UTAS releases Hobart campuses master plan

The University of Tasmania has released its vision for what its Hobart city move will look like, and supporting bike riders with end-of-trip facilities and funding for bike lanes is part of it.

University footprint

The University’s footprint in the city will run along Campbell Street from the current Hunter Street buildings, past the Menzies, over to The Domain and back along Melville Street, up to Harrington.

The master plan sets out a vision for what the street frontages and internal campuses will look like, with an emphasis on low to mid-rise buildings, publicly accessible walkways and cycleways through campuses and streets that are significantly traffic-calmed with walking and riding given more space in the roadway.

The university has named up the cycleways it wants to see in the city centre, as well as a connection to Sandy Bay.

It includes paths on Campbell, Argyle, Melville, Hunter and Bathurst streets and a connection to Queens Domain. On top of these additions to the network they have also said they will advocate for better cycling infrastructure on Elizabeth, Macquarie and Davey streets.

A connection to Sandy Bay will be important as student accommodation will remain there after the move but the university hasn’t expressed a preference for the route it would take.

Support to ride

The university has acknowledged the importance of good quality end-of-trip facilities, with new facilities destined for the West End campus (old K&D site), the mid-town campus (where the new apartment building has just been built), the Domain and Wapping campus (current Hunter Street buildings).

This is on top of facilities already operating at The Menzies and Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies.

The other support for bike riders is the introduction of e-bike salary sacrificing, which will allow staff to lease an e-bike and its ongoing maintenance from their before-tax income if its primarily being used for commuting. The company that provides the service has a range of bikes on offer, including cargo bikes and also offers the option to buy the bike at the end of the lease.

Developer contributions

While many developers issue utopian drawings of tree-lined streets with few to no cars and lots of people riding and walking, it’s ultimately up to state and local governments to fund the sort of streetscape improvements that enable this.

The University is turning that on its head by promising tied developer contributions to the council to plant and maintain trees, build separated cycleways and widen footpaths.

A stream of funding dedicated to improving the active transport and vegetation corridors into and through the city may help to improve streetscapes more quickly than if left to the council alone.

The University does not have to pay rates, which presents a potential drop in income for the council as so many city buildings have been bought for the new campus. However, as the university converts its Sandy Bay campus to residential, rates income will start to come through that avenue, although that will be some years away.