Which route to Belconnen through Molonglo 3?

National Arboretum, looking towards Whitlam

Between 2030 to 2035, the Molonglo 3 East Future Urban Area will open up new ways to ride to Belconnen from south to north. Austroads recommends gradients below 5% for comfortable riding. Direct routes are preferred. What route options does Molonglo 3 East provide? Below we consider routes from John Gorton Drive Bridge to Kippax Group Centre and Belconnen Town Centre.

Related

Contents

  1. The best route
  2. Molonglo 3 East bicycle network
  3. Gradient analysis
  4. Route analysis
  5. Route to Kippax
  6. Route to Belconnen Town Centre
  7. Stromlo Forest Park to Belconnen

The best route

The map below shows the bike paths we can expect to see in the Molonglo Valley between 2030-2035. The East West Arterial and second bridge over the Molonglo River are unlikely to be finished by then.

This section discusses three maps (figure 1, 2 and 3).

  • Figure 1 shows the proposed cycle path network through Molonglo 3 East by 2030-2035. The network consists of a Northern Corridor, Southern Corridor, and a bike path along Coppins Creek.
  • Figure 2 shows the gradients of the Molonglo 3 bike paths that are important for climbing the hill from the river to Belconnen in the east and west.
  • Figure 3 shows the preferred routes west to Kippax and east to Belconnen Town Centre.

Molonglo 3 East bicycle network

Molonglo 3 East cycle infrastructure annotated with information from Figure 11 cycling network , Appendix C – WSP, Options Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, July 2020,, 27. Map: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.
Figure 1: Molonglo 3 East cycle infrastructure annotated with information from Figure 11 cycling network , Appendix C – WSP, Options Report, Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, July 2020, 27. Map: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Gradient analysis

The paths climbing north through the Molonglo Valley from Molonglo River and William Hovell Drive (Molonglo Stage 3) are shown in figure 2. The assumption here is that we ride across the Molonglo River at the bridge on John Gorton Drive, which is the only bridge that will be finished before 2030.

The flattest routes are in the east and west on Sculthorpe Avenue (8%), Whitlam, and Coppins Creek path (2.5%). John Gorton Drive is built over a local hill and is too steep to ride with a 300m section that has a gradient of 12.4%. This arterial is designed for cars and has the maximum gradient permitted for roads in the ACT. Much lower gradients are required for the average cyclist. Austroads Standards for bike paths (AGRD06A) recommends gradients below 5%.

Table 1: Maximum recommended gradients (%) by mode

For Pedestrians, the maximum gradient is defined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), and no steps are permitted.

ModeMaximum gradientShort sections maximum
Motor vehicle12.4%
Bus8%
Light rail4.5%8% (not sustainable)
Bicycle5%8% (not sustainable)
Pedestrian (DDA)5%
Which route to Belconnen through Molonglo 3? The gradients on the main routes through Molonglo 3.
Figure 2: Which route to Belconnen through Molonglo 3? The gradients on the main routes through Molonglo 3. Maps: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Route analysis

With this information, we can now consider the best route for a cyclist on the available bike paths from John Gorton Drive Bridge to Belconnen between 2030 and 2035. Two routes are considered. The GREEN route to Kippax Group Centre in West Belconnen. The BLUE route to Belconnen Town Centre in Central Belconnen. For the latter, the CBR Cycle Route C5 is the best option, parallel to Bindubi Street. Both routes start at the Sculthorpe Avenue / John Gorton Drive intersection. The John Gorton Drive Bridge will be completed as part of John Gorton Drive Stage 3C, with luck, by 2025.

It is worth noting that arterial roads do not provide the best route for bicycles as roads are designed for cars and not bikes. A bicycle path adjacent to a road inherits gradients from the road. The Austroads Standards for bicycle paths (AGRD06A) only finds proper application in dedicated cycle corridors. Bicycle corridors are different in nature to road corridors and light rail corridors.

If we designed cycle highways through strategically planned cycle corridors using the Austroads Standards for bicycle paths (AGRD06A), we would dramatically increase the ‘commuting to work by bike’ participation.

Riding from the intersection between Sculthorpe / John Gorton Drive and Belconnen along the best route (Austroads Standards) between 2030-2035. Two routes are considered. The green route to Kippax Group Centre in West Belconnen. The blue route to Belconnen Town Centre in Central Belconnen. For the latter the CBR Cycle Route C5 is the best shot from Bindubi Street. Maps: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.
Figure 3: Riding from the intersection between Sculthorpe Avenue / John Gorton Drive and Belconnen along the best route (Austroads Standards) between 2030-2035. Two routes are considered. The green route to Kippax Group Centre in West Belconnen. The blue route to Belconnen Town Centre in Central Belconnen. For the latter, the CBR Cycle Route C5 is the best shot from Bindubi Street. Maps: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.

Route to Kippax

In numbers

10.6km, climb 195m, descent 168m, and a 8% maximum gradient

In words

The route to Kippax Group Centre skirts the hill on John Gorton Drive by following the arc of Sculthorpe Avenue, which has a gradient of only 8% (bus route), before following the William Hovell Drive cycle path up the hill to Higgins. Holt has little in the way of cycle paths. Quiet roads will have to do. Follow Drake Brockman Drive along the ridge, before descending into the valley on Cussen Street, Fullagar Crescent, and Hardwick Crescent, thereby arriving at Kippax.

Kippax Group Centre currently has horrible cycle infrastructure, but hopefully it will be improved with the redevelopment of the Kippax Precinct by 2030-2035.

Route to Belconnen Town Centre

In numbers

8.1km, climb 130m, descent 87m, and a 5% maximum gradient

In words

The route to Belconnen Town Centre crosses Molonglo 3 East along the Southern Collector before following the cycleway along Coppins Creek past Molonglo 3 Group Centre. The Bindubi Street Extension path will bring us to William Hovell Drive, where we join the CBR Cycle Route C5 for the rest of the journey. The steepest section is climbing the Aranda hill on the CBR Cycle Route C5 – which we know well.

Stromlo Forest Park to Belconnen

An alternate comparison for those living on the south side. Stromlo Forest Park is a popular destination. The RED route is over the John Gorton Drive Bridge. The PURPLE route is the CBR Cycle Route C5.

Stromlo Forest Park to Belconnen: comparing two routes . Curently the only route is the CBR Cycle Route C5 along the river to Glenloch Interchange. In the early 2030s, Molonglo 3 East will permit an alternate route along Coppins Creek. Maps: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.
Stromlo Forest Park to Belconnen: comparing two routes. Currently, we ride CBR Cycle Route C5 along the river to Glenloch Interchange. In the early 2030s, Molonglo 3 East will permit an alternate route along Coppins Creek. Maps: VeloMap, OpenStreetMap and contributors.
The second of two favoured designs. Northern Collector between John Gorton Drive and William Hovell Drive, but now the Southern Collector stops at the group centre. The crossing at the south end of the group centre is for active travel only, including the ITP (light rail). The road past the group centre north is not a collector. 2021 WSP Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, Transport Modelling (draft), WSP, January 2021, 11.
Molonglo 3 East active travel design with light rail. The second of two favoured designs. Northern Collector between John Gorton Drive and William Hovell Drive, but now the Southern Collector stops at the group centre. The crossing at the south end of the group centre is for active travel only, including the ITP (light rail). The road past the group centre north is not a collector. 2021 WSP Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study, Transport Modelling (draft), WSP, January 2021, 11.

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