The ACT Report, National Walking and Cycling Participation Survey 2021, now the responsibility of the Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand (CWANZ), confirms what we have long suspected. Cycling as a mode of transport has not increased in the ACT. In the last 10 years, there has been no statistical significant change in the cycling participation. What should we do differently.
When we walk the halls of Planning, Transport and Legislative Assembly in the ACT today, we can be sure that none of those people we see will be there in 30 years. Community groups and councils lobby with MLAs and mandarins, who temporarily fill the roles. Building a cycle network is a long term task, requiring forward-thinking past the current political cycle. The cycle network will take 30 years to build. In that time, Canberra’s population will almost double. City builders think in decades and not years. Cycle corridors reserve the space to build that cycle network.
Molonglo 3 East has been give an optimistic timeline for completion by 2041. The future is wildly uncertain. Projects run routinely longer than planned. This is generally true but certainly true for the ACT Government. We have good intent, but building things is complicated. Environmental approvals can add years to the process and are unpredictable. Recent information on the environmental approval process for the Deep Creek Pond in Whitlam sheds light on this.
Molonglo 3 East is an area bigger than the built area of Write, Coombs and Denman Prospect combined. Just Stage 1 of Molonglo 3 East will likely take just as long to build as Whitlam stages 1, 2, and 3. Molonglo 3 East makes Whitlam look small. Five years for Molonglo 3 East Stage 1 and 20 years for Stages 1 to 4 in total. Stage 5 will come last and likely only after the East West Arterial is finished. Way off, in any case. By that time, Woden CIT and Light Rail Stage 2 (Woden) is finished. Canberra will not be the same place.
The Molonglo 3 East Future Urban Area will open up new ways to ride to Belconnen from south to north around 2030-2035. Austroads recommends gradients below 5% for comfortable riding. Direct routes are otherwise preferred. What route options does Molonglo 3 East provide? We consider routes from John Gorton Drive Bridge to Kippax Group Centre and Belconnen Town Centre.
In recent days, a number of articles have been written about the WSP study. The document obtained from a tender was, however, corrupted. Now a better copy has become available, it will be posted here with all the appendices. The original articles are still relevant, and the link to the corrupted document will be replaced in due course. In the meantime, the documents are available here.
The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study is a combination of engineering (WSP) and urban design (RobertsDay). The content related to cycling is largely found in the reports written by RobertsDay. RobertsDay is facilitating a Movement and Place framework discussion between ACT Transport and ACT Environment on the go. Molonglo 3 East project is about experimentation and innovation. The cycle network is still inconclusive but appears promising.
The topography of Molonglo 3 East demands a reframing of the way planning is done in the ACT. Best practices that apply to the Molonglo valley are not support by the Estate Development Code, Single and Multi-Unit Housing Development Codes and the zoning codes in the Territory Plan. Molonglo 3 East is something new and exciting that will push ACT planing towards an outcomes planning mechanism.
The Molonglo 3 East Future Urban Area (FUA) will be developed last, likely to be built from west to east. This will mean that the last suburb in the Molonglo Valley will be built within a kilometre from Molonglo Stage 1, where it all started. The irony of this is not lost on those who wish to cycle to Civic, as the most direct route would be through both these suburbs. Still, Molonglo 3 East is shaping up nicely and will be worth the wait.
Bindubi St-William Hovell Drive Intersection will change dramatically with the Molonglo 3 East estate development. Bindubi St will be extended into the heart of the Molonglo 3 East. The intersection with William Hovell Drive is expected to be popular with commuters in 2041. A grade separated interchange is planned and the first preliminary sketch plans (PSP) are available. The Feasibility Study Report is attached. Traffic studies show William Hovell Drive will exceed capacity in 2041. Finally, we will need to find space for the light rail. The facilitation of the light rail at the intersection needs to be designed in.