I went along to the Save The Ridge meeting last night where ACTPLA and the ‘Consultants’
dictated advised what the proposed concrete bus trough would look like.
Its a meandering mess which looks like an engineering solution to a problem which doesnt exist.
Ignoring the sandal clad, kombi driving STR zealots for a moment, lets look at the various reasons for the busway.
Reduce congestion in peak hour.
Need for high speed link from Town centre to Civic.
Make public transport more popular and increase patronage.
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ACT gummint proposes to spend between 85 and 150 Million – yews million – on this busway. Its 10km long. thats 15 million dollars a kilometer.
Remember that light rail was rejected on cost grounds….
The various suggestions to the consultants included:
Building an extra lane on Belconnen Way and making it Bus Only.
Adding a ‘green light’ device so the buses could have right of way at intersections.
Instead of throwing 150M at a bus way, just build a damn light rail system.
The head consultant whose name escapes me said that they were only looking at options and that if nceessary they would go back to the minister and advise that no busway was required, that all that was needed was an extra buslane. To say that the STR crowd met this with scepticism would be like saying Hannibal Lecter was a very naughty boy.
Another consultant said he lived in a town in Europe with both buses and light rail and people preferred buses by far and wouldnt use light rail if they had a choice. This of course goes against almost every piece of research conducted on public transport user preferences ever conducted by independent researchers. The ACTPLA honcho was incredulous that people woudl actually want to use light rail, saying something along the lines of ‘I dont understand why you people want lightrail’ after the third or fourth question on the topic.
Unlike the ACTPLA honcho and the engineering consultants, I’d say about 50% of the people in the room identified themselves as bus users – and they were incredulous at the reasons stated for the busway. As a user of the existing service it takes 10-20 minutes at most except in a rarre traffic jam following an accident.
Of course STR banged on about trees etc but they were on the money about this thing being a folly.
So I wonder how the comments in the room will be articulated back to Simon ?
It was curious that unlike all community events Ive been to for the last few years – at this one not a single MLA was present.