20 December 2017

Barton route has nose in front for Stage 2 light rail to Woden

| Ian Bushnell
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One of the Spanish light rail vehicles to be used on Stage 1 of the Canberra light rail network. Photo: ACT Government.

A route through Barton that takes a swing through Parliamentary Triangle employment hubs is now the favoured option for Stage 2 of the light rail network to Woden Town Centre.

Options for Stage 2 of the light rail network to Woden has been whittled down from four to a direct route through Parkes, and the more circuitous Barton one, which would be the first with a section that doesn’t follow a current road.

The City-Parkes-Woden route (Option 1) is largely the same as the route published for consultation earlier in the year, following Commonwealth Avenue and Capital Circle around Parliament House to Adelaide Avenue.

Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris said there was a clear message from consultations that the network needed to incorporate as many of the key employment hubs and national institutions as possible in the Parliamentary Triangle, with around 75 per cent of respondents supporting a route that travels through Barton.

The Barton route diverts from Commonwealth Avenue at King George Terrace, then on to Kings Avenue where it heads towards Parliament House before branching off-road along Windsor Walk though Barton, past Sydney and Canberra Avenues and on to Capital Circle and Adelaide Avenue.

Ms Fitzharris said Option 2 had been amended slightly following technical analysis, to enable more Canberrans to get to work in the Parliamentary Triangle and improve access for visitors.

She said that not following a current road allowed the route to get through Barton more quickly while also servicing more employment hubs and important national institutions and tourist attractions.

Both routes follow London Circuit through Civic West past the Australian National University.

The Minister told ABC radio that the Barton route was now a slight favourite after the strong community backing for the longer option.

She also ruled out a Canberra Hospital stop, with the Government focused on investing in Woden Town Centre.

Indicative light rail stops for both routes have also been slightly amended.

Ms Fitzharris said that by 2041, more than 210,000 people were expected to live, work or study within one kilometre of the Woden corridor.

The refining of options comes after community feedback, stakeholder engagement, and expert technical analysis.

“It’s great that we have been able to combine feedback from the community and stakeholders with our expert technical analysis to determine the most beneficial options for stage two of the city-wide light rail network,” Ms Fitzharris said.

She said the Government would select the preferred route in 2018, followed by further consultation on where the stops will be located.

What do you think of the proposed Barton route for Stage 2 of the light rail network to Woden? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.

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What’s the link between that article and this thread? I’m a bit confused.

And what a whinger. Clearly doesn’t understand the whole idea behind the asett recycling scheme.

HiddenDragon9:17 pm 21 Dec 17

The non-inclusion of the Canberra Hospital, and a route through the Parliamentary Triangle which many Canberrans would only use if electric cattle prodders were applied, is yet another reminder that a south-side tram is a solution in search of a problem which is so simple that it is not of the real world.

A government which was truly imbued with the principles on which the Labor Party was founded would not be entertaining the prospect of committing another billion, or so, dollars of public money on this folly, it would be getting very serious about homelessness and the other manifestations of genuine need and deprivation in Canberra – and this would be THE time of year to do it.

How much will it cost to run the tram straight through where there is currently a large office building on Sydney Ave?

It would seem it would go between the buildings on Sydney Ave. if you look at google maps you will see a nice clear run between the buildings with the red and grey roofs which then runs through to the foot path alongside John McEwan crescent. I assume that is Windsor Walk.

The Barton route is what you get when you allow the public to vote on a major transport project.

Of course a large percentage of northsiders (those interested enough to vote) would prefer the light rail to drop them off out the front of their offices. It’s the same reason why it was a factor in who they voted for at the last election.

You can always back self interest.

The fact that it makes absolutely zero sense for the transport goals of light rail seems to not matter even though it would already be significantly slower than existing buses from Woden to Civic and going through Barton would make it even worse.

Although I’m still very doubtful that any second route will be built because it will be completely uneconomic.

So you are saying only Northsiders work in Barton and they stacked the ‘vote’ to ensure it goes past their Barton offices?

Odd becuse when I worked in Barton many of my colleagues lived south and would benifit from faster travel times to Parl Triangle.

Me personally I do support the Barton route, but not as a replacement for the 300 series buses between tuggers, woden and Civic.

And the Barton route should split at Canberra Ave going to Kingston and to Woden but only to Woden to benifit those traveling to the triangle.

Haha chewy when did the ‘economics’ ever come into the decision making around public transport in the Territory. It certainly didn’t with the decision to build the Gunghalin route, and it certainly is never considered within the broader running of the bus network (otherwise privitisation/a concession to run the service would be a serious option). Not for one second am I suggesting public transport seek to make a profit – but it should be provided at least reasonable cost.

Hmmm, can’t see anywhere that I’ve suggested only Northsiders work in Barton, simply that they would currently be more likely to vote in this type of self selecting poll seeing as the Light Rail stage 1 is already being constructed for them and they have direct and immediate skin in the game. And I’ve no doubt that some Southsiders would benefit from faster public transport to the parliamentary triangle, it’s a shame that this system would be slower.

But you’re right, I was perhaps too hasty with my comment. People who live in Woden and work in Barton would also support the Barton route for the exact same self interested reasons despite its serious shortcomings.

As for your suggestion that we should run 300 series buses and the light rail, how could that possibly ever be viable? You want to duplicate an existing system with something that has far less functionality and costs significantly more, yet keep running the existing cheaper system?

Why would anyone south of Woden catch the light rail in that instance? You might as well flush $2B down the drain.

What I suggested is not a duplication. One is express one serves what is along the route.

Though as I am firmly on record before on this very board I don’t think the Woden extension is sensible at all because I don’t think the along the route traffic would be that high for 75% of the route, basically beyond Barton. I think it should run as proposed except go left down Canberra Ave or Brisbane Ave to Kingston.

And before someone says I am contradicting myself as above I said I preferred the Barton route to Woden, to be clear that was my option on the two choices presented not on the route as a whole.

Economics is but one factor with public transport be it rail, bus or indeed roads for cars. Your point?

It’s not a duplication just two separate routes with the same destination using two different transport modes.

Either way, if the express is faster, it will cannibalise passengers from the light rail making the light rail even less viable (if that’s even possible for stage 2).

It would be madness and a monstrous waste of money, and that’s truly saying something when talking about this project.

No the express wouldn’t canabliise it in the example I have becuse express passengers wouldn’t be travelling on the route that serves the destinations and workplaces along the corridor. The fact both ends are the same is irrelevant as the passengers using the non express would be those that would get on and off along it.

But do agree a massive waste of money running it to Woden or beyond. Same too with Belconnen, unless there are enough traffic generators along the way.

And for what it is worth I have long been an advocate here that the Gungahlin route is sensible but not as a replacement for express buses from the suburbs. Only for servicing those along the Flemington Road and Northbourne Ave.

The Barton deviation is insane. Aside from making the route too slow for a future extension to Tuggeranong, it puts a stop right at the Tent Embassy. Nobody would want to wait for a tram there. It’d be more direct and less shady if it ran between OPH and NPH instead of in front of OPH.

Better still, run it via NPH and use NPH as a transfer point for a triangle shuttle and a branch out to Manuka and/or Kingston.

At the tent embassy? Map I saw shows it going behind old parl house no where near tent embassy. In other words what you describe.

A properly planned network, at least in my opinion, would have a stop somewhere out the front of NPH on Commonwealth Avenue, which would be a merging point – firstly for an express route heading off to woden to the right, straight down Adelaide Avenue, and a fork off to the left, initially built to service the Barton (could be done at the same time as the Woden extension), then for future extension out towards Narrabundah/Fyshwick (or whatever destinations wanted out that way). That way you could still ensure appropriate throughput on the central belt of a network, without having to make every tram so slow that it will mean the trip to Woden is way too slow for anyone to bother.

Instead we are going to get a ridiculous half way house where the line tries to do everything but ends up achieving nothing.

Well I can tell you this will be absolutely useless to me and others in South Woden and Tuggeranong. If it stopped at Mawson (Southlands) I could walk there and catch it, but terminating at Woden Town Centre would involve an extra bus trip. Really, why are they even bothering?

Perhaps because the Tuggeranong part of the route hasn’t been announced yet? You can complain about it if/when it goes to tuggers without going via southlands. (and I as a northside person will join you in condemning it because it’s an obvious route.)

Capital Retro2:20 pm 23 Dec 17

Why would anybody want to build a light rail extension to Tuggeranong? We have beautiful roads down here; the way Canberra was meant to be.

bringontheevidence3:39 pm 20 Dec 17

The Barton route just seems so short-sighted.

Isn’t the point on the City-Woden route to be the ‘spine’ for future extensions to Tuggeranong and Weston? And doesn’t the Government’s own future plan include an additional route east through the Triangle and Barton to Kingston/Manuka?

By doing the Barton section, the Government:
-Probably increases the cost a lot (more distance, more stops, higher running costs), and
-Slows down the Woden-City connection by at least 5-10 minutes (making it useless for commuters to the city, and useless as a spine for future Weston and Tuggeranong links)

And for what?? To provide a slightly closer stops for office workers in Barton, who would recieve their own dedicated line in the future anyway.


I think I’ve asked this question before. Is Light Rail supposed to be rapid transport or not? Each additional stop will slow it down and commuters will have longer journeys than they do now with express buses.

Capital Retro4:15 pm 20 Dec 17

How can a transport mode that has a maximum speed of 70kph be called anything like “rapid”?

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