CBR Cycle Route C10: Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway

The CBR Cycle Route C10 would make commuting between Coombs and Civic faster and also improve the Molonglo Valley network. Four routes are compared: three already exist and one is new – the C10. CBR Cycle Route C10 is the best.

The ACT Greens proposed a cycle highway from the Molonglo Valley since 2012.

C10 for the commuter

The distance between Coombs and Civic is short as the bird flies. That is one of the reasons that the Molonglo Valley was chosen for development. However, without well-planned cycling infrastructure, this potential will unfortunately not be realised.

The CBR Cycle Routes C5, LBG and C4 already exist. The C10 has been proposed ACT Greens as a cycle highway from the Molonglo Valley since 2012.

Molonglo to Civic: four route options
#Route description
6CBR Cycle Route C10
Coombs – then the bridge over the Molonglo River Reserve, follows the route of an existing management trail to the National Arboretum, leaves the Arboretum before the access road and crosses the Tuggeranong Parkway via 60m long bridge, before connecting with the C5 (see below).
1CBR Cycle Route C5
Coombs – follows the John Gordon Drive and then around Weston Creek Pond joins the shared bike path along the Molonglo River towards the Scrivener Dam and continues along LBG until Civic.
8CBR Cycle Route LBG
Coombs – then follows the John Gordon Drive to Curtin, continues along shared bike path through Curtin and Yarralumla, the path on the south side of LBG, before crossing the lake over the bridge to reach Civic.
9CBR Cycle Route C4
Coombs – then follows the John Gordon Drive to Curtin, continues along shared bike path through Curtin and Yarralumla, the path on the south side of LBG, before crossing the lake over the bridge to reach Civic.
Table 1: Four options and route descriptions

# Options 1 and 6 share the same path on the second half of the journey, past Black Mountain, along Lake Burley Griffin to Civic.

# Options 8 and 9 share the same path on the second half of the journey, past the Parliamentary Triangle before crossing the bridge to Civic.

It is normal for routes to merge like this around town centres.

#Distance (km)Climb (m)Travel time (min) **
Table 2: Four options – quantitative analysis. **(20kmh average)
Graph 1: Four options – which is better?

Comparison with Belconnen

Comparing cycling from the Molonglo Valley with Belconnen makes sense as the straight line distance is almost the same. Commuting times to Civic from the Molonglo Valley improve with the C10. Good and direct bike infrastructure makes sense as it shortens travel times.

From Civic toAs the crow flies (1)Actual cycle distance (2)
Coombs8.3 km15.5 km
Belconnen8.5 km11.4 km
Table 3: Line-of-sight distances versus actual ride distance to Civic
(1) “as the crows flies” is the straight-line distance between the two points
(2) “actual cycle distance” is calculated using actual cycle maps from OpenStreetMap 2020 and Garmin autorouting software; see also map 4 below

What makes the Molonglo Valley difficult?

The Molonglo Valley is a new Canberra district and will have a population of 55,000 people. Just to the south is Weston with as many again. This makes the area the equivalent of Belconnen or Gungahlin by population.

A network of cycle highways is required through the Molonglo Valley to get riders to work. Further active travel links are required across the Molonglo River, too. The Molonglo River valley is steep and the river floods. The Molonglo River Reserve is an environmentally sensitive area. All these factors argue for north/south links at multiple points across the river.

The assessment of the benefits of the C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway is a multifaceted question. It makes commuting by bike between Coombs to Civic faster. The C10 is the first part of a network through the Molonglo Valley. Secondly, Molonglo Valley 3 (north of the river) requires a good network as it is structurally isolated. The C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway is the foundation for a much larger network providing links between Molonglo Valley 3 and Lake Burley Griffin and Molonglo Valley 1 and 2 in the south (currently Wright, Coombs, Denman Prospect).

New cycling bridges are required over the Tuggeranong Parkway and over the Molonglo River. Any change starts with paradigm shifts. If we want to achieve an effective cycling infrastructure, we must include cycling bridges at early planning stages.

Map 4: Molonglo Valley 3 provides links in that network with cycle highways.

Active Travel Network

A network is much more than the sum of its parts. The C10 is justified on its own merits but will become still more valuable over time as the backbone of a much larger cycling network in the Molonglo Valley 3.

All the Molonglo Valley cycleways are to be seen as part of a much larger transition network for commuters from other areas. The distance that commuters ride to work can be as much as 30 km from Belconnen and Tuggeranong.

Map 5: CBR Cycle Routes

Cycle Highways: travelling at speed

The experience of riding on cycle highways is one of speed whilst feeling safe. The C10 between Coombs to the Arboretum can be ridden at speeds of 30kmh. Particularly with electric bikes, the ride speed should be high. For cyclists, road crossings, pedestrians, bumpy surfaces and tight corners are potentially deadly. They also slow you down and stop you riding altogether. With its high design, construction, safety, and maintenance standards the C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway provides the infrastructure that Molonglo Valley residents need.


Note *: The C5 requires a substantial upgrade to get the route up to cycle highway standard. Old infrastructure needs to be upgraded with the C10 feeding into it before the Glenloch Interchange.

Note **: Times do not factor in the varying quality of the paths and safety risks. The quality of old paths is particularly patchy and therefore less safe.

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