Melville Street Student Hub


In November 2013, the University of Tasmania unveiled their plan to develop a student hub at the corner of Melville Street and Elizabeth Street. The $75million project proposes to house 430 local, interstate and international students, representing a fantastic opportunity to attract people into the city and revitalise the CBD precinct. What is deeply disappointing is the inclusion of a large number of car parks. 

The initial plan proposed the inclusion of 600 car spaces, despite the Council only requiring the retention of the 140 car spaces that are currently operational at the site. The university's pursuit of an additional 460 car spaces failed to assess actual parking needs and displayed a lack of understanding of inner CBD living; with all university campuses just a short walk or pedal away. 

In May 2014, the Mercury reported that the University of Tasmania had opted to downsize the student hub facility, including a reduction of 150 car spaces to a total of 450. Whilst the reduction in the number of car spaces is a move in the right direction, Bicycle Tasmania is concerned that the University of Tasmania's decision to retain a large number of car parking continues to bypass local, state and federal strategic documents and will fail to deliver positive outcomes for an active University community. 

Read Mercury article.

Bicycle Tasmania is concerned that the high number of car parks being proposed is inconsistent with various transport strategies and the University's own planning around a healthy staff and student population. In line with state and federal strategies that encourage a mode shift away from private vehicle transportation, the Hobart City Council's Strategic Transport Strategy 2009-2014 proposes to "adopt as a basic tenet, no net increase of available parking" (local, state and federal strategies are given below).  

University of Tasmania's position locks in the expectation that parking of private motor vehicles will continue to be subsidised by the community and the University. This is despite excellent data that links lack of mobility with poor health outcomes.

Bicycle Tasmania has contacted the University of Tasmania and Hobart City Council, and understands that planning is at a stage where designs could be changed. Consequently, Emma Pharo and Alasdair Doyle have recommended a reduction in available parking to 140 spaces, an in-house car parking scheme, car spaces priced at full cost recovery, and bicycle storage cages and loops/racks at street level. 

Now is an important time to contact the University and Hobart City Council to foster positive outcomes for active and public transport at the Student Hub Development. Please take a moment to contact the below personnel, either by email or phone. The university and Hobart Council need to know that bypassing strategic documents for short sighted planning is not best practice, and that we can do better!

How you can support an active University

Please take a moment to contact the below personnel requesting that due consideration is given to relevant strategic documents, and subsequently a reduction in the high number of car spaces. 

University of Tasmania

Vice Chancellor Peter Rathjen 
email: Vice.Chancellor@utas.edu.au
phone: (03) 6226 2003

cc. Neal Denning (Planning Manager)
email: Neal.Denning@utas.edu.au
phone: (03) 6226 6415 

and Hobart City Council

Lord Mayor Damon Thomas
email: Lord.Mayor@hobartcity.com.au
phone: 0419 355 115

Recommendations

Bicycle Tasmania has contacted the University of Tasmania and Hobart City Council, and kindly requested that due consideration is given to the following suggestions:

- in-house car sharing scheme;
- private car-parking spaces priced at full cost recovery;
- a reduction in the number of car spaces to 140, in line with Council requirement;
- street front taxi rank;
- large display in the foyer of public transport options and the best walking and cycling routes, including map of stops and up to date timetables;
- bike parking scheme not limited to secure bike parking cages within the car park, but to include hoops/racks at street level for visitors and for day use by residents; secure bike workshop space at car park level.
- that the University engage in stakeholder consultation, including with students. 

Strategic Documents

The main local, state and federal documents that relate to parking strategies and commuter mode shift, however there are many more that give the same message.

Federal: Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure/pab/urbanpolicy/active_travel/index.aspx

State: Southern Integrated Transport Plan and the Tasmanian Walking and Cycling for Active Transport http://www.transport.tas.gov.au/road/southern_integrated_transport_plan http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/passenger_transport/tasmanian_walking_and_cycling_for_active_transport_strategy

Local: Sustainable Transport Strategy 2009-2014
http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Transport/Sustainable_Transport_Planning

University: Sustainable Transport Strategy 2012-2016
http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/244107/UTAS-Sust_Transport_Strategy_Main_2012-06-12-FINAL-with-foreword.pdf

An Abundance of Parking

Within 500 metres of the Melville Street Student Hub site, are an abundance of short-term and long-term parking facilities including, and not limited to: Argyle Street Car Park (900 spaces), Bathurst/Argyle Car Park (700 spaces), Brisbane Street Car Parking (180 spaces), Centrepoint Car Park (780 spaces), Hobart Central Car Park (465 car spaces), Market Place Car Park (480 spaces), Melville Street Car Park (180 spaces), and Trafalgar Car Park (544 spaces). 



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