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Bob Brown’s new vision for Canberra gains traction

By 12 January 2011 15

Parliament House

The ABC brings word that the Tasmanian Green Senator Bob Brown’s new grand vision for the sacred geometry of the parliamentary triangle is attracting some praise:

Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown is proposing a footbridge be built from London Circuit over Vernon Circle to City Hill, with a walkway extending along Commonwealth Avenue to Capital Hill.

He says the Democracy Walk would include signs and information about Australia’s political history.

The Department of Finance has costed a feasibility study at $370,000.

The ACT Government is keen as long as they don’t have to pay for it.

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15 Responses to
Bob Brown’s new vision for Canberra gains traction
KB1971 1:11 pm
12 Jan 11
#1

The series of shared/walking paths already there not enough?

la mente torbida 1:34 pm
12 Jan 11
#2

Call me a cynic, but where does Bob stay in Canberra when parliament is sitting?

Buzz2600 1:36 pm
12 Jan 11
#3

I think its a good idea and one that could combine the ambitions of the Immigration Bridge people? Connecting civic to the lake is useful for pedestrians and cyclists – allows us to avoiding the commonwealth bridge rat run.

Only one suggestions – make it a nice wide bridge – so that cyclists and pedestrians can’t annoy each other.

troll-sniffer 1:39 pm
12 Jan 11
#4

Just between you and me and people with vision (ie none of you short-sighted politician types need read on, you won’t take it in)… the whole Northbourne Ave to PH axis could benefit from some real lateral thinking.

Northbourne Ave should be buried from somewhere approaching London Circuit to emege on the far side of City Hill, freeing up a swathe of the city to walkers, cyclists and the like, to wander seamlessly from the current city centre over to the new and expanding city west in all its different forms. The current plan involving diverting traffic around London Circuit is symptomatic of a bureaucracy and government with about as much long term vision as an earthworm.

The pedestrian and other accessways right through from the city to PH over Commonwealth Avenue Bridge could be made many times more pleasant by a clever engineering solution involving some sort of segregated walkway, either out to the side or tucked in underneath somewhere. As with most of society’s transport infrastructure, pedestrians and other non-polluting transport means have alweays been relegated to a distant second class after the almighty infernal combustion engine.

I’m sure there are many other possibilities for making the inner sacnctum of Canberra less reliant on and polluted by the noise and fumes of cars and trucks, but the chances of them ever seeing the light of day with the insipidness of planning in this city are pretty bloody small methinks.

H1NG0 1:40 pm
12 Jan 11
#5

I have previosuly had thoughts on how to utilise what is currently the City Hill wasteland. It desperately needs to be utilised as a sort of central park for Canberra and the way to do this is not by half-arsed means like walkways, but by eliminating Vernon Circle all together. The best solution (although expensive) would be to tunnel from the intersection of London circuit under City Hill and it would connect in a straight line to Commonwealth Avenue. Vernon Circle would become a paved walk rather than a road thus maintaining the current geometry. The new Section 63 would allow the rear of those buildings to open up onto the park and create a great front for Cafe’s, bars and restaurants. This would expand in the future once the planned land bridge over Parkes Way is built allowing waterfront access as well.

I know, I am dreaming but it would be nice.

Felix 2:03 pm
12 Jan 11
#6

I’ve got a lot of sympathy with comments from Troll Sniffer and H1NGO – planning in Canberra is pretty unimaginative and seems to be pretty much circumscribed by cars and developers…what you’re talking about is really interesting, but I doubt there’s any real chance of it happening.

Maybe Bob Brown’s proposal would at least be something and, given we’re talking federal funding, it might be something that actually happens.

Jerry Atric 2:10 pm
12 Jan 11
#7

troll-sniffer said :

Northbourne Ave should be buried from somewhere approaching London Circuit to emege on the far side of City Hill,

Anyone who has seen the Plaza Maior in Madrid or most piazzi in Italy, will realise that our Sydney and Melbourne buildings were built inside out. Arcades should surround space not enclose service areas. While the internal parts of the buildings (once residential flats! My parents lived there after they married) could be modified and utilised better (back to the flats?) what is really required is to connect the two buildings with colonnades and open (market?) spaces, and removing the through traffic.

I think that the last time this space was used for true community purposes was the celebration for the end of WW2, where everyone danced the hokey pokey

Of course this is a pipe dream and will be opposed by the Canberra Centre capitalists.

Holditz 2:12 pm
12 Jan 11
#8

What? No! This would disturb the possums and The Old Hobo who is settled in the trees with his beer bottles, across from the Canberra Theatre.

Beau Locks 2:29 pm
12 Jan 11
#9

This is a good idea, won’t cost squillions (compared to bunging Northbung underground), and will sit perfectly with any future plans to open up City Hill and stop Northborne from cleaving the city in two.

I cycle along Commonwealth Avenue most days, and at different times of the day. When you’re on a bike you notice a lot more that’s going on around you than when you’re in a cage. One thing that I notice, especially during the day, is a pretty high number of tourists (no doubt confused and infuriated by ACTION, but also doing what tourists do in other cities, which is to walk and get a feel for the burg) bumbling along trying to get to or from the parliamentary triangle. It’s pretty embarrassing watching people try and navigate along the wasteland between city hill and the Commonwealth Ave bridge. They usually have a perplexed look on their faces, as if to wonder out loud why on earth they’re crossing exit points on an 80km/h road, walking on a pissy 1200mm wide footpath, and why there isn’t anyone else or any other activity apart from like minded tourists.

It would also help if that whole swathe was really ‘activitated’. Having caffs etc at Vernon Circle, as suggested by H1NGO, is a solid idea, as would a NewActon style development (the only private development that’s been well done in Canberra in my life) where the stoopid footsal slab and ‘temporary’ carparks are along the western side of Commonwealth Ave. (The conversation about how soul-less Northborne is between the city and Dickson can be had another day.) Top work Bob. Pity our own council didn’t come up with it.

red_dog 2:32 pm
12 Jan 11
#10

Good move. I’d love to see pedestrian and cycle access from Civic to PH improved. Why not continue the said pedestrian/cycleway all the way up the centre of Northbourne? Oh that’s right … cars might have to stop and give way … silly me.

Pork Hunt 6:04 pm
12 Jan 11
#11

A tunnel is under City Hill is a great idea. I hope they use time honoured construction methods and build it one lane each way initially. When widening occurs a fortnight after the grand opening, the govt can also incorporate a “collapse” into the new design…

Rollersk8r 2:03 pm
13 Jan 11
#12

I like the concept although don’t understand exactly what’s being proposed? It’s being referred to as “Canberra’s Champs Elysee”. The Champs Elysee is a grand tree-lined boulevard, and this seems to be a bridge!?

Also like the idea of Northbourne going underneath Capital Hill. Although don’t Stanhope and Barr want to cut off Northbourne at London Circuit to discourage its use as a main traffic route?

troll-sniffer 4:00 pm
13 Jan 11
#13

Rollersk8r said :

Also like the idea of Northbourne going underneath Capital Hill. Although don’t Stanhope and Barr want to cut off Northbourne at London Circuit to discourage its use as a main traffic route?

There are definite mutterings towards that goal but given that there really is no alternative for vehicles undertaking the Northbourne Ave crawl, it would have little impact on the number of vehicles, it would just create longer and longer traffic queues. At least bunging the cars below ground level for half a kilometre in the vicinity of City Hill would allow free passage down this primary axis.

The City Hill ‘tunnels’ wouldn’t need to be built as such, they would only need to be excavated far enough into the hill to whack a cover and some turf etc back over the top. A bit bigger project that the current Kings Avenue flyover, but not excessively so you’d think.

dustytrail 4:56 pm
13 Jan 11
#14

Bob Brown. Ha ha ha. I presume he would want this “Walkway” named the Bob Brown Democracy Walk or something. He doesn’t even live here so tell him to bugger off.

dustytrail 5:03 pm
13 Jan 11
#15

I had a dream/nightmare back in around 1988 that City Hill was going to be gouged out and made into and underground car park. I’m surprised that the ACT Government hasn’t thought of it, yet. At least in my dream, the hill remained green.

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