Gold Coast. Rapid Transit. Chapter content. Chapter four Route selection and staging

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1 Chapter four Route selection and staging Gold Coast Rapid Transit Chapter four Route selection and staging Chapter content Route selection...73 Section one: Helensvale to Griffith University...74 Section two: Griffith University to Southport...75 Section three: Southport to Broadbeach...80 Project staging

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3 Route selection and staging Chapter four Route selection and staging As discussed in Chapter 1: Introduction, the South East Queensland Infrastructure Plan and Program 2005 defined a proposed route for Stage One and Two of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. Stage One to connect the heavy rail line at Helensvale (or a new heavy rail station to be built at Parkwood) to Broadbeach. Stage Two was the proposed extension from Broadbeach to Coolangatta. To assist with planning the Gold Coast Rapid Transit route was broken down into 5 sections as shown on the right. However there were many different options for how the Gold Coast Rapid Transit could travel between Helensvale and Broadbeach and these options were assessed and compared in order to establish the preferred route for Satge one of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system. What planning has taken place? At this stage, high level concept planning has been undertaken for section one and detailed planning has been undertaken for sections two and three. Planning for sections four and five has so far been limited to desktop studies and transport modelling. Further planning work is expected as the project progresses. The route of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system in Sections 2 and 3 is described in Chapter 5: Route, from page 85. Key Proposed rapid transit corridor Option H1 Helensvale via Harbour Town Option H2 Helensvale via Parkwood Helensvale Harbour Town Parkwood Griffith University Nerang Robina Runaway Bay Bond University Varsity Lakes Section 1 Southport Section 2 Surfers Paradise Broadbeach Miami Tallebudgera Burleigh Heads Elanora Section 3 Section 4 Section 5 Existing heavy rail line Proposed heavy rail line extension (Queensland Rail project) Tugun Coolangatta 73

4 Section one: Helensvale (linking the Gold Coast heavy rail line) to Griffith University Three route options were considered to link the heavy rail line and the site of the new University Hospital at Parklands Drive. Helensvale, or a new rail station at Parkwood, were considered to give the best connectivity to the new Gold Coast Knowledge Precinct at Parklands Drive. See page 82 for why Nerang or Robina were not considered. The options considered were: Option one Parkwood to Griffith University via Smith Street (this would require a new heavy rail station to be constructed at Parkwood) Option two Helensvale to Griffith University via Brisbane Road and Olsen Avenue Option three Helensvale to Griffith University via the Intra Regional Transport Corridor (adjacent to the Pacific Motorway) and Smith Street. As part of the initial planning stage of the project, preliminary designs and cost estimates for all 3 options were prepared. The alignments were based upon the location of the Gold Coast University Hospital, which at that time was intended to be located within Griffith University land on the southern side of Smith Street. The alignments were evaluated against a number of criteria including: transport and traffic integration and impacts engineering issues urban design environmental impacts. In December 2006, a planning focus workshop took place to formally evaluate these options. It was determined that while Option One had the least environmental impacts, it produced poor transport and traffic and urban design outcomes. Additionally, creating an additional station on the Gold Coast to Brisbane Rail Line between Robina and Helensvale, is not favoured by Government. The rail line in the Parkwood area is bounded by the M1 motorway as well as the Smith Street interchange. This presents accessibility problems for pedestrians and bus movements as well as access to a potential park n ride facility. Furthermore, this location is not ideal as a gateway to the Gold Coast for the rapid transit system. The planning focus workshop recommended that Option one, which would involve the construction of a new heavy rail station at Parkwood, not be considered further. Consequently, the 2 remaining options were taken forward to community consultation in March 2007 and were referred to as: Option H1: Helensvale to Griffith University via Harbour Town Option H2: Helensvale to Griffith University via Parkwood See Chapter 5: Gold Coast Rapid Transit Route (page 85) for further detail on the H1 and H2 options. 74

5 Chapter four Route selection and staging Section two: Griffith University to Southport Four options were considered between Griffith University and Southport: Option one: Option two: via Queen Street (west) and Nerang Street (preferred route) via Smith Street, or via Johnston Street and High Street Option three: via Queen Street (east) Option four: alternate route through Queen Street (west) using existing open space and High Street. Option one The project s preferred route alignment connects Loders Creek/existing Gold Coast City Council Depot with the western side of Wardoo Street, then Queen Street and Nerang Street including the existing Gold Coast Hospital. This alignment uses existing road reserve as much as possible and is the shortest and most direct route between the new and existing hospitals. Several sub-options were examined. This included consideration of a route adjacent to Loders Creek but travelling through the existing Equestrian Centre and Owen Park Sports Reserve Land. While this route had advantages in terms of reduced private land and road impacts, the design would need to address the important challenges of flood protection, impacts on sporting facilities and a route that enables a station to be located near the existing hospital site. Overall, this route was not favoured over the preferred route. However, the initial proposal for the preferred route did involve some changes to traffic arrangements on Queen Street (west). See page 105 for more details. Option two During initial planning, northern routes were investigated utilising either Smith Street or Johnston Street. Smith Street was discounted as it is the main traffic route into Southport and experiences heavy volumes of traffic every day. There is also limited residential development around Smith Street leading to low levels of potential patronage. Johnston Street could have connected to Southport via High Street and Nind Street however the steep sections of this street would have presented engineering challenges. There would also have been significant property impacts required in this street. This route would also not be able to service the existing Gold Coast Hospital as well as the western areas of Southport. Option three A potential route following the length of Queen Street to the Gold Coast Highway was also assessed but discounted as it was unable to effectively service the existing Gold Coast Hospital as well as the central business district of Southport. 75

6 Option four The option of crossing Wardoo Street and traversing the existing vacant areas to the north of the Queen Street Cemetery before rejoining Queen Street (west) at Beale Street was also considered. However the impacts of this option were significant and included the need to introduce a new signalised intersection on Wardoo Street which would adversely effect traffic and impact on residential properties in Baratta Street (east). There would also be additional impacts on Southport State School, the Queen Street Cemetery and the Ned Twohill Equestrian Centre. If the existing hospital is relocating why is it important to service this area? Although the existing hospital will be replaced by a new hospital near Griffith University the existing day care facilities and medical precinct will remain. The hospital is also a large site which will be prime for redevelopment in the future. As a result of input from a stakeholder group the project also evaluated an additional route suggestion which involved a cut and cover tunnel from the existing hospital to the Gold Coast Highway via Lawson and Short Streets, activating the existing Scarborough Street interchange as a major transport interchange. While this proposal activates the centre of the Southport central business district, this option is not favoured as it relies on tunnelling which has been discounted for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project (see page 50 for more details) and the use of local streets for bus movements. 76

7 Chapter four Route selection and staging Southport The route options considered for travelling through the central business district of Southport were designed around current and future land use. The 2004 Light Rail Feasibility Study examined 2 core routes through Southport: Option B1: Scarborough Street, Short Street and Marine Parade Option B2: via Nerang Street Mall and Marine Parade adjacent to the Gold Coast Highway. Option B1 was recommended in the 2004 study because it was a more legible route and provides better access to key commercial and retail areas. Option B2 also would have required the realignment of the Gold Coast Highway which was not considered a desirable outcome. This work was used as a reference when the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project began detailed examination of potential routes through Southport in January In particular, the ability of both these options to provide a quality interchange with bus services through the Southport central business district was a key consideration. Another planning focus workshop, consisting of representatives from the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project, TransLink Transit Authority, Queensland Government and Gold Coast City Council, then determined that the 2 core options that should be assessed for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project were: Option S1: Nerang Street Marine Parade Option S2: Nerang Street Scarborough Street Queen Street. Option S1 is similar to the previous option B2, whereas it was agreed that the extension of the corridor southwards along Scarborough Street to Queen Street better met the long term needs of the Southport central business district masterplan. A number of sub-options were then developed for both S1 and S2 to determine the best location for the rapid transit station and also the bus interchange (currently located on Scarborough Street outside Australia Fair). Option S1 sub-options Option S1 (A) would provide a new rapid transit station on Nerang Street (between Davenport and Scarborough Streets) and would maintain the existing bus station on Scarborough Street. There would be full or partial closure of Nerang Street between Davenport Street and the Gold Coast Highway to general traffic, effectively creating a shared pedestrian and rapid transit zone. Access would be maintained for service vehicles to properties along Nerang Street. Car parking in this shared Gold Coast Rapid Transit/ Pedestrian zone in Nerang Street between Davenport Street and Gold Coast Highway would no longer be needed as vehicle access would be restricted through this section. 77

8 Option S1 (B) would see the rapid transit station located in the existing Nerang Street shared zone (between Scarborough Street and the Gold Coast Highway), and as with S1 (A) would maintain the existing bus station on Scarborough Street. General traffic would be restricted from entering the Nerang Street shared zone, creating a shared pedestrian and rapid transit station zone. Regulated car parking on the existing Nerang Street shared zone would be removed. Some existing parking in the section of Nerang Street between Davenport and Scarborough Streets could be maintained. Option S2 Sub-options Option S2 (A) would provide a new rapid transit station on Nerang Street (between Davenport and Scarborough Streets similar to S1 (A) with buses relocated from Scarborough Street to the Nerang Street Mall. This option would create a shared pedestrian and rapid transit station zone on Nerang Street between Davenport and Scarborough Streets and vehicular traffic restricted in this section. Most of the car parking on Nerang Street between Davenport Street and Gold Coast Highway and along Scarborough Street would be removed. Option S2 (B) would see a rapid transit station located in Scarborough Street and buses relocated from Scarborough Street to the Nerang Street Mall. This option would create a shared pedestrian and rapid transit station zone on Scarborough Street between Young Street and Lawson /Short Streets with vehicular traffic restricted in this section. Most parking in Scarborough and Nerang Streets would be removed. Option S2 (C) would provide for 4 bus bays, 2 of each would be located on each side of Lawson and Young Streets with the rapid transit station located in Scarborough Street. This option would also see a shared pedestrian and rapid transit station zone on Scarborough Street between Young Street and Lawson/Short Streets with vehicular traffic restricted in this section. This option was not carried forward because of the segregation of bus stops and limitations of providing priority for buses through the Southport Business centre. 78

9 Chapter four Route selection and staging It was determined that S1 (A) and S2 (A) were both viable options that would best meet the needs of the growing town centre and provide a good public transport solution. These 2 option were then taken forward to community consultation in March 2007 and were referred to as: Option S1: Nerang Street and Marine Parade Option S2: Nerang Street and Scarborough Street. See Chapter 5: Route (from page 85) for further detail on how S1 and S2 were evaluated and which option was taken forward as the preferred route for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. Leaving Southport The only options for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit leaving Southport and heading south is the Gold Coast Highway. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit will rejoin the Gold Coast Highway south of Southport and cross the Nerang River on a new, dedicated bridge, on the western side of the existing bridge. However, major new residential and mixed use development in Southport, the Broadwater Parklands redevelopment and the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project have emphasised the need to improve the pedestrian and cycle connections in and out of Southport. The footpath on the existing bridge is not considered to be of a desirable standard for the level of activity now in the area. The option of including pedestrian and cycle facilities on the new Gold Coast Rapid Transit bridge, being constructed on the western side of the existing bridge, was considered but discounted due to poor pedestrian connectivity from Main Beach. Other options are now being considered by Gold Coast City Council. See page 125 for further detail on the new bridge for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. 79

10 Section three: Southport to Broadbeach Between Southport and Surfers Paradise the most direct route for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system is to follow the Gold Coast Highway. This achieves the most efficient connection to Surfers Paradise and limits property impacts which would be necessary if the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system were to leave the highway and travel on local roads. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit system crosses the Nerang River on the western side of the Sundale Bridge and continues down the western edge of the Gold Coast Highway. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit project has been designed within the context of the current environment and major events that take place on the Gold Coast. Therefore, the rapid transit western alignment between the Nerang River and Surfers Paradise has been designed to avoid operational issues during Indy. However, the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project, as a result of a proposal from a stakeholder group, also investigated the proposal for an alignment on the eastern side of the Sundale Bridge, continuing on the east side of the Gold Coast Highway with a station in the vicinity of Breaker Street, and a cut and cover tunnel between the small two bridges on Macintosh Island. However, this option has been discounted as it would have a direct conflict with the Indy event and there were various issues with tunnelling in this area: a tunnel would require an excavation depth of at least 6-7 metres, potentially causing issues with the high water table dewatering of excavations is costly and can draw fines (fine particles of sand) from other areas, causing settlement of ground bearing structures property resumptions would be required for the entrance and exit portals of the tunnel. Tunnelling would, however, potentially allow greater flexibility with the location of stations, particularly relative to the Indy event. However, there are a number of disadvantages with underground stations including access and security. Therefore, within the context of the existing events on the Gold Coast, the western alignment was taken forward as the preferred alignment in this area. Route options were also considered in Surfers Paradise itself. Three route options were considered: Option one: Surfers Paradise Boulevard (preferred option) Option two: Ferny Avenue and Remembrance Drive Option three: Esplanade and Beach Parade. 80

11 Chapter four Route selection and staging Option one This option complements the work of the 2006 Surfers Paradise Traffic Management Scheme by further enforcing a slow moving, pedestrian and bicycle friendly road with calmed traffic and a more relaxed atmosphere. By utilising Surfers Paradise Boulevard the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system will serve the tourist and commercial centre of Surfers Paradise and allow good connections to the beach and other forms of public transport whilst limiting impacts. However this option would require some changes to the traffic arrangements in this area. See pages for details. Option two While Ferny Avenue could provide the fastest trip it is the key north-south route for traffic, carrying up to 40,000 cars per day. Constructing and operating the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system in this corridor would require significant traffic impacts. Also, due to the narrow road width in this area there would be significant land and property impacts required south of Cypress Avenue in order to widen the road. Ferny Avenue also has lower passenger catchments than Surfers Paradise Boulevard. Option three The Esplanade would provide a good tourist experience however there is also limited width in this corridor due to the seawall. The Gold Coast Rapid Transit system, with a retained traffic lane, requires a minimum of 26 metres, and an additional 8 metres for a station location. To use the Esplanade for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system would significantly impact the ocean way corridor, impact on pedestrian and cycle pathways, night markets and beach side parking. The system would also not be able to service this area during events such as Schoolies and Indy. Additionally there would be challenges reconnecting the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system to the Gold Coast Highway south of Surfers Paradise without significant property impacts. See Chapter 5: Route (from page 85) for further detail on how the Gold Coast Rapid Transit will travel through Surfers Paradise and the changes to traffic arrangements in this area. 81

12 Leaving Surfers Paradise Once the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system leaves Surfers Paradise the most direct route to Broadbeach is to follow the Gold Coast Highway until the new interchange station near Pacific Fair, which is the end of Stage one of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project. See Chapter 5: Route (from page 85) for further detail on the Gold Coast Rapid Transit alignment from Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach. Feedback from consultation During consultation, the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project responded to queries regarding the Gold Coast Rapid Transit route. In particular people asked us why the Gold Coast Rapid Transit route did not: link from the rail line at Nerang or Robina use Smith Street to travel from Parklands Drive into Southport consider Bundall Road rather than the Gold Coast Highway. Connection to rail line at Nerang or Robina A rapid transit system commencing at Nerang would not be able to connect with Griffith University and the Gold Coast Hospital. The corridor between Nerang and Southport is identified in the TransLink Network Plan as a high growth secondary network with the progressive implementation of high occupancy vehicle lanes to support high frequency bus services. Servicing Robina town centre from Broadbeach via a rapid transit spur line is considered feasible and will be investigated as part of future planning work. West east corridor to Southport via Smith Street The Smith Street motorway is the principal east west arterial connecting the M1 to the northern areas of the Gold Coast. The high speed traffic environment and surrounding land use is unsuitable to promote an accessible public transport system. This route also does not allow the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system to access the proposed depot site or service the existing Gold Coast Hospital and medical precinct. North south corridor via Bundall Road While this corridor is identified in the Gold Coast City Council Local Growth Management Strategy as a significant future employment generator, it contains no designated key activity centres. Furthermore, surrounding land use consists largely of low density commercial/retail that generates less public transport needs than residential and key activity centres. Within the walk up catchment (800m) of this corridor, there is significantly less residential population than along the Gold Coast Highway. 82

13 83

14 The Business Case prepared for the Queensland Government and Gold Coast City Council made the recommendation to implement the Gold Coast Rapid Transit project in stages based on an assessment of patronage, cost, deliverability, the ability of the project to support on-going development of the city as it grows, and the suitability of other public transport modes to meet the public transport requirements. The following indicative staging strategy has been developed: Category Needed by Description Highest priority 2011 Sections two and three, Griffith University to Broadbeach High priority Section four, Broadbeach to Burleigh Heads Section one, Helensvale to Griffith University Future stages Section five, Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta Other possible future stages However, in parallel with the community review of the draft Concept Design and Impact Management Plan, the project is undertaking detailed market sounding to determine opportunities for implementing stages in a shorter time frame than described. This indicative staging plan is based upon delivery of the Gold Coast Rapid Transit system in response to increasing demand for public transport and need to continue to support the on-going development of the city. Actual construction dates could occur earlier or later than identified based on changes in predicted demand and funding arrangements. Therefore, at this stage, the draft Concept Design and Impact Management Plan has been developed in detail for sections two and three of Stage one. For more information refer to the following chapter in the draft Concept Design and Impact Management Plan: Volume 2, Chapter 2: Alignment Selection Volume 2, Chapter 5: Project Staging. See page 24 for details of how to access the full draft Concept Design and Impact Management Plan report. 84

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