Most of us have heard of the light rail and most know that the construction is going to cause disruption. Light Rail Disruption Survey (13 December 2021) tells us that most want to continue driving, and active travel and public transport are for other people to consider – not me. ACT Transport has a problem.
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.
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.
Cycle corridors are the mechanism by which strategic assets (public realm space) can be secured for good, fast cycling infrastructure between town centres for commuting cyclists, thus providing an alternative to driving. The cycle highways will not be finished quickly and they do not have to be. However, they will never be built unless the corridors are reserved and preserved.
On the 32nd anniversary of the first day of sitting of the Legislative Assembly, Active travel was discussed during question time. This time the topic was Gungahlin town centre. Below active travel in the hansard from 11 May 2021.
At the first meeting of the Molonglo Valley Community Forum, the politicians there were not yet particularly influential, but they were at least interested. Most politicians have little knowledge of what is planned for new estates, so it was fortunate that mandarins turned up, too.
In Europe, one common way to get to the nearest light rail stop is with the bike. All you need is a path, dedicated bike parking area when you get there. Woden light rail terminus won’t offer any of that.
Light rail stage 2 has a secure future now that Federal Government funding is forthcoming. When the Federal Government starts promising money for infrastructure projects, you know that a Federal Election is around the corner.
The Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019 expects cost of road congestion in Canberra to increase to $504 million in 2031, up from $289 million in 2016.
The light rail from Civic to Woden has been slowed by the approval process. Central business district projects are always expensive, and this one is no exception. The provisions in the budget have been set at $1.9 billion. Few would claim this is not a big number for the ACT.