Changes to the Belconnen Town Centre are afoot. Belconnen Town Centre Place Planning is a community design process and provides another opportunity to request bike infrastructure along Benjamin Way.
Belconnen existed way back in 1974. Admittedly, it was pretty bare. It all started with a lake and a strange looking government building. Westfield Centre followed with only cars in mind! Allowing Westfield to enter the playing field turned out to be a decision with real and lasting consequences for urban planning in Belconnen Town Centre.
Urban planning reviews have been repeated every decade since. The last one was in 2016. The newest review started just a few months’ ago (Suburban Land Agency, December 2020). The urban space around Westfield can be made a nicer place for people. It is public land so it is YourSay.
There are four open spaces that can be connected up in an otherwise rather crowded town centre. Further, the link to the university could be improved.
Emu Inlet Park
A park on the intersection of Benjamin Way and Emu Bank on the foreshore Lake Ginninderra. Currently closed to construction, this park is still a bit dull. Having said that, it has the best lake views and good connections around the lake.
Margaret Timpson Park
Margaret Timpson Park is past its glory days in the 80s when they partied here. Now it looks rather grey. Colour would help. People do not feel safe walking here despite being under the eyes of The Sentinel. Elections here are exciting with shoppers running the gauntlet between waiving party faithfuls.
If you have been to the circus in Belconnen you would know this area. Most of the time it is just a bare, gravel circular area north of Westfield. It is hard to know what to do with this as it is moated by roads. A Priority Crossing for the Belconnen Bikeway is certainly a must.
On a personal side note, riding to Westfield if you don’t have much to buy is fun… until you hit Westfield. That’s when you start feeling like a Martian and when you encounter loads of people who are clearly in a hurry to get to or to leave the shops!
Lathlain Street has now been dubbed Eat Street. Westfield is separated from the Belconnen industrial area on the hill by nothing more than a green strip of land (demolished police, ambulance and fire station) that extends all the way to the Belconnen Bus Depot. Currently, not pretty, but it could be. Belconnen Town Centre is not flat but a step up of about 8 m above Benjamin Way.
Belconnen Bikeway runs from Florey to Westfield, past the circus area, and then along Emu Bank.
A connecting bike cycle path along Benjamin Way, along the low road, past Westfield (see photo below) is missing. This is also the case along the high road, Lathlain Street (Eat Street). Both are Main Community Routes to CBR Cycleway C5 via Aranda. These bikeways were promised during the 2016 ACT Election and have since been dropped. Time to put it on the map again. 😉 And for poor pedestrians to get grumpy when you ring the bell to get past them on the shared path.
Cyclists rise up
We can promote these cycleways at the public consultation next month. Speak your mind or get left behind. Register here.
Pedal Power ACT missed out on the first round of consultations in 2020. Hopefully they will come on board, too.