Lake Ginninderra was finished in 1974. 48 years later, it is time for renewal. The path around the lake existed goes back to the early 1980s and has now reached end of life. This article includes photos showing the path cracked and decaying. Lake Ginninderra Feasibility Study listed many defects and not one section of the path is particularly good. If we would serious we would fix the path as one big project but a series of little fixes is more likely – and that will take much longer.
Belconnen paths: neglected for 4 decades
“To all those complaining about this much-needed cycling infrastructure improvement, I say, get on your bike and try to ride it, in safety, in the Belconnen Town Centre area and then get back to me. I won’t start on the cycle/shared paths I used for many years commuting from Evatt and McKellar other than to say they appear to have received little to no maintenance since I started using them in the late 1970’s. You need a dual suspension MTB to cope with the bumps and cracks!”Klaus Popp 9:21 pm 09 Oct 19, The RiotACT
Lake Ginninderra priorities
In the second half of the year (2022) we look forward to consulting on the priority improvements with the Belconnen community, ahead of any construction.Transport Minister Steel, Hansard 23 March 2022, ACT Legislative Assembly, 466-471.
- Trouble in paradise
- Lake Ginninderra feasibility study
- Next steps
Trouble in paradise
Lake Ginninderra bike path in Belconnen is a wonderful place to ride on a winter evening. A glorious day and a beautiful place that we love, but the paths need maintenance.
ACT Labor at the 2020 ACT Election campaigned on improving these paths, but we have heard nothing since.
Lake Ginninderra bike path is poorly maintained. The ride is a bumpy one.
The bike path is shared. There is a lot of traffic around the lake. We need to look after each other in the COVID times.
Lake Ginninderra feasibility study
The paths around Lake Ginninderra are 40 years old so that it is not surprising that the Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report (2021) has a long list of work that needs to be done. It will now be interesting to see whether TCCS kicks the can down the road until the next election, or whether it will now fund the detailed planning stage. We are all waiting for the 2022-2023 Budget.
Fixing the Lake Ginninderra paths is a megaproject, and it is likely to be broken into stages. The detailed design is the next stage, and from there it would go to tender in stages. The big ticket item, a new bridge across the lake for pedestrians, will not come until we all scream very loudly – in other words, not in this decade.
6.0 Upgrade Recommendations
On-site investigations were undertaken to both ground-truth the provided audit data and to provide additional observations of asset condition, capacity and function. Data and observations obtained from these investigations, combined with the audit data provide the basis of the proposed upgrade recommendations. These include recommendations for both the upgrade of existing assets and the provision of new assets where required.
These recommendations have been made across the whole of the study site. For ease of manageability and the ability to provide logical groupings of upgrade recommendations they are presented within the connectivity corridor zones.
The recommendations can be broadly grouped into the following categories:
▪ path renewal and wideningLake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 15.
▪ remediation of path drainage issues
▪ remediation of path surface damage issues
▪ new paths to improve path capacity and safety
▪ new paths or extensions to existing paths to improve connectivity in the network
▪ lighting improvements
▪ new seating locations or upgrades to existing seating
▪ new drinking fountain locations
▪ lighting is to be provided to the majority of new path connections which are proposed as part of the upgrade design.
▪ signage upgrades. Additional directional signage is proposed at all new path intersection locations as per Standard Drawings SD 0572. Additional shared path signage is proposed at locations deemed to be lacking adequate existing signage, indicating appropriate path behaviour as per Standard Drawing SD-0580. On road cycling signage is to be included at new on/off road slip lane connections as per Standard Drawing SD 0571.
6.2 Detailed Recommendations
6.2.1 Connectivity Corridor 1
Corridor 1 covers the community path zone which extends from Ginninderra Drive east bridge to the southern edge of John Knight Memorial Park, refer to Drawings 411 and 412. This area has one of the highest usage intensities within the study site, with a large carparking area providing access to playground, bbq and picnic facilities as well as the community path. Strava data indicates that the path within this area is used by weekday commuting cyclists, which adds to the demand placed upon the path.
A section of path within the southern section of Corridor 1 is in the current works program for removal and replacement. It is proposed to continue this replacement of path to either side, (asset numbers 1A and 1B) resulting in a new length of path which also resolves a number of existing path safety and defect issues.
A path drainage issue has been identified on the link path connecting to the University of Canberra (1R and 1S). This is to be remediated through a combination of regrading of adjacent grass surfaces and the introduction of an OCI.
Two options have been proposed to increase capacity of path 1C. As there are existing trees to either side of the path edge which pose a constraint to the widening of the path a separated path is proposed to the edge of the existing bbq area (path 1AC), which would thread between the existing trees. To the north of this a second separated path (path 1AB) is proposed to follow the alignment of the existing gravel access track. The other option is to widen path 1C to 4m where possible.
There are a number of drainage issues along the length of path 1C which will be rectified with a combination of removal and regrading and culvert installation.
A path drainage issue identified to the north of the Ginninderra Drive underpass (1AD) is to be remediated through the regrading of adjacent surfaces to allow for the free flow of water.
An additional path connection (1AD) is proposed to Kangara Waters retirement complex. An existing path stub is to be extended, providing access to the coffee shop within Kangara which is currently utilised by path users. Lighting is proposed to this path connection.
A number of locations for additional seating are proposed within Corridor 1, both to the edge of the existing path and to locations along the proposed separated path, providing additional amenity particularly for elderly residents of Kangara who regularly frequent this section of path.
There are also a number of areas of additional tree planting proposed to the eastern side of the existing path, increasing shade and overall amenity within this area. The design of lighting to the eastern underpass of the Ginninderra Drive Bridge east will be included in the DR phase of the project.
Low Level Bridge Connection
The current path connection which uses the Ginninderra Drive east bridge has a number of safety issues, including the location of light poles to the centre of the path. A proposal has been put forward to construct a low level pedestrian bridge to the south of the road bridge, providing an at grade connection between the eastern and western foreshore which avoids interaction with the road bridge. This bridge would also alleviate the current steep path connections to the road bridge. The low level bridge proposal is considered a long term option.
Short term options have been considered, with the recommendation of providing a connection to the on road cycle lane considered the most viable short term option.
The low level bridge proposal has been provided at this Feasibility Study stage of the project for consideration.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 17.
6.2.2 Connectivity Corridor 2
Corridor 2 covers the central peninsular foreshore edge, extending from Diddams Close east to Diddams Close west. This peninsular contains two recreation areas to the east and west, connected by the Diddams Close access road. The Lake Ginninderra Dog Park is also located within the eastern recreation area.
The overarching proposal in this corridor is the widening of the existing path (Paths 2A, 2B and 2C) to 4m allowing for increased capacity. A number of path defects will be addressed in conjunction with the path widening.
A proposal to formalise the current desire lines which connect the cycle path to the two jetty locations would create more accessible connections to these facilities.
The path area at the eastern end of the corridor adjacent to the Ginninderra Drive underpass contains the following defect issues:
▪ Poor drainage results in path flooding (2D) which will be resolved through path regrading and the installation of culverts and swales
▪ A major desire line cuts across from the main path to the connection to the bridge (2Q). This is to be formalised to become the main path route This path connection is proposed to be lit, with one new light column centrally located,one to the southern end of the new path and an existing light to the northern end of the path being converted to a double sided luminaire.
▪ An area of erosion adjacent to the bridge connection path (2P) causes dirt and gravel to wash across the path. This is to be remediated through stabilisation works
Additional seating is proposed in six locations along the path, with upgrade works proposed to two existing seat locations.
The design of lighting to the western underpass of the Ginninderra Drive Bridge east will be included in the DR phase of the project.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 19.
6.2.3 Connectivity Corridor 3
Corridor 3 extends between the parking areas to Diddams Close east and west. Strava data indicates that this is a route taken by walkers who potentially use this as a walking circuit connecting to the peninsular path. A 2m wide intermediate path (3A) is proposed to be constructed to the verge of Diddams Close, formalising this connection. The existing path connection to the corner of Diddams Close is to be re-aligned to provide a safe road crossing, connecting to the proposed intermediate path.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 23.
6.2.4 Connectivity Corridor 4
Corridor 4 takes in the western foreshore of the lake. The following options have been proposed to increase path capacity within the southern portion of corridor 4:
▪ Provide a separated path (4Y) which follows the alignment of an existing gravel track to the west of the foreshore community path
▪ Provide a second separated path (4X) which again follows an existing dirt track to the east of the foreshore community path. Lighting is not proposed to this new path. It is considered that this path is an optional route, with the adjacent lit path able to be taken if required.
▪ Increase the width of the existing path to 4m to cater for increasing demand
The following additional path connections are proposed to improve connectivity with adjoining residential areas:
▪ An additional connection path (4Z) is proposed which provides a path connection to Joynton Smith Drive. Lighting is proposed to this path connection.
▪ An additional connection path (4AC) is proposed to connect the lake path to the existing crossing point at the intersection of Joynton Smith Drive and Coulter Drive, providing additional access from Florey and the Belconnen Bikeway. Lighting is proposed to this path connection.
A number of path defects have been identified, to be remediated through path and adjacent surface regrading and the installation of culverts.
A number of additional seating opportunities have been identified, primarily to the north of the corridor, along with additional tree planting
The site of the previous Lake Ginninderra Water Police headquarters, located to the north of Emu Inlet, is currently a vacant site. This block of land is currently under the control of the Suburban Land Agency. The SLA have indicated that there are plans to develop this site. This proposed development creates potential conflicts with this project proposal to locate a new path connection between Emu Inlet and the lake circuit path to the north of the Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts hall. This proposed path connection is not to be included within this project scope. For future TCCS and SLA coordination to complete the foreshore path link.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 25.
6.2.5 Connectivity Corridor 5
Corridor 5 extends from Lake Ginninderra College around Emu Bank to the Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts Hall. This corridor includes the urban area of Emu Bank and interface with the Belconnen Town Centre. As such it is a zone of high usage intensity, with numerous destinations within the corridor adjacent to the path.
The foreshore path in the south of the corridor is located adjacent to the Emu Bank developments and the hard edge of the lake. The path width in this area is adequate. The connection path (5A) is proposed to be widened to 4m. Paths (5B and 5C) are also proposed to be widened to 4m.
The existing connection path to Emu Bank (5F) is currently inadequate in width and is impacted by foliage of adjacent vegetation. It is proposed to widen this path along with remediating the vegetation incursions.
A safety issue has been identified to the corner of Emu Bank and Beissel Street with an existing retaining wall impacting site lines of cyclists using the path at this corner. It is proposed to remodel the retaining wall and relocate the sign on top of it to alleviate this issue.
The current upgrade and extension to the Belconnen Arts Centre includes a new path connection which extends from the end of the Emu Bank foreshore path to the path to the edge of Emu Inlet. This path includes a boardwalk connection to the front of the Arts Centre, which is currently under construction. The proposal to link into this path at the end of Emu Inlet, providing a continuous connection between the Sea Scouts Hall to the Emu Bank Foreshore path without interacting with the road at any point, is to be considered at a later date following the development of the ex Water Police site, as described in Section 6.2.4 above.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 29.
6.2.6 Connectivity Corridor 6
Corridor 6 is the Ginninderra Drive section of the path, from the western bridge connection to the east. This section of the lake path necessitates path users to travel directly adjacent to the busy traffic environment of Ginninderra Drive.
The path to the western bridge has a w beam guard rail edging the path the interface of which is a series of sharp steel plates, perpendicular to the path creating a safety issue. It is proposed to provide a cycle appropriate barrier to the edge of this guard rail, a PD1 rail or similar.
The path to the eastern bridge has a series of light poles in the centre of the path which cause conflict between path users travelling in opposing directions. There are both long and short-term options to resolve this issue. The long term option is a low-level bridge as noted in Corridor 1 above and has been put forward as a proposal to consider. This option provides the greatest pedestrian and cyclists connectivity and comfort as it avoids the need to climb the hill to move across the existing bridge. It also provides an opportunity for an additional destination for the lake as a whole with potential for interaction with the water below and dedicated viewing or fishing spots. As a short term option, an on/off road cycle slip lane is proposed at the eastern end of the eastern bridge. This will allow cyclists to enter the lake circuit path network or leave the path network and access the on-road cycle lane. There is an existing on/off cycle slip lane to the western end of the east bridge. Appropriate signage and line marking is to be installed which indicates the start and end of cycle lanes.
In addition to this there are a number of medium term options which could be explored including utilisation of existing road width as additional path or relocating the lighting and changing the light type to be fixed to the side of the bridge.
The following are the safety issues in the corridor directly associated with the road interface:
▪ The path to the western bridge has a w beam guard rail edging the path the interface of which is a series of sharp steel plates, perpendicular to the path creating a safety issue. It is proposed to provide a cycle appropriate barrier to the edge of this guard rail, a PD1 rail or similar.
▪ The path to the eastern bridge has a series of light poles in the centre of the path which cause conflict between path users travelling in opposing directions. A low level bridge as noted in Corridor 1 above, has been put forward as a proposal to consider. In addition to this there are a number of options which could be explored including utilisation of existing road width as additional path.
The path connection to the western bridge contains a number of path defects and a safety issue which has been identified of the existing log barrier directly adjacent to the edge of the path (6F).
The path connection to the eastern bridge also requires rectification of defects and the installation of an on-road off ramp to enable access to the lake path network. An off-road on ramp is also proposed to allow path users to access the on-road path.Lake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 32.
6.2.7 Connectivity Corridor 7
Corridor 7 extends from the eastern Ginninderra Drive underpass to include the path connections to Evatt and McKellar.
Strava data has identified these paths as being used regularly by weekday cycling commuters. The overarching proposal in this corridor is the provision of lighting to the path connections. Through FSP Stage investigations, the project Electrical Engineer identified a number of issues with the proposal to provide lighting within the vicinity of this 132kV sub-transmission line, which extends between Gundaroo Drive and the west of William Webb Drive. These issues include column height and location restrictions, the requirement of an Earth Potential Rise (EPR) study and the requirement of an Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) study. A meeting was held with TCCS Roads Maintenance, Streetlight Assets, 09.06.21, to discuss these issues. The outcome of this meeting was that the design of lighting for this section of path should not proceed as part of this project.
A number of path defects have also been identified in this corridor, including two instances of gravel wash across the path, tree root damage and a drainage issue to the northern section.
Construction works are currently underway for the duplication of Gundaroo Drive, which borders the project site at this Corridor. These duplication works include an on road cycle lane to the southern traffic lane, and new bus stop locations. These duplication works have minor impacts on the project site, with path connections proposed to link into the project path within Corridor 7 and associated path lighting. Coordination with Gundaroo Drive works is to be included within the final DR submissionLake Ginninderra Community Path Feasibility Study Report, Tait Network, 2021, 36.
It was obvious to most of us that the Lake Ginninderra path, after around 40 years, had reached the point that it required renewal. Belconnen is home to 100,000 people now. Lake Ginninderra Feasibility Study has now documented how much needs to be fixed on the path. Unfortunately, without an engineering study like this, the claims from the public are not really taken seriously. The Lake Ginninderra Feasibility Study lists the defects in a way engineers understand. It also makes clear that how great the task will be.
Put simply, the existing path needs to be ripped up, and the whole thing built again. The drainage problems fixed through reconstruction: adding drainage, lifting the ground level, and building the path over the top. The problem with Ginninderra Drive is only solved with a pedestrian bridge, which are expensive. Eventually, the ACT Government will have to commit and fix it properly. The estimate $10-20 million is more than the ACT Government would like to spend.
The plan is instead to fix the path in steps. For this reason, the end of 2022 should see prioritisation workshops. These workshops shop help TCCS identify where it hurts most. By fixing the most contentious areas first, should take the political pressure of the politicians to get the path fixed. TCCS has a reputation for staging big projects like this in small segments. As TCCS is always working on something, they can therefore claim progress, even though the progress is quite slow. The problem canberra.bike has with this approach is the lack of ambition.
Roads may not be build that way. For example, the Majura Parkway was one BIG project worth $288 million and completed in about FIVE years from beginning to end. That is how priority engineering projects are done. Commonwealth Bridge will not be fixed over 10 years but just 3 (2023-2025). Staging the Lake Ginninderra bike path could see renewal take a decade (or more for the bridge across the lake).
We have short memories and forget how hard some have fort to get things fixed. After the fact, we are grateful for what little is done and the pain is quickly forgotten. If we were serious, we would approach the Lake Ginninderra bike path as one big project and fund it to be finished in one electoral cycle. The ACT Government is unlikely to do that but instead buy time and commit to improvements in small stages. Then a decade is no time at all, it just flies by.