Categories
urban planning

John Gorton Drive bridge update

This bridge over the Molonglo River will be the last section of the John Gorton Drive to be completed by 2024. Information about this bridge is found here. The close by Butters Bridge was finished in 2016 but is not yet in use.

Weston Creek Community Council wrote to Chris Steel, Minister for Roads and Active Travel, requesting that John Gorton Drive bridge be brought forward as part of the ACT Government’s Fast Track program. This now seems unlikely.

Categories
family

ACT Environment’s advice to cyclists

The ACT Environment is very accomodating. I think it’s worth noting their advice to cyclists. I will highlight interesting information from ACT Environment in the coming weeks. 

Categories
tips

Woodstock Nature Reserve, Murrumbidgee River

There are a few points where there is easy access to the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, however, they are not very well known. The Murrumbidgee River Corridor has never become popular as a tourist attraction, apart from Cotter Reserve. Pine Island in Tuggeranong, Kambah Pool, and Woodstock Nature Reserve are all worth doing. 

There are a lot of animals in the Murrumbidgee River Corridor, and when I last visited the Woodstock Nature Reserve I saw deer, which was a first for me. Take time to look around as there is much to see. 

Categories
urban planning

When strategies collide: climate change, active travel and environment

The ACT Government goals found in the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, the Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan 2019, and the Active Travel Framework conflict and are difficult to reconcile. These strategies show commonalities but as with any specific project, there will be trade-offs. In the Molonglo Valley, active travel is poorly served.

The ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 goals cannot be met with Recreational Routes, and that is all the Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan 2019 is likely to produce. The Active Travel Framework describes both Recreational Routes and Community Routes. Riding to work must be attractive, direct and safe, if we are to achieve the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 goals for active travel. We need cycle highways and more Community Routes. Only 3% of Canberra’s commuters currently ride to work – and this is actually a downward trend!

The Molonglo Valley Development demonstrates the tensions that arise in urban development. The Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve and Whitlam Residential Estate show no clear benefit for the active traveller. This should be a reason for concern. A good overarching network of cycle highways will not occur by accident.

Categories
urban planning

Case study: the problems of Coppins Crossing

Road design has evolved to put great emphasis on road safety. Many of the road safety terms are for design features and considerations that impact on road safety, particularly vulnerable road users.

The Coppins Crossing is a river level crossing on the Molonglo River. The last section of the Coppins Crossing Road is sandwiched between the north and south sections of the John Gorton Drive duplication but the section around the river crossing remains and will be replaced with a bridge in 2024. The bridge is part of the 1.5km John Gorton Drive 3C Extension (JGD3C). The Coppins Crossing Road descends from the north side 36m into the valley to a level crossing and then ascends again to meet up with the south section of the John Gorton Drive.

Categories
urban planning

Bridge profile: John Gorton Drive bridge

This bridge over the Molonglo River will be the last section of the John Gorton Drive to be completed (2024). There is not a lot of information available about this bridge. The bridge required environmental approval for its construction. Further, the bridge is mentioned in ACT Infrastructure Plan 2019. The following information is an extract from these reports.

Categories
urban planning

Active travel between Whitlam and Denman Prospect

For active travel, we need networks and not just fragments. We want to be able to travel across the city over distances of 10 km and more. When we see an active traveller they are, generally speaking, not travelling to this place but THROUGH it, on the way to somewhere else. It is not clear what their destination is only that they needed to travel through this area. When building the Active Travel Network we are building thoroughfares. 

It is important to understand the way the city is planned and developed. If we want to shape and prioritise the development of a good active travel network it will require interventions during the planning phase. This particularly true for cycle highways for riding to work. The design requirements are different from the paths for recreational riders and locals that seek a destination within a suburb.

Denman Prospect and Whitlam are two suburbs in the Molonglo Valley, south and north of the Molonglo River, and part of the Molonglo Valley Stage 3. Whitlam Residential Estate is now under construction and the planning of the Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve (Nummerak) has proceeded to a development application.

This is a case study of these two independently planned developments that are of particular interest to active travel in the Monlonglo Valley. One of the basic principles of urban planning is “permeability”. Urban environments that are permeable allow easy and direct routes for pedestrians and cyclists independent of the road network. Cars have high travel speeds and ease of travel (effort). For pedestrians and cyclists this is not the case and “ease” means a direct route. How does the Whitlam Residential Estate and the planning of the Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve stack up.

Categories
urban planning

Belconnen to Coombs via the Butters Bridge

I wrote this to highlight the need for north-south bike path between Belconnen and Coombs. Go bike routes are direct and riding to Coombs from Belconnen is anything but direct. This post shows one way such a path could be built. There is space for it and the road crossing points could optimised but unfortunately it is not planned. Further more, the Molonglo Valley active travel routes exclude the Butters Bridge for cycling. I think this is a mistake but there is currently little evidence that this is changing.