Council targets sustainable transport outcomes
  • Friday 09 July 2010

Sunshine Coast Council will spend nearly $100 million over the next five years on transport infrastructure, providing practical, efficient and reliable alternatives to car dependence.

The funding boost outlined in council’s latest budget includes provision for fast, frequent and more reliable bus routes, integrated transport planning, dedicated bikeways and walkways.

Council’s decision to endorse the Public Transport Levy for another year will assist in funding these initiatives.

Integrated Transport Councillor Vivien Griffin said Levy funding is used exclusively for public transport initiatives.

“In the coming financial year, council will deliver a number of projects dedicated to providing safe, accessible and efficient alternatives to using the car,” Cr Griffin said.

“Council is extending its Flexilink taxi service and Council Cabs—both services which bridge the gaps in our public transport network.

“This council is very conscious of the need to respond to transport shortfalls in the Hinterland. Both initiatives were trialled last year and proved successful, especially in regional areas of the Coast.

“These seed investments will allow for Translink to consider fully funding the service once the need is demonstrated.

“Council has also allocated $7.7million for the improvement of the Coast’s pathway network, adding an extra 25km in the coming financial year.

“$1.2million is allocated to extending the Coast’s local pathway network and $6.5million will be used for the design and construction of strategic pathways in 26 different locations across the region.

“I believe that whether travelling by foot or bicycle, residents should be able to carry out their journey safely.

“Another initiative is the provision of cycling facilities such as green cycle lanes. Council has been encouraging residents to be TravelSmart and this year we’ll be providing the infrastructure to make those journey’s safer.

“And because not everyone knows how these cycle lanes work, council will conduct an education campaign for both drivers and cyclists.

“Council’s capital works program includes essential public transport infrastructure such as bus terminals and shelters, cycle pathways and end of trip facilities, streetscaping and transport innovation projects.”

Cr Griffin said looking longer term, council is investing $200K in developing a sustainable transport strategy that will address the challenge of population growth and deliver on economic, social and environmental sustainability.

“The strategy aims to tackle sustainability on a local regional and global scale,” Cr Griffin said.

“To achieve greater use of public and active transport, wider ranging, faster, more frequent, reliable and efficient public transport facilities are required.

“The Sustainable Transport Strategy will provide direction and responses for this quantum change, which have the potential to achieve sustainable transport alternatives for the Coast.

“A draft strategy is hoped to be available for consultation towards the end of 2010.”

Other integrated transport initiatives funded in the 2010/11 financial year include:

$825k to widen roads and provide on road cycle lanes which will be targeted to complement council's road reseal and rehabilitation program.
$494k for pedestrian and cyclist enabling facilities, with pedestrian facilities to ensure road crossings are made safer at key locations across the region and improvements on facilities such as bicycle parking and associated amenities.
$1.35million will be expended rolling out new bus stops and shelters as well as making existing public transport facilities disability compliant across the entire region. This is part of an ongoing strategy to ensure public transport facilities are as safe and accessible as possible for all users.
$10.45million is budgeted for the new Noosa Transit Centre which provides for the relocation of the main transit centre to Noosa Junction to increase passenger and bus capacity. This project commenced planning and design phases in 2009/10, with construction following in 2010/11 and estimated for completion by the end of 2010. The project is jointly funded by council, Australian Government Infrastructure Australia Grant and the Translink Transit Authority.
$290k is contributed toward the planning and design of a new Transit Centre at Maroochydore which is also funded by State Government.
$470k has been provided for transportation corridor improvements in terms of aesthetics and ability to contribute to enhancing the identity and legibility of the transportation network.
$100k has been assigned to the provision of innovative transport solutions such as the implementation of electronic real time information displays and carparking designed to encourage car pooling for work commuters.
$130,000 – Maintenance of existing transport models and development of the Sunshine Coast multi modal transport model.
$1,150,000 for new and improved bus services on the Sunshine Coast in partnership with Translink beyond their usual service improvements
$275,000 to plan a “congestion-busting” bus program for peak holiday times. Last year this resulted in passenger increases of 56% and traffic reductions of 5% for the Route 600 Holiday service over Christmas and New Year;
$400,000 for public transport infrastructure improvements;
$100,000 – Council Cabs will continue in 2010/2011 which has proven quite well supported from the outset;
$475,000 to continue the eight flexilink services across the sunshine coast to enable areas to connect to existing scheduled public transport services;
$190,000 in partnership with the state for the continuation of the bus trials of the Nambour to Maleny Hinterland Connect service and the Beerwah to Landsborough to Maleny upgraded service. The aim is to reach a patronage level which will see these become permanent services for these communities; and
$275,000 incorporating Travel Smart initiatives promoting travel change, accessibility and connectedness through education and advocacy.