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THE Gold Coast City Council is eyeing off a block of land at Parkwood for a 6000-space park and ride stop for the light rail -- but it will not be within walking distance of the nearest station.Business leaders fear patronage on the $1.2 billion light rail will suffer without proper parking facilities.
Council's city planning boss Cameron Caldwell said a Smith St block of land had been identified for a park and ride facility but it would have to be for the unconfirmed stage two of the light rail.
The land is north of Smith St where it enters the M1 and about 5km from the nearest stage one station, which is at Parklands Drive, Griffith University.A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson said the Government had only planned for drop-off zones near some stations for the first stage of the light rail, not park and ride.
There will be bus interchanges at Griffith University, Southport and Broadbeach.The spokeswoman said there had been preliminary talks with the council about the Parkwood solution but there was no money to extend the light rail.
"The Minister has made it clear the private sector would be required to fund any future extensions in the short-term," she said.Cr Caldwell said the council's draft transport plan advocated stage two of the light rail extending from Griffith University to a future heavy rail station at Parkwood.
He said a 6000-space car park could service both heavy and light rail, as well as acting as a staging point for Commonwealth Games public transport."What we would do, in the short-term when Parkwood Train Station is complete, we would use buses to connect the heavy rail to the light rail until there is an extension," Cr Caldwell said.
"Eventually, you could park there and catch the light rail into the city or ride on the passenger rail."Cr Caldwell said the council had considered a park and ride facility at the southern end track, but it would not have had the same capacity.
Urban Development Institute of Australia Gold Coast boss Steve Harrison, who is a member of the light rail business advisory group, said it was vital the State Government and council set up park and ride spots for the first stage of the light rail."I hope it's not the only park and ride facility being considered," he said. "It's too far (from stage one), it's not walking distance."
"Park and Ride is a critical component of the success of the light rail project, as are east-west bus connections."
This article first appeared on www.goldcoast.com.au
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