New idea for old dilemma: park and ride systems on the table to deal with University of Newcastle parking problem

AWARE: Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery knows of the problem.

AWARE: Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery knows of the problem.

PARK and ride systems are among new ideas to address the chronic issue of parking at the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus.

The ideas surfaced at a meeting between Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery, Transport for NSW and the State Transit Authority of NSW last month.

The university has more than 20,000 staff and students, but only 5100 parking spaces.

However, a university spokeswoman said these figures did not accurately represent the parking situation.

‘‘Not all students and staff are on the campus at the same time,’’ the spokeswoman said.

However, Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery said lack of on-campus parking was an issue she had heard increasingly from university students and staff since she was elected in 2007.

‘‘I am constantly hearing from students and staff how they cannot get a park at the uni and that public transport from some areas just takes too long or in some cases there just aren’t any services,’’ Ms Hornery said.

The meeting highlighted the need to make public transport more attractive.

Park and ride systems allow commuters to park their cars and transfer directly to public transport.

Ms Hornery said she was investigating empty land to implement park and ride systems with Newcastle council, but was still awaiting a response from Lake Macquarie council.

Other solutions proposed included upgrades to cycleways and a loop bus from the John Hunter Hospital park and ride at Hunter Stadium.