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HomeVolume 28All aboard the buzz

All aboard the buzz

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Alice Springs can be traversed by bicycle in 15 minutes. Most locals live within 400 metres from a public bus stop. And outdoor surfaces, including carparks “can exceed 65 degrees,” according to a study commissioned by Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.

So what do we do? We make hot summers in a hot town even hotter by building or approving more carparks.

We could be using these choice spaces in our town centre for parks or playgrounds, or something that will actually bring visitors to town.

The western bank of the Todd, lined with majestic eucalyptus trees, is a case in point.

It’s unlikely that anyone will do their week’s shopping on a treadly but parking one’s car for eight hours after a 10 minute trip there and back with one person on board is wasting a tourism asset.

At the moment two carparks, for 171 cars, are before the Development Consent Authority.

One, for 83 cars, is in 2 Stuart Terrace, part of the Alice Springs Heritage Precinct, the Old Alice Springs Gaol, and adjacent to the Women’s Museum of Australia.

The other is for 88 cars, in Traeger Avenue, opposite the basketball courts, part of the school owned by the Catholic Church.

Both have been used, apparently for some years, in violation of the town plan: The two areas are not zoned for parking cars. They are zoned for tourism and community use. If the rezoning is approved these are two land uses officially lost to the general public and the economy.

Both carparks are for hospital staff.

The hospital is one of the town’s outstanding assets. Its staff is capable of dealing with an illness rate and seriousness of frightening proportions, day after day.

However, the staff’s commuting habits warrant having the stethoscope applied – as is the case with all the other CBD workers.

Victoria Walks defines “close to public transport services” as within 400 metres of a bus stop.

The red circles in our graphs pictured here have a radius of about 400 metres.

As can be seen, the fact is that almost every single address in Alice Springs, north of the range, is less than 400 metres from a bus stop.

In addition to the comprehensive network of school busses the NT Government runs five public busses in Alice Springs. They have 45 seats each.

This is the occupancy percentage, for the various weekday time slots: 7.30am to 8am (13.4%); 8am to 9am (25.8%); 4.30pm to 5pm (21%) and 5pm to 5.30pm (6.5%).

That means at the most the buses are quarter full during the work commuting times.

Carbon emissions, climate change, anyone?

4 COMMENTS

  1. You make good points Erwin. It would be beneficial if those large near empty buses could be replaced by more frequent smaller buses. Getting enough drivers might be an issue but surely this can be addressed. I’m not a resident of Alice Springs but have visited many times and lived in the East Side.

  2. I think the justification from Alice Springs Hospital would be the need for shift workers to have safe transport at night.
    However most of their staff work business hours, and for the few who are shift workers, I’m sure there are more creative solutions than car parks.

  3. If the crime in Alice Springs keeps up, there won’t be a need for a carpark as there won’t be nurses willing to work here.
    Secure carpark is a necessity. Maybe the Health Department are better off with a minibus for their workers which is available on call, similar to the Base Bus which seems to work for them.
    Off street secure parking is needed in Alice Springs. Given Traeaer has sports facilities, school, and hospital nearby seems the need is there.

  4. Nurses on an early and many Doctors and others in the kitchen etc start at 7.00. The first bus starts at 7.00. Staff working afternoons finish at 9.00pm. The busses finish at 6.00 pm.
    I would guess that this would account for 60% of the hospital staff, working shifts that start outside the bus operating hours.
    [ED – We have asked the Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Logistics for comment.]

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