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New Arboretum car park to have parking meters as destination grows

Ian Bushnell 8 July 2019 99

The National Arboretum is now a major Canberra destination. Photo: Facebook.

A new sealed, metered car park is to be built at the National Arboretum this financial year to cope with increasing visitor numbers, the impending cessation of bus services and to provide extra revenue for the now iconic destination.

The ACT Government has contracted GHD Pty Ltd for $66,000 to design an upgrade of the current overflow car park directly behind the main sealed car park.

A Government spokesperson said about $2.25 million was earmarked in the 2019-20 ACT Budget to expand and add more than 500 car spaces to the Village Centre car park. Construction was due to begin later this year. There are 256 car spaces in the main car park.

The new car park is one of a range of infrastructure projects planned or under way for the Arboretum. A new network of trails under construction is due to be completed by the end of September, and more major concert events are expected as part of plans to develop the Arboretum’s commercial potential, with $120,000 allocated for a feasibility study for an upgraded amphitheatre, including a permanent stage. That work should begin soon.

The Government would also like to see a hotel operating at the Arboretum, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr identifying a 1.7-hectare site south of Dairy Farmers Hill with unsurpassed views.

The Government allocated $90,000 in the 2018-19 mid-year budget review for a feasibility study for boutique accommodation, and it is currently in negotiations with the preferred tenderer.

The spokesperson said further decisions about accommodation, the amphitheatre and a purpose-built stage would be made after the feasibility studies were complete.

The Government would also recommend that any future large outdoor concerts or events held at the National Arboretum should use buses to transport patrons to the site, with some limited vehicle access. “This is to improve attendee experience and reduce congestion experienced at previous events,” the spokesperson said.

The car park contract document says that with the National Arboretum’s increasing popularity it is imperative that the venue continues to develop amenities in line with visitor needs and expectations while providing new business opportunities for the Government.

“While the Arboretum encourages the issue of public and active transport, the car is the predominant mode of transport that visitors use to get to the site – indeed public transport by bus to the site is to cease in early 2019,” it says.

As well as improving visitor experience and public safety, the upgraded car park will increase the Arboretum’s commercial and economic viability through the installation of parking meters, the document says.

At peak times, there is considerable congestion in the main car park, and Arboretum staff are forced to open the overflow car park to visitors.

Built in 2010, the overflow car park is a series of five compacted earth and dry-land grass terraces with no defined markings or signage.

“As usage of the car park continues to increase, the existing problematic pedestrian and driver access/egress routes pose public safety hazards,” the document says.

There are also erosion and water run-off issues.

“The existing earthworks of the overflow car park have been set up to mimic the layout of the main sealed car park. The site is undulating, with significant slopes and gradients in certain areas. Both the main and overflow car parks experience erosion and water flow problems owing to the steep embankments,” the document says.

It says the new car park will duplicate the main car park, with traffic to flow into the car park from the northern entrance of Forest Drive. Circulation is to be one way down the hill with each aisle accommodating two-way traffic. On the southern end of the car park, circulation will be two way to allow access to maintenance facilities.

GHD will supply the design work, a safety report and a cost estimate for construction of the car park.

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99 Responses to
New Arboretum car park to have parking meters as destination grows
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7:04 pm 08 Jul 19

Pity about the buses. I went there several times by bus and enjoyed the ride over, as well. Yet another Canberra bus fail. So much for public transport.

7:02 pm 08 Jul 19

Why stop the bus services?? And a pity time that can be spent there is limited by metering parking, especially if you can’t avoid parking because there is no bus!!!!

6:54 pm 08 Jul 19

So many attractions that would benefit from a bus service rather than more paid parking. But in many cases the parking fees are essentially an entry fee.

6:54 pm 08 Jul 19

No bus service! Those tourists that come by bus train or plane will get there by .....

6:50 pm 08 Jul 19

And watch visitor numbers plummet once these new changes come into effect. If I have to pay for parking I for one won’t be going!

    7:00 pm 08 Jul 19

    you already pay for parking - one reason I don’t go.

    7:12 pm 08 Jul 19

    Hahahahaha. You already pay for parking. I hope you enjoy your first visit.

    7:13 pm 08 Jul 19

    Jamie Gray Suzanne Parkinson not if you park at the Himalayan Forrest or dairy flat hill.... plus we have been able to park in the dirt Carpark adjacent to the pay parking up until about a month ago.

    7:16 pm 08 Jul 19

    Claire Marie I’ve only been a couple of times, both to the restaurant and didn’t see any alternative to paying in the paved car park. Probably won’t be going back.

    7:20 pm 08 Jul 19

    Claire dairy flat hill would be my pick.

    8:14 pm 08 Jul 19

    You already do have to pay for parking Michael; always have.

6:46 pm 08 Jul 19

Cessation of bus service. What universe is the ACT govt living in.

6:43 pm 08 Jul 19

Maybe people should question him on his slot on the radio...

‘Ask the minister’

6:40 pm 08 Jul 19

There definitely needs to be a bus service to it.

How out of touch is this government!!!!!

6:32 pm 08 Jul 19

So in touch with this community. Just like the proposed changes to Molonglo Bike Park.

6:31 pm 08 Jul 19

Tim Everett what a travesty

6:29 pm 08 Jul 19

They have to put in something to pay for Barr'$ generous salary. Unfortunately people were stupid enough to vote for him🤔

6:23 pm 08 Jul 19

More proof of an out of touch “ government” read town council!

6:21 pm 08 Jul 19

Time to kick Barr out.. this is getting beyond a joke now

6:18 pm 08 Jul 19

Really? Seriously? Which part of promotional tourism don't you get?

6:18 pm 08 Jul 19

I thought that the bus service there stopped there when the new bus timetable came in, over two months ago

6:16 pm 08 Jul 19

Nice work ActGov you get more people paying for parking when you cancel the bus service.

6:15 pm 08 Jul 19

It just shits me how often I get "told" about Gov changing my lifestyle.... I haven't seen any form of interaction with constituents to ask if this extra fee is something we are ok with?

I am not ok with this! I am already taxed and charged rate's to beyond my means.... so now I can't even take my child to enjoy our favorite place?

    6:22 pm 08 Jul 19

    Claire Marie well said. How are visitors supposed to get there? No bus is ridiculous.

    6:35 pm 08 Jul 19

    *edit* if a free bus was available, with free parking options? My child would love to take a bus ride to our favorite weekend hang out.

    8:53 pm 08 Jul 19

    Claire Marie That's what happens when people vote the same government in over and over again.

    It becomes a one party state (or territory) that's common in communism, and they do as they please.

6:12 pm 08 Jul 19

Why is the bus service finishing? Surely if the Arboretum is becoming more popular, it’d make sense to increase them!

6:09 pm 08 Jul 19

Maybe the National Arboretum Canberra could join with the other cultural institutions in Canberra that collectively fund the Culture Loop bus 🚌👍

There would be less need for more carparking if a frequent, well publicised bus service went there 👍

6:08 pm 08 Jul 19

Without public transport how are visitors meant to get there?


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