Missing link: filling the gaps in bike networks

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

A bike network is more than the sum of its parts. Small gaps can greatly decrease the popularity of the route. Missing links is a term that describes gaps in the cycling network, and those gaps can be quite short.

Adding another 100 m of missing path, connecting two other bike paths, makes a network. Without this short link, a cyclist may need to ride a much greater distance.

Filling the gap and building a cycle path to form a network does not need to be expensive, and it is very worthwhile. The value of fixing the missing link far exceeds the construction costs as it makes the whole path network more attractive to cyclists.

At the 2016 ACT Election, ACT Labor promised several missing links.

  1. the Belconnen Bikeway
  2. the Heysen Street Link bike path and
  3. the Kuringa Drive bike path.

A bike network is more than the sum of its parts. Small gaps can greatly decrease the popularity of the route.


Case study

2004 Bike path on Kuringa drive

Kuringa Drive has a long history going back to 2004 and possibly earlier. At the Belconnen public consultation, 16 February 2004, for the (ACT) Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure 2004, a bike path was requested along Kuringa Drive from Barton Highway to Tillyard Drive, Fraser.

18 years later, only half the length is completed between Barton Highway and Owen Dixon Drive. The section half is not currently planned between Kuringa Drive and Tillyard Drive. It took us 18 years to build 1.3 km of bike path.

Kuringa Drive missing link (CBR Cycle Route C5). Public consultation notes, Belconnen Session, Monday, 16 February 2004, Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure, Roads ACT, 2004.
Kuringa Drive missing link (CBR Cycle Route C5). Public consultation notes, Belconnen Session, Monday, 16 February 2004, Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure, Roads ACT, 2004.


Belconnen Bikeway (C3)

Update 6 February 2021 Belconnen Bikeway

The construction of Belconnen Bikeway along Emu Bank was finished just before the Christmas 2020, however, we are still waiting on the start of the construction of another section along Benjamin Way that was promised back at the 2016 ACT Election.

  • Status update 11 October 2020: under construction.
  • Opened: 1.6 km from Florey to Westfield and 0.5km between Kirinari Street and Cooinda Street along College Street. In total 2.1 km is opened from 4.7 km complete length.
  • Visual appearance: Mostly paved and marked but fenced off for most of its length. Only two short sections are open.
  • Scope: Benjamin Way was promised and now has been removed from the project. It may be in planning but there is no evidence of this.

The ACT Government has begun with the construction of the Belconnen Bikeway and discuss here in more detail.

Heysen Street Link

Heysen Street shortens the ride from the new suburbs in Molonglo Valley / Weston Creek and Woden Valley. The road was of a “rural road standard” and a death trap for cyclists.

Heysen Street Link benefited from the 2020 Fast Track program. Heysen Street Link was slow to move forward but now planned all the way to Woden.

Heysen Street Link update 8 October 2021: The Devonport Street is almost complete. With luck, the Heysen Street Link to Woden may be completed in October 2021.

Heysen Street update 22 July 2021: stage 1 and 2 of the project have been completed. The remaining stage along Devonport Street has not begun.

Weston to Lyons along Heysen Street

Construction in 3 stages

The funding comes from different pots but should produce a route from Weston to Woden Town Centre.

Heysen Street Link, ACT Government, 12/10/2020

Stage One – status 26 February 2021 completed

  • Type: off-road shared path
  • Where: from the intersection of Devonport Street and Derwent Street, through the Oakey Hill Nature Reserve, along Heysen Street, ending at its intersection with Hilder Street.
  • Construction: August 2020 to late 2020
  • Funding: ACT Government $1.2 million
Heysen Street, Weston,Weston Creek
Heysen Street, Weston,Weston Creek

Stage Two – status 26 February 2021 completed

  • Type: off-road shared path
  • Where: from the underpass near the Lyons shops, along Launceston Street to Burnie Street.
  • Construction: late 2020 to early 2021
  • Funding: ACT Government’s Fast Track Program.
Launceston Street, Lyons. Woden Valley
Bike path along Launceston Street, Lyons. Woden Valley

Stage Three – status 8 October 2021 near completion

Heysen Street Link update 8 October 2021: The Devonport Street is almost complete. With luck, the Heysen Street Link to Woden may be completed in October 2021.

Heysen Street Link, ACT Government, 12/10/2020

Kuringa Drive

Update 31 December 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

New Years is just hours away and Kuringa Drive cycle path has still not been opened. The ends were blocked and signed for pedestrians as closed. These obstructions were torn down again by frustrated pedestrians/cyclists. The Kuringa Drive cycle path was promised to be finished in the last electoral term. Over a year after the ACT Election, we are still waiting for the official opening. ACT Transport is slow, we know that, prone to make the same errors again and again. Here is yet another example of how cyclist left behind in the dust of motor vehicle priorities. ACT Transport have done little for cycling in 2021. Although, the intersection was sealed and opened in a single weekend in June, 6 months later cyclist are left to wait for the bike path to open. ACT Transport is really rather ordinary. 😦

Update 24 November 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

With a year delay, the Kuringa Drive cycle path is finally here. An impatient cyclist has ridden down the tape to mark the lack of any official opening. The Kuringa Drive shortens the ride from West Belconnen to West Gungahlin by many kilometres. Consider the loop ride by Kuringa Drive, Horse Park Drive, and back to Gundaroo Drive.

Update 14 September 2021 Kuringa Drive bike path

The surfacing of the bike path has begun. The line marking will follow. After that the path will remain closed for some time while mysterious administrative business is finalised. At some point, a cyclist will become impatient and tear down the tape, unofficially opening the path. We can expect the official opening much later after that, if at all. This is the TCCS way. We should note, that 3 months after the intersection was finished, we still do not have a completed bike path.

Update 16 July 2021 Kuringa Drive intersection

The signalisation of Kuringa Drive and Owen Dixon Drive has been completed. The works crew has packed up and left. Unfortunately, the bike path along Kuringa Drive has yet to be completed. Hopefully, it will be finished soon.

Upgrading an intersection on Owen Dixon Drive – 2020-21 ACT Budget Outlook

 2020-21 $’0002021-22 $’0002022-23 $’0002023-24 $’000Total $’000
Capital2,0008,0000010,000
Depreciation00133133266
Expenses00100300400
Net cost of services00233433666
2020-21 ACT Budget Outlook

The Government will further improve the north-south arterial road, between the Barton Highway and Ginninderra Drive by including a signalised intersection at Owen Dixon Drive.

  • Status update 11 October 2020: in planning.
  • Opened: The construction is yet to start.
  • Visual appearance: Apart from a sign announcing the project nothing has changed.
  • Scope: The signalisation of the intersection is paid for in part by the Federal Government and will make the intersection safer. Apart from that nothing has changed from the original proposal. The signalisation of the intersection does not in any way increase the length of the bike path. It will not connect at Dixon Drive to other bike paths.

Kuringa Drive off-road bike path between Barton Highway in the north and Kingsford Smith Drive in the south is coming but still in planning. It provides an important connection between the western suburbs of Belconnen and Gungahlin. Kuringa Drive crosses CSIRO Commonwealth land. The development of this land was blocked by the ACT Government. 

Kuringa Drive between Barton Hwy to Kingsford Smith Dr

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s