Gungahlin may be head over heels in love with light rail but the ACT Government may have to give a little bit more if the honeymoon is to continue, according to the local community council.
Peak morning demand is now so high that the light rail vehicles are becoming very crowded and the terminus is already in need of an upgrade, it says in a submission to the 2020 Budget process.
“Additional light rail services need to be provided to capture the demand being presented by Gungahlin residents,” the submission says.
It also calls for investments to improve the usability of light rail, including bike and ride, and kiss and ride facilities at the Gungahlin terminus.
While light rail is booming, the council says the new bus network is letting down commuters between Gungahlin and Belconnen.
It says services between the two town centres of Gungahlin and Belconnen are significantly degraded, and Transport Canberra needs to reassess them.
The council also wants the government to complete the duplication of all of Horse Park Drive (between Roden Cutler Drive and Gungahlin Drive), and to undertake a review and analysis of the road network within Gungahlin to ensure it will meet the needs of the completed district.
This review should include examining better synchronisation of traffic lights and the duplication/addition of slips lanes on Clarrie Hermes Drive, Gungahlin Drive West of Gundaroo Drive, Mirrabei Drive and Gundaroo Drive North of Mirrabei Drive.
A lack of employment opportunities continue to dog Gungahlin and the council wants the ACT Government’s support to develop a unique value proposition and incentives to create jobs, saying the issue cannot be left to market forces.
“Although Gungahlin will begin 2020 with a population of approximately 80,000 – the third largest district in Canberra (after Belconnen and Tuggeranong) and roughly the same size as North and South Canberra combined – there are proportionally very few jobs located in Gungahlin,” the submission says.
“This places significant strain on transport infrastructure, reduces the amenity and accessibility of Gungahlin, and dampens the development of businesses and services within the Gungahlin region. This issue will not be addressed through a ‘wait and see’ approach based on standard market forces.”
The council, which has lobbied successfully for government agencies to be moved to the Town Centre, says the objective would be to generate a return on the investment in Gungahlin generally, including light rail, and to exploit the remaining greenfield development opportunities.
But it says proposed changes to the Gungahlin Town Centre Precinct Code (Draft Variation 3645) that reduce the amount of space available for commercial/core developments undermine this goal.
The council also wants the Yerrabi Pond area activated by providing rubbish bins and lighting, and improving maintenance of a park that is heavily used by Gungahlin residents.
It also believes midwifery services should be added to at the Walk-In Health Centre, given the young family profile of the area.