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

A play space everywhere

Play spaces are popping up all over Canberra. Canberra.bike provided a guide to play spaces and this is now updated in this post. A recent announcement by Chris Steel in May 2020 reminded us that there is more to come. Some were already in last years budget but a few have been brought forward as a result of COVID-19 playground closures. There is good news here for everybody.

Categories
family

Need to go: stuck at playgrounds without toilets

With young children, a lot of time is spent looking for a toilet. Public toilets are essential infrastructure for families. Taking your children to a public place means you will need a public toilet. Ride with kids and there is no quick way home. Without a toilet, a visit to the playground will end as soon as your child needs to go.

Categories
family

Denman Prospect Ridgeline Park, Molonglo

Denman Prospect is a new suburb of the Molonglo Valley. Last year the new park and playground was opened before a single house had been built. That has all changed. The playground has become very popular. The residents of Coombs, Wright and Denman Prospect could easily ride to this park – if the kids were up to it 😊

Categories
family

A play space near you: a guide

There are play spaces popping up all over Canberra. Here is an overview of where, and more information on one planned for Coombs, and two found in the Kippax and Calwell town centre master plans. A play ground near you can be found on an OpenStreetMap interactive map.

Overview - Playgrounds in the ACT. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
Overview – Playgrounds in the ACT. Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
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
ride review

Stromlo Forest Park

Stromlo Forest Park lies on the slopes of Mount Stromlo adjacent to the suburb of Wright. Most would know of Stromlo Forest Park for the mountain biking but it is gaining importance as a recreational centre for the Molonglo Valley and the close by suburbs of Coombs, Wright and Denman Prospect.

Categories
urban planning

What is wrong with Molonglo 3 East

A case study for Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief and urban planning of new estates in the ACT.

The ACT Government announced in the 2012 ACT Planning Strategy that it “sought to create a more compact, efficient and inclusive city” The proximity between new suburbs in Molonglo Valley and the city will help encourage commuting to work with a bike and the achievement of goals of the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, but the potential benefit of the proximity of the Molonglo Valley will be largely forfeited without good quality, safe and direct active travel infrastructure. This is currently NOT typical for the Molonglo Valley estate developments.

This ACT Government held an Active Travel Design workshop (12 December 2018) and stated that the background to the new Active Travel Design Guidelines included “poor infrastructure outcomes as a consequence of planning intent getting ‘lost in translation’. My concern is that the failure to systematically integrate active travel principles in the planning process will most likely result in the missed potential to develop active travel facilities in the Whitlam and other new estate developments in Canberra. As human behaviour follows infrastructure, this lack of future-proofing active travel facilities is detrimental to achieving an increase in active travel in the ACT.

Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief design tender (2 December 2019), released by the Major Projects Canberra Infrastructure Delivery Partner Group, is for the first stage design of Molonglo 3 East, but not for Whitlam. It is worth monitoring it as it signals the first planning stage of these new, yet unnamed, suburbs has begun. To quote the brief, the ACT’s Indicative Land Release Program 2019-20 to 2022-23, “proposes 200 blocks be released in the study area by 2022-23.”

Categories
urban planning

Whitlam – Molonglo Valley or South Belconnen?

How far can you ride from Whitlam from the time of the first land release in March 2020? Belconnen is a 20 minute ride. The city is about 30 minutes away, but Coombs is also 30 minutes distant. It is a hard place to get out of, with no off-road bike paths beyond the first 1km. Looking at map 1, it is clear that for active travel Whitlam is part of the Belconnen community.

So should we call it Molonglo Valley or South Belconnen?

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.