PARENTS who have to drop off or pick up kids from daycare or school are inevitably forced to drive into the city, as the existing train and bus schedules are unreliable and not frequent enough at normal start of business hours. Parking at suburban stations is limited and competitive.
I know of parents working in the Newcastle CBD who have to park at Islington due to the parking supply being exhausted by the time they drop kids off. Using trains or buses as alternatives did not work. Earlier buses or trains are too early to drop kids off and both systems often run late, or don't run at all. Likewise, at close of business in the evening, a walk of two or three kilometres back to the car means the city is now in gridlock, and getting to pick kids up is inevitably delayed. Add winter afternoons, with darkness closing and pelting rain, to enrich the experience further.
When we look at other large cities we see that a ring road system ensures that those with no business in the city can bypass it completely. Those that do have business in the city are supported by multiple park-and-ride facilities around the city suburbs and a metro, tram or train network. Limited street and commercial parking is provided, with option to book car parks in advance. What's obvious is that Newcastle is not in the same league as these larger business centres, and it doesn't have the geographic space to be one unless the business centre moves from the Hunter Street precinct.
It seems we are in a situation much like that of renewable energy versus coal fired power stations. Until the alternative is up and running, there is a need for the old ways to cover the shortfall. While we are on the bottom rung of being a major city, and will obviously move towards developing the supporting transport networks and scale back on the needed city parking as time goes on, at the present moment we appear to have put the horse before the cart and decimated available parking before a workable alternative truly exists.
Paul Duggan, Garden Suburb
WE ARE JUST LOOKING AHEAD
IT IS not that Australians are being needlessly nasty in the treatment of asylum seekers (Letters 4/9) but we are simply capable of thinking through the consequences of our actions. If we offer residency in the first world to asylum seeker children, then I believe hundreds of thousands of asylum seeker children will be sent unaccompanied on boats and thousands of them will be dying at sea.
If we give residency to asylum seeker adults, I believe millions of asylum seekers will come on boats until the standard of living in Australia is driven down so far that there is no benefit in coming here from poverty-stricken countries in South and South East Asia. I realise that millions of Australians, mainly congregating on the political left, are simply not capable of this sort of forethought. Fortunately the majority of Australians are capable of mentally exploring the consequences of actions, and we are looking out for the best interests of our well-meaning but naïve compatriots.
Sean Farnham, Kurri Kurri
TRAIN HAS LEFT THE STATION
IF THE comments by Jeff McCloy (‘Cars parked’, Newcastle Herald, 3/9) came as a surprise, it was only because he took so long. What he said tends to reinforce what many have been saying ever since the decision was made to close the railway.
The issue is access to and from the city, not from the CBD to the harbour. As I have said before, if the powers that be want people to leave their cars at home then public transport needs to be more accessible, convenient, direct, efficient, safe as well as better value for money. I noticed that when people were forced to change at Hamilton, the time it took from getting off the train until the bus left or vice versa was about what it once took the train to reach Newcastle.
From what I have been told, it now generally takes a lot longer to get off a train and wait for a bus to leave the Wickham interchange than it ever took for the train to reach Newcastle.
While I agree with Jeff McCloy's assertion that more parking should have been provided for the university campus, the reality is that with the close proximity of Civic station the railway could have been a major asset for students as well as commuters and shoppers. I noticed that during the day, most passengers got off at Civic. It's a pity those who wanted to see the revitalisation didn't see just how important the railway would be for this revitalisation.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
STICK TO THE SCRIPTURE
I HAVE always admired Father Rod Bower, and reading your story (‘It began with a hangover’, Herald 31/8) struck a real chord. In so many ways, his life experience reflected mine. I, together with my older brother and sister, was taken into care by the Sisters at St Patrick Orphanage at Armidale in 1931. The evidence of compassion for others there has inspired us to care for our communities, with my beloved sister being awarded an AO and AM and nominated as Senior Australian of the year before her passing. My brother became a very caring doctor, and I have been awarded an OAM also.
I can understand Father Bower's concern at the performance of the two politicians at the head of the goings on in Canberra last week. It appears Mr Dutton has stated that his decisions the give a visa to au pair girls was based on "common sense", and most of us will rejoice if this becomes policy.
If this is so, and now that we have a PM who proclaims that his faith is one of the pillars of his life, I urge his pastor when the Prime Minister next attends to use the following text of Matthew 19:14: "But Jesus said, Suffer little and forbid them not, to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven". If the Prime Minister is moved by this passage and looks over the further horizon he will see the children on Manus and Nauru who desperately want to come to us and stop trying to kill themselves to escape the cruelty of their existence.
If this was policy, I am sure the Father Bower and so many others of us would believe that change was in Canberra and the hearts of the leaders. I look forward in hope.
Frank Ward, Shoal Bay
PLENTY OF TEAM PLAYERS
I BEG to differ with Allen Small (Letters 4/9). Many of the 17 players who took the field to represent our beloved Newcastle Knights against St George Illawarra Dragons last Saturday afternoon were carrying injuries into the fixture. They probably felt duty bound to represent their proud club in the last home game. It was a must-win for the Dragons to determine their placing in the top eight but, realistically, it meant nothing to the Knights, who did very well to lead at half time. Thank you guys.
David Crich, Tenambit
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