You control $13 million to spend upgrading any part of Canberra’s transport network… how would you spend the money?

By 15 May, 2012 65

The ACT Gov recently awarded a $13,000,000 contract to build an extra lane for both directions of Parkes Way from Glenloch Interchange to Edinburgh Ave. As usual, rioters are at odds regarding how Canberra’s transport infrastructure money should be spent.

If you were given the final say in how $13 million was spent on upgrading any aspect of Canberra’s transport infrastructure, what would you spend it on?

( Me? I’d commence building a direct and fully segregated cycle route between Belconnen and Civic. The route would be built with the intention of encouraging at least 20% of people commuting between the town centres to hop out of their cars and onto their bikes, thus freeing up motor vehicle traffic congestion. Initially the route would be between the two town centres, with connections into the hearts of Civic and Belconnen’s business and shopping districts. There would be connections to the uni’s, Calvary hospital and AIS. Once completed, the routes would be similar to this recent cycle route upgrade in the Netherlands. My 2c! )

Please login to post your comments
65 Responses to You control $13 million to spend upgrading any part of Canberra’s transport network… how would you spend the money?
#31
nothappyjan4:03 pm, 15 May 12

p1 said :

With my $13m I would run a full scale experiment to determine if cost is a factor in determining the public’s use of public transport in the ACT.

Specifically – I would make ACTION Bus travel free until the $13m worth of fares run out.

I too reckon this would be a very worthwhile study, and considering the amount wasted on other studies it would not be an unreasonable use of the money.

If making public transport free did not significantly improve the uptake of Action buses then we can finally accept that nothing can be done to improve our public bus services and the ACT Gov could then start providing what the community actually wants and needs, instead what they think we should have and like. So the Gov could stop wasting money on buses and start improving the car parking affordability and availability rather than punishing people who want or need to use their cars. Big cities can make public transport work, but perhaps we could accept Canberra is just not big enough and stop punishing those who drive, regardless of whether they need or just want to.

If free buses actually did result in a massive uptake then perhaps we could try a $1 per trip system to help cover the basic costs which will increase. Having some of the best paid bus drivers in the world probably doesn’t help Action turning a profit, but it is not unreasonable to expect that public transport is subsidised in such a small town. This would also result in less cars during peak minute which would also help those that can’t reasonably use public transport as there will be more parking available and less cars on the road. Perhaps the cost of parking could also be eased or not increased as often as the need to punish drivers would be reduced.

So a study to see whether free, or almost free, Action buses would really work is a great idea to rationally justify how our Gov can actually improve our lives by spending our money on either public or private transport systems which is based on the real needs and wants of the people.

#32
wildturkeycanoe4:21 pm, 15 May 12

The cycle path you linked to cost 1.5 million Euros for a 2km stretch [Total of 4km]. Our $13 million wouldn’t get us half way between Belco and Civic, even if we had an old unused road for a starting point. Also, you didn’t mention that all this was possible because of construction of a freeway, making the old road redundant. Also, Canberra isn’t a dead flat plateau, we have a mountain standing in the way. Dream on.

#33
PrinceOfAles4:46 pm, 15 May 12

If I had $13,000,000 to spend I would spend it on adding a 3rd lane to Parkes Way. I would also find a bit more $$$ to tunnel under Coranderrk and Anzac Pde intersections.

#34
jasmine5:48 pm, 15 May 12

I wouldn’t use buses anyway because I have IBS but it would be interesting to see if cost is a factor (disregarding for a moment other issues like picking up and dropping off kids, seeing clients during work hours, disabilities etc).

When I did use buses one thing was the system whereby you have to change for what are fairly short bus journeys but that may have changed since back then.

#35
Grail6:05 pm, 15 May 12

Jasmine, the easiest way to see whether a bus would serve your needs (IBS aside, my sympathy to you on your predicament) is to check out Google Transit. As an example, here’s a trip plan to get from Want Place, Latham to Furzer Street, Woden (I figure there won’t be many people like me living in Isabella Plains and working in Dickson): https://www.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&f=d&dirflg=r&hl=en&saddr=Want+Place,+Latham,+Canberra&daddr=Furzer+Street,+Phillip,+Canberra&ttype=arr&date=5/16/12&time=8:45am

#36
jasmine6:19 pm, 15 May 12

Thanks Grail. That link is pretty cool, makes the planning much easier. On most days I could possibly do short trips, but it is a bit out of my comfort zone. :)

#37
molongloid7:23 pm, 15 May 12

DrKoresh said :

molongloid said :

If it does I’d like to know the route.

Uh… It runs parallel to Belconnen way/Barry drive. You really can’t miss it. :|

That was my hope. But it seems that it still squiggles through the AIS and O’Connor, per:

FioBla said :

The cycle routes are marked cyan in this map:
http://www.opencyclemap.org/?zoom=15&lat=-35.26633&lon=149.09868&layers=B00

#38
HenryBG7:25 pm, 15 May 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

The cycle path you linked to cost 1.5 million Euros for a 2km stretch [Total of 4km]. Our $13 million wouldn’t get us half way between Belco and Civic, even if we had an old unused road for a starting point. Also, you didn’t mention that all this was possible because of construction of a freeway, making the old road redundant. Also, Canberra isn’t a dead flat plateau, we have a mountain standing in the way. Dream on.

Yes, we already spend far, far more per cyclist in Canberra on cycle paths than they do in Holland, Denmark, or anywhere else for that matter, and still nobody’s interested.

4km of dead-flat path might attract plenty of cyclists, but 10km of viciously steep path will never do so – there aren’t that many people who are willing to arrive at work stinking of sweat and chance a heart attack on the way home.

Cycling within town centres should be the strategy – cycling between them is not an option open to any but cycling fundamentalists, and the costs of the paths required to make that tiny group happy is not a cost the ACT ratepayer should be burdened with.

#39
buzz8197:57 pm, 15 May 12

Grail said :

Jasmine, the easiest way to see whether a bus would serve your needs (IBS aside, my sympathy to you on your predicament) is to check out Google Transit. As an example, here’s a trip plan to get from Want Place, Latham to Furzer Street, Woden (I figure there won’t be many people like me living in Isabella Plains and working in Dickson): https://www.google.com/maps?ie=UTF8&f=d&dirflg=r&hl=en&saddr=Want+Place,+Latham,+Canberra&daddr=Furzer+Street,+Phillip,+Canberra&ttype=arr&date=5/16/12&time=8:45am

So… over an hour to travel 20 minutes? That’s ridiculous….

#40
Sandman8:58 pm, 15 May 12

So with this direct cycle route from Belconnen business district to Civic, who does that benefit other than the many thousands of public servants who live in Belconnen Westfield and work in the city? I would have thought that the part of the journey via Oconner ridge or Parkes way would be the easy part for cyclists. If they can’t get out of the suburbs easy then they still won’t cycle.

#41
Nightshade10:42 pm, 15 May 12

p1 said :

With my $13m I would run a full scale experiment to determine if cost is a factor in determining the public’s use of public transport in the ACT.

Specifically – I would make ACTION Bus travel free until the $13m worth of fares run out.

Do you think people don’t catch the bus because of the cost, rather than the magical mystery tours?

I checked out Google Transit to see what it suggested. Two options, actually by relatively direct routes: but they still take 1 hour 27 minutes and 1 hour 15 minutes. If I pick my time right, driving takes 25-30 minutes door to door. I can spend the extra hour at work and get paid for it. No one expects public transport to be as fast or convenient as driving, but with that time difference, I wouldn’t choose the bus even if I was paid to (unless it was an hour’s salary). Making it free would be no incentive at all.

#42
HenryBG8:20 am, 16 May 12

Nightshade said :

Do you think people don’t catch the bus because of the cost, rather than the magical mystery tours?

The magical mystery tours are definitely a factor keeping some people off some bus routes, but if you made public transport free, not only would you make the entire service vastly more efficient you would save huge amounts by not having to pay for all that ticketing hardware and software.

The cost is definitely a factor – I have a very direct bus route, 10 mins to a city centre. From there, there are direct buses to the other city centres. I can count on getting two city centres away within 30 minutes.
However, it will cost me $5 return *with* the MyWay car – without it, it’s $8 (I think).
When parking costs are not much more than that, and I can drive the same distance in half the time, it makes the buses not a particularly attractive option.

Removing the cost factor would tilt the balance in favour of using buses for many people.

#43
mezza769:23 am, 16 May 12

At the risk of setting the bar low… I’d take a couple of million $ and upgrade/reseal Wentworth Ave.

#44
1337Hax0r9:28 am, 16 May 12

Me, I’d buy a used front end loader, a used tray truck with a 5 tonne front end loader on it, and a cement mixer and then call in the Canberra Hysterical Railway Society and tell them they can have the equipment as long as they build a tram line from Belconnen to Woden via Civic and a line out to Kingston railway station. I’d ask whoever owns the disused rail lines to Captain’s Flat, Cooma and Crookwell if we could buy the track on gthe cheap. Then I’d be contacting Melbourne to ask how many of their stored historical W class trams they’d like me to take off their hands. Then I’d get rid of the redundant bus lines between Belco, Civic, Kingston and Woden, use those terminuses as hubs and run buses from there. Then I’d bother places like Bunnings, Magnet Mart and other hardware stores if they’d like to sponsor some new paint jobs on trams in return for free advertising. Finally I’d buy a load of bread, saussages,onions and sauce and announce a public working bee to get some trams painted and roads dug up.
Yep, DIY tramline for $13 million. May be doable.

#45
yellowsnow10:03 am, 16 May 12

$13m isn’t a lot – extra lanes on Parkes Way a good investment give how many people use the road (with usage projected to increase markedly). Whether the project can be delivered on time and budget is another question.

Otherwise I’d probably spend the money on an overhaul of traffic lights. I travel a lot in Syd and Melb and i’m convinced that compared to those cities our traffic lights are poorly synchronised, and in many cases create traffic bottlenecks instead of solving them (eg Northbourne, Hindmarsh). In canberra, travelling on major roads, even when they’re empty, you sometimes caatch every single red light, and at each red you wait forever for light to turn green – when there aren’t even any cars on the cross-streets!

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

We could always outsource intelligent traffic light sequencing to NSW’s RTA if RoadsACT is not up to it

#46
wildturkeycanoe10:27 am, 16 May 12

yellowsnow said :

Otherwise I’d probably spend the money on an overhaul of traffic lights. I travel a lot in Syd and Melb and i’m convinced that compared to those cities our traffic lights are poorly synchronised, and in many cases create traffic bottlenecks instead of solving them (eg Northbourne, Hindmarsh). In canberra, travelling on major roads, even when they’re empty, you sometimes caatch every single red light, and at each red you wait forever for light to turn green – when there aren’t even any cars on the cross-streets!

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

We could always outsource intelligent traffic light sequencing to NSW’s RTA if RoadsACT is not up to it

100% agree. On any given day, if you travel Drakeford Dr., Belconnen Way or Hindmarsh Dr. you will find that if you stick to 80km/h you will get red, after red, after red x 10. If however, you put the pedal down and do 10km/h over the speed limit you end up just in front of them and cruise right through. Is this just paranoia or am I on to a government conspiracy designed to make more revenue?
Likewise, why do you sit at a set of lights on a Sunday, at intersection X, waiting on a red light when there is nigh on NO traffic going any other way through the intersection for up to 2 minutes?
Much less than a million could fix this problem.

#47
Grail11:04 am, 16 May 12

buzz819 said :

So… over an hour to travel 20 minutes? That’s ridiculous….

It’s an hour of catching up on Draw Something, Words with Friends, your regular RSS news feeds, or reading The Hunger Games. All of this without the risk of smashing into someone because you were trying to text while driving.

You really need to try it sometime, rather than being so entirely focussed on getting home in time to watch whatever crap is on TV tonight.

Being chauffeur driven is worth the extra 40 minutes travel time. In fact, you’ll come to value that extra time and start wondering how people who have to commute to work in single-occupant-family-cars manage to live their lives!

#48
PrinceOfAles4:57 pm, 16 May 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

yellowsnow said :

Otherwise I’d probably spend the money on an overhaul of traffic lights. I travel a lot in Syd and Melb and i’m convinced that compared to those cities our traffic lights are poorly synchronised, and in many cases create traffic bottlenecks instead of solving them (eg Northbourne, Hindmarsh). In canberra, travelling on major roads, even when they’re empty, you sometimes caatch every single red light, and at each red you wait forever for light to turn green – when there aren’t even any cars on the cross-streets!

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

We could always outsource intelligent traffic light sequencing to NSW’s RTA if RoadsACT is not up to it

100% agree. On any given day, if you travel Drakeford Dr., Belconnen Way or Hindmarsh Dr. you will find that if you stick to 80km/h you will get red, after red, after red x 10. If however, you put the pedal down and do 10km/h over the speed limit you end up just in front of them and cruise right through. Is this just paranoia or am I on to a government conspiracy designed to make more revenue?
Likewise, why do you sit at a set of lights on a Sunday, at intersection X, waiting on a red light when there is nigh on NO traffic going any other way through the intersection for up to 2 minutes?
Much less than a million could fix this problem.

Add Majura Ave/Limestone Ave to that list. It`s a terrible stretch of road for red lights.

#49
dvaey6:26 pm, 16 May 12

yellowsnow said :

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

Have you actually travelled on a busy city road controlled by traffic lights during peak time in Sydney? From a statement like that, Im guessing no.

#50
Sandman7:42 pm, 16 May 12

dvaey said :

yellowsnow said :

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

Have you actually travelled on a busy city road controlled by traffic lights during peak time in Sydney? From a statement like that, Im guessing no.

I reckon your guess would be spot on. How anyone could favour any aspect of a Sydney road over a Canberra road is beyond my comprehension. I once got stuck on Sydney’s flagship road, the m5, for over 2 hours at 2pm on a weekday. No rain, no fog, no accidents, no red lights.
It may seem like you get more green lights in Sydney, but that’s not too hard when they’re every 100 metres for a 10km stretch.

#51
KeenGolfer9:16 pm, 16 May 12

Hank said :

I think this wish list is a great idea; maybe the local gov should build a little blog so residences can submit their local traffic/road issues and solutions.

It’s called fix my street.

http://www.canberraconnect.act.gov.au/Services/f/fix-my-street

#52
tonys9:56 pm, 16 May 12

$13000000 worth of speed cameras.

#53
HenryBG10:37 pm, 16 May 12

tonys said :

$13000000 worth of speed cameras.

I’ve got a better idea: how about a new scheme in Law Enforcement we could call it, say, Bounty-Hunting.

The way it works is this: Anybody with a car registered in the ACT can volunteer to carry a system of government-approved/tested/validated recording devices – a combination of video and infrared measuring systems that are always on and constantly stream data back to ACT Policing Central.

Any traffic offence detected by your device that results in a successful traffic infringement notice being issued results in you being credited into your bank account a bounty of 30% of the value of the infringement issued.

Then, we can retire all the speed cameras and we can re-purpose ACT Policing to spend their time catching robbers instead.

#54
yellowsnow10:39 pm, 16 May 12

dvaey said :

yellowsnow said :

Yes, Sydney has its traffic problems but unlike here you get the feeling traffic lights are working with you not against you

Have you actually travelled on a busy city road controlled by traffic lights during peak time in Sydney? From a statement like that, Im guessing no.

Um – I’ve lived in Sydney most of my life so the answer is yes

Sandman said :

I reckon your guess would be spot on. How anyone could favour any aspect of a Sydney road over a Canberra road is beyond my comprehension. I once got stuck on Sydney’s flagship road, the m5, for over 2 hours at 2pm on a weekday. No rain, no fog, no accidents, no red lights.
It may seem like you get more green lights in Sydney, but that’s not too hard when they’re every 100 metres for a 10km stretch.

m5 = freeway = no traffic lights. I admit traffic on sydney freeways at peak hour is horrible, but traffic lights don’t cause these problems. My point was that in Sydney it feels like other cars are the enemy and you’re battling against them in peak hour, while traffic lights try to do their best to handle the chaos to everyone’s collective satisfaction. On Northbourne, Hindmarsh, Drakeford etc traffic lights seem to create the traffic delays and chaos – especially off peak when there is hardly any traffic by modern city standards.

Travel down the Hume Hwy/Liverpool Rd through SW Sydney or Princes Hwy and onto King St outside peak times – even then there are more cars about than canberra roads ever see, yet if you stay on the main roads things flow relatively smoothly. You get three or four green lights, then a red (which rarely stays red for long), then another four greens, and so on – you get the feeling someone with intelligence programmed the lights to be as efficient as possible under average traffic conditions (and it’s only during the morning peak that the system really breaks down).

Having said all that, one of the reasons I don’t live in Sydney anymore is the terrible traffic so feel free to disregard everything I said:) But just because Canberra has comparatively little traffic doesn’t mean it can’t be better managed.

#55
wildturkeycanoe6:10 am, 17 May 12

Grail said :

buzz819 said :

So… over an hour to travel 20 minutes? That’s ridiculous….

It’s an hour of catching up on Draw Something, Words with Friends, your regular RSS news feeds, or reading The Hunger Games. All of this without the risk of smashing into someone because you were trying to text while driving.

You really need to try it sometime, rather than being so entirely focussed on getting home in time to watch whatever crap is on TV tonight.

Being chauffeur driven is worth the extra 40 minutes travel time. In fact, you’ll come to value that extra time and start wondering how people who have to commute to work in single-occupant-family-cars manage to live their lives!

Grail, I like to spend that extra 40 minutes getting my children to their sporting activities on time so I can enjoy it with them. That beats sitting in a vehicle housing snobby office workers who won’t lower their standards to look you in the eye, spaced out teens bopping away to their i-tunes and the dozens who cough and sniffle their flu germs all over the place. MUCH more desirable than getting home early and have a chance for a quick cuppa before soccer training.

#56
JessP11:43 am, 17 May 12

1337Hax0r said :

Me, I’d buy a used front end loader, a used tray truck with a 5 tonne front end loader on it, and a cement mixer and then call in the Canberra Hysterical Railway Society and tell them they can have the equipment as long as they build a tram line from Belconnen to Woden via Civic and a line out to Kingston railway station. I’d ask whoever owns the disused rail lines to Captain’s Flat, Cooma and Crookwell if we could buy the track on gthe cheap. Then I’d be contacting Melbourne to ask how many of their stored historical W class trams they’d like me to take off their hands. Then I’d get rid of the redundant bus lines between Belco, Civic, Kingston and Woden, use those terminuses as hubs and run buses from there. Then I’d bother places like Bunnings, Magnet Mart and other hardware stores if they’d like to sponsor some new paint jobs on trams in return for free advertising. Finally I’d buy a load of bread, saussages,onions and sauce and announce a public working bee to get some trams painted and roads dug up.
Yep, DIY tramline for $13 million. May be doable.

+1
Loving this!

#57
Felix the Cat1:30 pm, 17 May 12

I’d reseal as much or as many as I could of the crappy dangerous loose gravel roads like Fedral Hwy with proper smooth bitumen

#58
yellowsnow8:25 pm, 17 May 12

Felix the Cat said :

I’d reseal as much or as many as I could of the crappy dangerous loose gravel roads like Fedral Hwy with proper smooth bitumen

+1

spot on. I’ve heard that smooth bitumen increases fuel efficiency / decreases carbon dioxide emissions by something like 30% over rough chip seal (whether this is a reliable figure – who knows). And then there’s decreased road noise and wear and tear on people’s cars.

As for cycling – chip seal is horrible and sometimes dangerous to cycle on, especially if the chip seal is extra rough and doesn’t stick properly – which is happening all too often on recently resealed canberra roads.

So in summary chip seal road surfaces increase fuel consumption, increase CO2 emissions, create more road noise, and discourage cycling / increase cycling commute times. You also have to reseal chip seal roads every 3 or so years – smooth asphalt bitumen lasts many years longer before requiring resurfacing. There really aren’t many advantages other than lower costs in the shorter term (though not over the life of the road). The quicker the ACT govt abandons its love affair with the rough stuff the better for the community as a whole.

Returning to asphalt on arterial roads might also be a cost effective way of reducing our greenhouse emissions profile – more so than, say, building solar power stations or buying abatement permits. But of course ACT govt agencies – TAMS and ACT Roads in particular – rarely think of the bigger picture and ‘whole-of-government approach’ is not a concept they’re familiar with

#59
Spykler8:58 pm, 17 May 12

yellowsnow said :

$13m isn’t a lot – extra lanes on Parkes Way a good investment give how many people use the road (with usage projected to increase markedly). Whether the project can be delivered on time and budget is another question.

Correct- according to this study it would buy you exactly 1 kilometre of freeway..:/

http://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/general/bike-futures/10549/

#60
Deref9:27 pm, 17 May 12

I’d spend it on traffic lights. Not new ones – reprogramming the existing ones.

I’d upgrade the computer systems that control them to something more powerful like, say, the computer that runs my $10 Chinese watch.

I’d program it to do what Adelaide does – turn them all to flashing amber outside peak hours.

I’d program it so that crossing a detector would turn the light to green if there’s no traffic on the intersecting road. (That’d only run during hours when the lights weren’t all amber, of course.)

You know that program that makes sure that all the lights in a series turn to red just as you get to them? I’d reverse that.

Failing all that, I’d do what I saw in a comic book many years ago: I’d fit cars with a coin-operated short-range radio transmitter linked to the lights. The more coins you put in, the more priority you get. If you drove up to a red light at 1.00am and there was no traffic around, 1c would change it for you. If you were in a hurry at a busy time, you could feed it $5 notes at each light to give yourself priority. If you were really rich, you could set it to simply give you priority everywhere and send you a bill at the end of the month. The money in the boxes would replace rego fees.

Advertisement
GET PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP

Halloween in Australia?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IMAGES OF CANBERRA

Advertisement
Sponsors
RiotACT Proudly Supports
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.