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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
Shane Hayward Shane Hayward 11:01 pm 08 Jul 19

Surprising how many people are carrying on about paying for parking up there, paid parking is already in place up there, the difference is it goes straight back to the arboretum not into the government coffers, there is signs in the car park telling you this but I’d say most of the people commenting haven’t been up there anyway...

maxblues 11:01 pm 08 Jul 19

If there is no bus service they are going to have to start chopping down trees to fit the cars in…but I guess the Labor Govt doesn’t mind chopping down trees (like they butchered Northbourne).

Angela Thomas Angela Thomas 10:32 pm 08 Jul 19

Been once, probably won't be going again.

Max Robinson Max Robinson 9:37 pm 08 Jul 19

Another bus service buggered by the ALP

CJ Hodgie Hodge CJ Hodgie Hodge 9:21 pm 08 Jul 19

Andrew Barr MR MONEY 💰

Neil Gavin Neil Gavin 9:06 pm 08 Jul 19

What was that bit buried away about no public Buses?!

Tom Lawson Tom Lawson 9:03 pm 08 Jul 19

I think a lot of people here don't know that the parking fees at the arboretum are entirely used by the park. Its basically an access fee like you would have at a national park.

Dianah Warren Dianah Warren 8:46 pm 08 Jul 19

No buses?? That’s a disgrace!

brucewantstobecool 8:41 pm 08 Jul 19

I love this.

ACT Gov – “we are going to upgrade the parking facilities, which in the relevant area are already subject to metered rates.”

The RiotACT masses – “I’m outraged! I’m not paying for parking [for some place I clearly don’t visit at present].”

As flawed as the town council may be, this sounds like a sensible proposition. Sure, the bus should be reintroduced (an hourly Arboretum-Zoo-City loop would be reasonable), but the other developments at the Arboretum are no-brainers.

Jane Kim Jane Kim 8:12 pm 08 Jul 19

WHY would anyone stop the bus service to here? Ridiculous.

Tony Armstrong Tony Armstrong 8:09 pm 08 Jul 19

Welcome to Canberra. Bring your money.

Jackie Fuller Jackie Fuller 8:03 pm 08 Jul 19

Never been and almost definitely won't go now

Steve Jones Steve Jones 7:50 pm 08 Jul 19

What about fixing the Eastern gate near the toilets?

Deb Stevens Deb Stevens 7:38 pm 08 Jul 19

With the growth of the trees the popularity of the Arboretum is going gangbusters. I find that a reason to be a pleased Canberran not a cranky one. A few commentators have interesting takes on the place. There has been paid parking up there for ages. It is increasingly difficult to park. I would rather some revenue come from parking to contribute toward running costs than taxpayers pay for the lot. The visitor centre has always closed at 4 pm. If we want it open longer it may cost more to run. The visitor's centre is not an eyesore. Interstate and overseas visitors I take there are full of praise and wonder for the Arboretum and love the visitor's centre. The lack of bus access is disgraceful. Trying to understand how a car park is going to change my lifestyle.But hey....

    Ian McTaggart Ian McTaggart 10:04 am 09 Jul 19

    Ted Douglas, it doesn't. It is all relative.

    Deb Stevens Deb Stevens 12:46 pm 09 Jul 19

    Ted Douglas - the Arboretum runs on the smell of an oily rag and a whole lot of volunteers.

    Laying down appropriate car parking costs money.

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 7:22 pm 08 Jul 19

cessation of the Bus services... Don't the Gov want us to take the bus instead of our cars? make up your mind will you.

Katy Norman Katy Norman 7:19 pm 08 Jul 19

I thought parking fees were supposed to force us onto buses. So much for that rationale.

Martine Guesdon Martine Guesdon 7:17 pm 08 Jul 19

Oh well, I'll never go there again.

    Ursula O'Dea Brightman Ursula O'Dea Brightman 7:24 pm 08 Jul 19

    Martine S Crook it's already pay parking and goes to The Arboretum.

Sue Foster Sue Foster 7:16 pm 08 Jul 19

The parking fees at the arboretum go to the arboretum. There are signs in the carpark stating this.

    Shane Lacey Shane Lacey 10:14 pm 08 Jul 19

    Stating... or alleging? Not that i don't trust the NCA.

    Sue Foster Sue Foster 10:35 am 09 Jul 19

    Shane Lacey it's a sign. How would one detmine from a sign whether it is stating or alleging?

Judy Hancock Judy Hancock 7:13 pm 08 Jul 19

Why the cessation of bus services? That is ridiculous!!!

Robert George Corney Robert George Corney 7:09 pm 08 Jul 19

Why are we charged for this it will just drive people away shame on you lot

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