensuring:

    1. The provision of parking does not result in a substandard urban outcome. 
    2. The number of car parking spaces is sufficient to support the intended use. 
    3. The number of car parking spaces does not discourage the use of public transport or other modes of transport. 
    4. The provision of car parking results in an efficient use of land within our centres. 
    5. Impacts on the streetscape are minimised. 
    6. Impacts of traffic generation on street function and other modes of transport are minimised. 
    7. Pedestrian safety and amenity is maximised.

    Is Council currently preparing a draft Walking, Cycling and Better Streets Strategy?

    This is correct, Council is currently preparing this draft Strategy. The draft Strategy will aim to help guide Council in prioritising new walking and cycling infrastructure and determining what needs to be delivered at a high level. 

    Transport Management Plans will assist in delivering specific actions from the draft Strategy.