WSP: Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study

The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study is a combination of engineering (WSP) and urban design (RobertsDay). This article outlines what is in the report for cycling. This article focuses on the reports from WSP.

The planning and infrastructure study is a very long document (540 pages) consisting of a main report and many appendices, written by the consultant WSP and others by RobertsDay. The work was completed between May 2020 and March 2021. The appendices contain a mix of reports, workshops, and drawings. RobertsDay published the early work in 2020 and WSP later in 2021. This article focuses on the Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study reports from WSP.

Related

The challenges of the topography in Molonglo 3 East and the staging of the Future Urban Area (FUA) is discussed here.

The importance of the intersection connecting Molonglo 3 East with William Hovell Drive and Bindubi Street is discussed here.

The East West Arterial / bridge and the C10 City to Molonglo Cycleway is discussed here.

The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study and the reports written by the consultant RobertsDay is discussed here.

Contents

  1. Instructions to plan a suburb
  2. Outcomes Report, March 2021
  3. Background Review, May 2020
  4. Options Report, July 2020

Instructions to plan a suburb

The Phase 1 report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, from WSP (March 2021) contains the instructions to build a suburb. Molonglo 3 East unlike Whitlam will not be terraformed with difference is ground levels of 5m or more. Rather, the intention is to build the Future Urban Area (FUA) around the contours of the landscape. The street design from RobertsDay (see Design Principles) expects the buildings to conform to and step up the landscape. As the average gradients of the area are high and the maximum gradients very high (see topography), there is no option to flatten it out. Further, 16% of the runoff is expected to come from outside the FUA, predominately from the rear side of the National Arboretum. All this water has to be funnelled away, and due to the gradients has considerable velocity (energy) that would cause flooding and damage to unprotected structures. Considerable thought needs to be given to channelling water from the development consistent with WSUD.

Water sensitive urban design (WSUD) – Water sensitive urban design is the planning, design or construction of the built environment to minimise water runoff and ensure any runoff causes the least amount of damage. It is also about the wise use of that water to improve our urban environment, such as the Dickson Wetlands.

City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 77.

The next stage after this report is the civil engineering design of the FUA. This has gone to tender (53971.RFT.01). The required work is described in the design brief with rather long title: Major Projects Canberra, Infrastructure Delivery Partners, Molonglo 3 East, Preliminary Roads and Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy and Concept Plans, 4 August 2021.

What is the purpose of the tender?

The Consultant is expected to lead a multi-disciplinary team of engineers and other professionals to deliver this consultancy. The project comprises two distinct yet integrated sub-projects:

1 Strategic design of key roads, bulk earthworks and stormwater structures; and
2 Urban Water Management Strategy and Concept Master Plans.

Major Projects Canberra, Infrastructure Delivery Partners, Molonglo 3 East, Preliminary Roads and Earthworks Design, Urban Water Management Strategy and Concept Plans, 4 August 2021, 9.

The final study report is to be delivered by June 2022, about the same time as the recommendations report for another tender for a detailed traffic study of the Molonglo Valley area (38561-DOC-130). With luck, we may have a Concept Plan for Molonglo Stage 3 East in 2022. Currently, this is the best we have.

Outcomes Report, March 2021

Source: WSP, Phase 1 Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021.

KEY COLLECTOR ROADS
There are three main collector roads servicing Molonglo 3.

1 Bindubi Street Extension

Bindubi Street extension connects from William Hovell Drive to the northern end of John Gorton Drive to prevent significant traffic volumes from entering the central portion of the precinct around the Group Centre and schools.

2 Southern Collector Road

This connects the southern end of John Gorton Drive south to the future East-West Arterial Road that links into the Tuggeranong Parkway. The road will be in the centre of neighbourhood units to provide maximum access to the bus route it will include.

3 Group Centre Slow Speed Collector

This collector road connects between the other two and is designed to be a slow speed environment due to the Group
Centre, High School, and non-Government Schools that directly front onto it. The layout of the concept plan is designed in such a way that through traffic should not need to use this road – only local traffic.

GROUP CENTRE/SCHOOLS

The centrally located Group Centre will be a mixed-use zone benefiting from its location fronting onto Coppins Creek. It will
be a predominantly car-free area with parking regulating to the perimeter, to prioritise pedestrian and active travel movements. The inter-town public transport corridor will interface with the group centre, with a stop located at the end of a linear open space that separates the retail centre from the potential non-government school. By locating the stop here, both students and centre users are provided a safe and convenient access to their desired location.

A high school is located on the southern side of the slow speed collector road. The school is within a 3-minute walk of the
IPT stop; however, bus stops will be located on the collector road to provide access to both schools and the group centre.

Figure 6.6 Design Concept Plan, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 32
Figure 6.6 Design Concept Plan, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 32
Figure 6.6 Design Concept Plan, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 32

Classification Function

Movement corridor

Facilitates movement of all modes through the precinct. It will be the main access for private vehicles to travel to residential areas or the commercial and community centres.

Focussed along the main corridors shown in the design concept plan. There will be some sections that have a higher movement or place function whilst still being primarily a movement corridor.

The movement corridors are not limited to solely private vehicle movement. Along these corridors sufficient space and priority should be given to cyclist and public transport modes. They will accommodate a number of different modes including the IPT service and local bus and strategic walking and cycling networks.

Within the Molonglo site, movement corridors will primarily provide access from bordering strategic roads with the group centres, schools and other local facilities.

Vibrant streets

Corridors that balance the need for movement through the precinct whilst activating the street frontage to create a vibrant community and commercial centre.

These corridors are shown around the local centres and schools. There will be a need for all movement modes around these nodes, however the value of these places for pedestrians and cyclists needs to be retained. e.g.; safety, high quality pedestrian environment.

Places for people

Corridors that prioritise the safe and efficient movement of people with a sense of place. These corridors will be more pedestrian friendly and will prioritise the place function over movement needs.

Within Molonglo 3, the main street connecting the northern and southern collectors will encourage people to walk and dwell whilst minimising the impact of motor vehicles.

The main street, whilst being a place for people will also have higher movement needs. This street is given this Movement and Place category to encourage an environment which helps limit traffic through this area. A core principle of this network is to focus the traffic to the movement corridors and establish an environment which limits vehicle traffic past the group centre.

This can be achieved with slow speed environment, shared zones and other traffic calming measures.

This street may also be classified as a vibrant street, however the aim is to create a strong pedestrian environment and reduce the general traffic as much as possible.

Local streets

Slow speed environments comprising of the majority of residential streets within Molonglo.

The main function of local streets is to form the basis of the neighbourhoods, facilitating local access and providing recreational opportunities.

Note that local streets have not been included in limited detail in this concept plan. Phase 2 of this project will investigate the local streets function and layout in more detail.

WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 53
Figure 7.2 Movement and Place Classification, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 52
Figure 7.2 Movement and Place Classification, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 52

7.7 ACTIVE TRAVEL NETWORK

7.7.1 ACTIVE TRAVEL PRINCIPLES

Active travel provides the most sustainable and healthy mode of transport for local trips within the precinct, longer distance commuter routes and as a recreational activity.

The active transport principles for the Molonglo 3 East precinct include:
Provide Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant footpaths on both sides of all collector roads and local roads where appropriate.
Provide a mix of separated pedestrian and cyclists paths, as well as providing shared paths and shared zones to create an environment that accommodates and prioritises active transport, are that are designed to cater for the demand and minimise conflicts.
– Establish a network of bike paths, running tracks and potentially integrating an exercise courses across the precinct.
– Leverage the unique position of the development to tie in active transport with existing paths in the National Arboretum. …
– Provide enclosed walking connections between key buildings in the group centre, where practical.
– Accommodate a bike/scooter share program within the precinct, with pick up/drop off zones at key locations such as the group centre, local centres, schools and public transit stops.
Avoid or limit impact of steep gradients within the Molonglo 3 site.

WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 66.

7.7.3 CYCLING CONSIDERATIONS

Cycling provision within the Molonglo 3 East precinct should seek to accommodate local, commuter and recreational cyclists.

The Molonglo 3 site is strategically placed adjacent to the existing Belconnen – Tuggeranong Cycle Route (ed. See CBR Cycle Route C5) and proposed Molonglo Valley Commuter Link (ed. See CBR Cycle Route C10 City to Molonglo). Improving connection to this link and extending it to other development sites within the Molonglo Valley will provide future residents with excellent cycling connectivity to the City Centre.

Locally, the network should seek to connect residents with group centres, school and IPT stops for interchange as well as connecting residents to the Molonglo Valley Commuter Link for onwards travel.

WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 67.
CBR Cycle Routes enlargement C5 and C10, Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool
CBR Cycle Routes enlargement C5 and C10, Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool, 2021.

7.7.4 PROPOSED ACTIVE TRANSPORT NETWORK

The proposed active transport network seeks to balance local needs with those of visitors and is shown in Figure 7.22.

The network will consist of on road footpath, off road trails, shared paths and dedicated cycling facilities. Whilst the majority will be adjacent to roads, specific links will be created between key destinations and the minimise changes in height as much as possible:
– The Molonglo 3 site will benefit from some of the most picturesque vistas within the territory. Linking the National Arboretum site with the Molonglo River through Green Links will help to merge them through the urban site. Recreational paths will be created on both the green links and around Coppins Creek, to encourage active transport and link residential sites with these natural features.
– Extension of the Molonglo Valley Commuter Link (ed. C10) is provided across the Tuggeranong Parkway and will run north of the proposed East-West link road.
– To the north of the proposed East-West link, a new shared cycle and pedestrian route will be created. This will border both the southern Primary School and Group Centre. The route will provide direct access between the southern part of the site, the Molonglo Valley Commuter Link and key amenities.

WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 67.

Figure 7.22 Proposed active transport network, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 67
Figure 7.22 Proposed active transport network, WSP, Outcomes Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, March 2021, 67

Background Review, May 2020

Source: Appendix A – WSP, Background Review, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, May 2020.

In relation to shared paths and cycling routes, principles and policies include:
– Shared paths (bicycle/pedestrian) will provide access to key features within Molonglo and North Weston including the river corridor, group centre and small group centre, local centres, Stromlo Forest Park and the Canberra International Arboretum and Gardens, generally in accordance with Figure 3.2 (ed. See Concept Plain in figure 2 below from 2010. John Gorton Drive route is horribly dated!). The paths will also connect to existing shared paths that link Molonglo with the City and the districts of Belconnen, Weston Creek and Woden Valley.
– Provision will be made for open space links between Stromlo Forest Park, Molonglo River corridor, and the National Arboretum and Gardens suitable for equestrian, cycling and pedestrian use
– That part of the Bicentennial National Trail between Uriarra Road in the west to the concrete causeway over the Molonglo River in the east (ed. Clos Crossing) will be replaced by a suitably located mixed use off-road trail, linking Stromlo Forest Park and the National Arboretum and Gardens.

WSP, Background Review, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, May 2020, 109.
Indicative truck shared paths 26 May 2017. Structure Plan Molonglo and North Weston, effective 25 May 2017
Figure 2: Three development stages in Molonglo Valley and Molonglo commercial centre and environs (shaded)Indicative truck shared paths 26 May 2017. Structure Plan Molonglo and North Weston, effective 25 May 2017

Molonglo Stage 3 Planning Design Framework (summary)

3.2.5 ACTIVE TRAVEL NETWORK

Active travel network requirements for Molonglo Valley Stage 3 include:
– Provide an integrated active travel network including proposed and desired principal, main, and local routes
Explore opportunities for a further pedestrian bridge or crossing of the Molonglo River between Molonglo Stage 3 and the suburb of Molonglo (ed. further discuss but no developments to date).
– Explore opportunities to bring the Canberra Centenary Trail from the National Arboretum through Suburb 3 from its current short term alignment to the south of the Molonglo River, to Stromlo Forest Park. This would provide for a further crossing of the Molonglo River. Explore opportunities to upgrade the Trail through Suburb 3.
Active travel routes, except those for management (multi-use) trails, are generally not permitted within the Molonglo River Reserve (ed. Molonglo River Reserve Cycling Summary).
– The existing low-level bridge at Coppins Crossing and its approaches will be retained and incorporated into the active travel network
– Explore opportunities for active travel networks through and around Suburb 2 and Suburb 3 that link the National Arboretum Canberra with the Molonglo River
– Designated pathways and access points to the Molonglo River are to be provided

WSP, Background Review, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, May 2020, 112.

Options Report, July 2020

Source: Appendix C – WSP, Options Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, July 2020.

Cycling network

Cycling provision within the Molonglo 3 site should seek to accommodate local, commuter and recreational cyclists. Whilst the Molonglo 3 site will have land uses compatible with short journeys a number of barriers to cycling are likely to exist including gradients, interaction with other roads users and crossing of major arterials and highways.

Local streets and Places for People should be low speed environments where cyclists can comfortable share the road space, but separate facilities and off-road paths may be required within Vibrant Streets and Movement Corridors respectively.

Cycling provision within the site will comprise of both separated on-road, shared paths and off-road provision and will seek to provide quick, reliable and safe alternative to the use of private vehicles.

Consideration should be given in design to the proposed users with particular attention given to access to schools and key centres. In additional, adequate and secure cycle parking should be provided at a strategic sites throughout.

1 Northern connections to existing cycle network

Connections to the existing cycle network on William Hovell Drive will require crossing the highway to the north. This is likely to be best achieved through the existing signalised intersection at John Gorton Drive and Bindubi Street. This should be considered in future design.

2 Recreational cycleway on Molonglo Riverfront

A recreational cycle route should be considered for the waterfront areas of the Molonglo River.

These would complement the proposed horse trail and could be integrated with place making particularly around the Group Centre.

Consideration should be given to ensuring the cycleway is environmentally sensitive of its location particularly in terms of lighting and rain runoff.

3 Southern connections to existing cycle network

A number of physical constraints exist at the southern point of the Molonglo 3 site. The site is bordered by the topologically challenging Barrer Hill and thick forest.

It is proposed that the cycleway should run parallel to the proposed East West Arterial route and the Tuggeranong Parkway. Whilst avoiding both features, this route will also provide integrated street lighting and ongoing surveillance during night-time hours.

4 Connection via the National Arboretum

A cycling link connection to the National Arboretum would increase opportunities for recreational cycling for residents. A possible route is identified as an extension of the proposed Green Link running parallel to the proposed horse trail. This route runs south and east of the Arboretum’s Village Centre and benefits from gentler gradients. In addition, the route would connect into the existing cycleway at Barrenjoey Drive.

Currently the National Arboretum is closed during night time hours so alternatives via points 1 and 4 as outlined above would be required during these times.

WSP, Options Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, July 2020, 261.

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