Aranda hill is a critical cycling link in Canberra. Everything south of Belconnen is best reached over Aranda hill. The official name for this Active Travel Route is “CBR Cycle Route C5 Belconnen – Tuggeranong via Weston Creek”. The vast majority of this route was built before 1988.
Aranda ridge separates the Belconnen and Molonglo Valley. The hill is known for its scenic views and rural landscape. The descent to Lake Burley Griffin is thrilling.
Other CBR Cycle Routes are discussed here.
A shared path
Evenings, after work, Aranda hill can get busy and not without some risk as the community path is shared with locals walking their dogs. The path is currently not lit but really should be.
2004 Priority crossings on local roads in Aranda on the CBR Cycle Route C5
CBR Cycle Route C5 crosses Catchpole Street, Redfern Street, and Lyttleton Crescent. According to the ACT Active Travels Standards, priority crossing are required where Principal Community Routes crosses streets that are lower in the hierarchy. This makes sense. For cycle infrastructure to be attractive, trunk cycle networks must have priority over local streets and minor connectors for the same reasons that arterial roads do. Pedal Power ACT said as much back in 2004. At the Belconnen public consultation, 16 February 2004, for the (ACT) Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure 2004, the wombat crossings were requested on Catchpole Street, Redfern Street, and Lyttleton Crescent. 18 years later, they have not been built.
Some sections need maintenance, too. It has been on the to-do list for a long time. There is such a backlog of maintenance required on cycle paths in the ACT, that it is hard to know where to start. I am hard-pressed to say why Aranda hill should be first, but I hope, one day, that the ACT Government gets on top of this.
Update 13 February 2021 Aranda
The lower section of the Aranda bike path (C5) has been resurfaced following the 2020 ACT Election but is already cracking due to tree roots. The root cause of the cracking previously was also the trees. This problem is well understood as asphalt reshapes itself to the underlying ground like a glacier. Asphalt is more like plasticine than concrete. If we built better quality bike paths to the prescribed standards (ACT Active Travel Standard Drawings and Austroads recommendations), we could avoid such issues.
Other problems such as stormwater washing silt onto the paths remain and will do so until the paths are protected with drainage to capture the water from the surrounding park.
Finally, the last photo shows a rest for cyclists that has been knocked over and since replaced. The cause of the problem is a 6o km/h minor collector crossing a Principle Community Route. The ACT Active Travel design standards require a Priority Crossing at such intersections due to the high danger of conflicts.