28 June 2017

Canberra needs to rethink its transport

| Robert Knight
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It’s arguable that our last Territory election was effectively a referendum on whether or not we wanted to move ahead with the most significant shift in transport planning our city has seen since its inception. To be sure, the ongoing resistance displayed by some Canberrans against light rail shows just how ingrained our car-centric transport culture is. But here’s the thing; sometimes cultural habits can be harmful, and when it comes to what cities are for and how they function, a car-centric transport culture is precisely that.

Cities are places that came about at the dawn of human civilisation and reflected our evolution from bands of hunter-gatherers, into settlement focussed, organised societies. Cities were places that allowed humanity to harness our two greatest assets standing us apart from the animal kingdom; the ability to employ high cognitive function, i.e. our brains, and to come together for combined social activity. Bringing people together, cities were the cauldrons of human endeavour leading to advances in science, organisation, and industry which set us on the trajectory towards the outright dominance over nature and quality of life we now enjoy.

It is therefore the case that for tens of thousands of years, long before the time of modern city planning, we built cities which evolved in an organic way, reflecting our need to be close to one another for basic needs like protection, but also higher order needs like competition and cooperation in figuring out new ways of doing things. For that reason, cities were compact; formed on the basis that people were its primary users, having to walk, or later use horse-drawn carriages through the spaces between buildings. These spaces, or as we would call them now – streets – provided not only a means of transporting goods, but the public realm in which a diverse mix of people interacted on a daily basis. This urban agglomeration where people lived, worked and played all at once, provided such diversity and cross-pollination of ideas that when we got the sanitary conditions right, our societies exploded.

Then along came the car. As our most inefficient form of transport, cars demand disproportionate amounts of space to operate. At their proliferation advent in the early to mid-twentieth century, cars were a poor fit into dense urban locations and many cities destroyed great swathes of older areas to both move and store them. Planners, particularly in the Anglosphere, saw the opportunity to open up hitherto undeveloped outlying land by building roads, roads, and more roads such that the majority of new urban dwellers through the latter half of the twentieth century were now living in suburbs. We became accustomed to this kind of city as the norm.

Unfortunately, this norm has actively damaged the fundamental social underpinnings of what a city is for. Busy roads push away social activity, and can devolve otherwise decent people into sociopaths behind the wheel. Cities like Canberra, based on a roads only, car dominant transport paradigm, allow for vast swathes of single function land use, i.e. suburbs, office parks etc, totally lacking in diversity. People who cannot drive are relegated to non-citizen status and forced to feed off the scraps of under resourced public transport systems. The local economy suffers as the convenience of large shopping malls and big box retailers, who provide cheap and plentiful parking to people who are effectively forced to drive anyway, muscle out small businesses, or force them into paying exorbitant rents. Our city’s environment and budget suffer as political pressure mounts to build more and more pavement and other associated infrastructure to support the free and easy movement of cars. And our political discourse suffers as any attempt to address the problem, like building light rail for example, is met with uninformed, nonsensical arguments concerned with not upsetting the traffic status quo.

Canberra, we’re going to have to change our ways. Our transport culture has been a toxic one, but it seems to be slowly changing. The support for better public transport and active transport (walking and cycling) that exists in the community now, must be built upon and encouraged. As well as looking at better ways for us to move around, we need to stop and understand what a city is for – is it for motorists, or is it for people?

What do you think? Is our city a people friendly place?

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Yep. The cars that are Canberra.

JC said :

dungfungus said :

JC said :

Kirsten Anker said :

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

Dungers is right. Canberra, well the 1960’s NCDC version of it was very much designed around the motor vehicle and we were the envy of the world when it was thought that more and more roads was the answer to the future.

What he fails to recognise is the world is changing and what was the mindset in 1960/1970 has proved to not work 50 years later and in fact is now the cause of many of our urban planning issues.

However he and others like him are still stuck in that mindset and are in denial of the need to accomodate people in the city in more imaginative ways than more and more urban sprawl and increasing number of width main roads.

Ironically the increase in housing density even in established suburbs has seen a resurgence in local shopping centres, something that the car centric NCDC plan and the emergence of large shopping centres had almost kill off. The ones that are thriving are inner city areas and areas of increased density. Go figure.

No “imagination” (other people call it vision) required JC. The 50 year old mindset is working well for most of us. There was an old advertising line that is applicable – “when you are on a good thing stick with it”.

Working well for most hey? Bugger the future or those who it doesn’t work for more like it.

And it doesn’t take much in the way imagination to work out we cannot continue the NCDC plan for Canberra. It is the reality on the streets of Canberra day in day out.

There’s no road traffic problems in Tuggeranong. All the bad traffic planning has happened in Gungahlin (where you now live) over the past 15 years. The “park, ride & stand” tram will not solve that.

dungfungus said :

JC said :

Kirsten Anker said :

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

Dungers is right. Canberra, well the 1960’s NCDC version of it was very much designed around the motor vehicle and we were the envy of the world when it was thought that more and more roads was the answer to the future.

What he fails to recognise is the world is changing and what was the mindset in 1960/1970 has proved to not work 50 years later and in fact is now the cause of many of our urban planning issues.

However he and others like him are still stuck in that mindset and are in denial of the need to accomodate people in the city in more imaginative ways than more and more urban sprawl and increasing number of width main roads.

Ironically the increase in housing density even in established suburbs has seen a resurgence in local shopping centres, something that the car centric NCDC plan and the emergence of large shopping centres had almost kill off. The ones that are thriving are inner city areas and areas of increased density. Go figure.

No “imagination” (other people call it vision) required JC. The 50 year old mindset is working well for most of us. There was an old advertising line that is applicable – “when you are on a good thing stick with it”.

Working well for most hey? Bugger the future or those who it doesn’t work for more like it.

And it doesn’t take much in the way imagination to work out we cannot continue the NCDC plan for Canberra. It is the reality on the streets of Canberra day in day out.

JC said :

dungfungus said :

Doesn’t this sound vaguely familiar?
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/documents-reveal-1-billion-funding-gap-for-parramatta-light-rail-20170804-gxp5ba.html

Please do tell, how is this familiar?

It’s about “light rail, “value capture”, “levy on property development”, “funding from other sources including Federal”………………

JC said :

Kirsten Anker said :

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

Dungers is right. Canberra, well the 1960’s NCDC version of it was very much designed around the motor vehicle and we were the envy of the world when it was thought that more and more roads was the answer to the future.

What he fails to recognise is the world is changing and what was the mindset in 1960/1970 has proved to not work 50 years later and in fact is now the cause of many of our urban planning issues.

However he and others like him are still stuck in that mindset and are in denial of the need to accomodate people in the city in more imaginative ways than more and more urban sprawl and increasing number of width main roads.

Ironically the increase in housing density even in established suburbs has seen a resurgence in local shopping centres, something that the car centric NCDC plan and the emergence of large shopping centres had almost kill off. The ones that are thriving are inner city areas and areas of increased density. Go figure.

No “imagination” (other people call it vision) required JC. The 50 year old mindset is working well for most of us. There was an old advertising line that is applicable – “when you are on a good thing stick with it”.

dungfungus said :

Doesn’t this sound vaguely familiar?
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/documents-reveal-1-billion-funding-gap-for-parramatta-light-rail-20170804-gxp5ba.html

Please do tell, how is this familiar?

Leon Arundell3:31 pm 06 Aug 17

dungfungus said :

Robert Knight said :

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.
… The light rail project is an expensive folly. …/quote]
… In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project….

I’m curious dungfungus. Do you have any qualifications in urban planning, or transport economics?

I hope that the people who wrote the ACT Government’s 2012 submission to Infrastructure Australia had economic qualifications. They concluded that bus rapid transit to Gungahlin would produce more than 90% of the benefits of light rail, at less than half the cost.
As to light rail being a “city shaping” project, Capital Metro estimated that the amenity benefit of light rail would be equivalent to a 10% reduction in travel time. My Graduate Diploma in Economics helped me to understand the ACT Transport Demand Elasticities study. Based on that study, I estimate that light rail’s longer walk and wait times will negate the impact of its amenity benefit. This raises the question, “why would people pay a premium to live near a light rail system that is no more attractive to them than a bus rapid transit system?”

Kirsten Anker said :

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

Dungers is right. Canberra, well the 1960’s NCDC version of it was very much designed around the motor vehicle and we were the envy of the world when it was thought that more and more roads was the answer to the future.

What he fails to recognise is the world is changing and what was the mindset in 1960/1970 has proved to not work 50 years later and in fact is now the cause of many of our urban planning issues.

However he and others like him are still stuck in that mindset and are in denial of the need to accomodate people in the city in more imaginative ways than more and more urban sprawl and increasing number of width main roads.

Ironically the increase in housing density even in established suburbs has seen a resurgence in local shopping centres, something that the car centric NCDC plan and the emergence of large shopping centres had almost kill off. The ones that are thriving are inner city areas and areas of increased density. Go figure.

michael quirk10:14 am 05 Aug 17

Robert, I have now read your article ‘Why rails instead of rubber’ and remain unconvinced about the benefits of light rail.

You suggest it is impossible to get by in Canberra without a car, but do you really think light rail will reduce car dependency?

Car dependency would more effectively be reduced by increasing the frequency and comfort of bus services throughout Canberra, rather than spending billions on the Gungahlin to Woden light rail.
You also argue that the light rail encourages land use changes that will make better use of infrastructure and encourages trip localisation. Yet the transformation of Northbourne Avenue began well before the light rail project. Between 1991 and 2011 the number of dwellings in North Canberra increased by 50 per cent, many of which were in the Corridor.
The acceleration of development along the light rail corridor transfers demand from other locations, especially the town centres, is bringing forward infrastructure upgrades in the Corridor and leading to the relocation of many government housing tenants to areas of poor accessibility.
Any decision to extend the light rail to Woden should not be made before detailed analysis of the project and a review of the ACT Planning Strategy are undertaken. The review of the planning strategy would place decisions about employment and housing location and transport choices in the context of how best to develop a more socially, economically and sustainable city.
Surely, if detailed analysis found the project was a poor use of public money, it would be cancelled or deferred on the basis of the need to deliver of other priorities in housing, health, disability services and public transport. The aim should be to increase metropolitan accessibility rather than to support light rail as an end in itself.

dungfungus said :

Robert Knight said :

dungfungus said :

Robert Knight said :

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Hi Michael. I haven’t missed the fundamental point you’re referring to. I addressed it in another post in October last year: https://the-riotact.com/why-rails-instead-of-rubber/186505

In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project.

I disagree it’s an expensive folly. There is a mountain of case examples from around the world from which to draw comparison, and if managed properly, this project has the potential to create a large number of positive outcomes for the whole city. I’d say that is fair management.

” It’s a city shaping project.”?

I did some research because there was nothing about this in the 2012 proposal for a light rail. This is what I found: https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/evaluating-city-shaping-infrastructure-projects

This is stuff is pure Utopia.

I’m curious dungfungus. Do you have any qualifications in urban planning, or transport economics?

I concede that one must at least be competent in creative writing to articulate the sort of stuff that I linked to but I don’t have any qualifications in the field you refer to.

Does this make me a sceptic, or even a denier?

My field of expertise was money lending where detecting creative accounting was my speciality. Accordingly, I can see a scam a mile away. The only other “qualification” I have is that I am a Canberra ratepayer.

I trust that has sated your curiosity.

And if you only take notice of people with “qualifications” then read this contribution to the debate by an undisputed expert: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/fantasy-the-case-for-light-rail-in-gungahlin-20141112-11kyqw

Kirsten Anker said :

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

That “Canberra was designed around motor cars” is also an assertion of Dr Jenny Stewart? who is Honorary Professor of Public Policy, University of NSW, Canberra. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/canberrans-cars-and-congestion-20160119-gm8ufc.html

It is often said that experts never agree.

Robert Knight said :

dungfungus said :

Robert Knight said :

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Hi Michael. I haven’t missed the fundamental point you’re referring to. I addressed it in another post in October last year: https://the-riotact.com/why-rails-instead-of-rubber/186505

In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project.

I disagree it’s an expensive folly. There is a mountain of case examples from around the world from which to draw comparison, and if managed properly, this project has the potential to create a large number of positive outcomes for the whole city. I’d say that is fair management.

” It’s a city shaping project.”?

I did some research because there was nothing about this in the 2012 proposal for a light rail. This is what I found: https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/evaluating-city-shaping-infrastructure-projects

This is stuff is pure Utopia.

I’m curious dungfungus. Do you have any qualifications in urban planning, or transport economics?

I concede that one must at least be competent in creative writing to articulate the sort of stuff that I linked to but I don’t have any qualifications in the field you refer to.

Does this make me a sceptic, or even a denier?

My field of expertise was money lending where detecting creative accounting was my speciality. Accordingly, I can see a scam a mile away. The only other “qualification” I have is that I am a Canberra ratepayer.

I trust that has sated your curiosity.

Robert Knight10:58 pm 04 Aug 17

dungfungus said :

Robert Knight said :

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Hi Michael. I haven’t missed the fundamental point you’re referring to. I addressed it in another post in October last year: https://the-riotact.com/why-rails-instead-of-rubber/186505

In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project.

I disagree it’s an expensive folly. There is a mountain of case examples from around the world from which to draw comparison, and if managed properly, this project has the potential to create a large number of positive outcomes for the whole city. I’d say that is fair management.

” It’s a city shaping project.”?

I did some research because there was nothing about this in the 2012 proposal for a light rail. This is what I found: https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/evaluating-city-shaping-infrastructure-projects

This is stuff is pure Utopia.

I’m curious dungfungus. Do you have any qualifications in urban planning, or transport economics?

michael quirk9:23 pm 04 Aug 17

Robert, Sorry to disagree with you but buses can result in similar land use outcomes as light rail. Evidence of this is the 50 per cent increase in dwellings in North Canberra between 1991 and 2011, much of it in the Northbourne Avenue Corridor The transformation of the Corridor was occurring long before light rail.

The arguments for light rail in Canberra remain weak. Its expansion to Woden fails on social, economic and environmental grounds. It cannot be rationally supported when there are pressing need for funds in education, health, housing and disability services.

Car use would be be reduced and accessibility enhanced if the funds being squandered on light rail were used to improve the frequency and attractiveness of the bus network across Canberra.

Kirsten Anker9:13 pm 04 Aug 17

dungfungus: I’m surprised at your assertion that Canberra was designed for cars. I would assert the opposite. The design competition for Canberra was conducted in 1911, a time when the ubiquity of cars would have been unimaginable. True, by the time the city plan was really developed – after WW2- our patterns of transportation were very different, and the city planning had different priorities. But Burley Griffin’s design, in fact, created a beautifully decentralised city – a bit like the situation in Europe, where villages or small town become associated with larger population centres. Each “town centre” has its own identity and a strong social life, as people shop, go to school and work in that area. Public transport can be dense and therefore a credible alternative to a car as it only has to provide services for a small area, and distances are relatively short, so walking is a real option. If you need to go to one of the other “town centres”, you can move quickly, along one of the fast linking roads. Meanwhile, the natural environment flourishes between centres, rather than being completely destroyed under an extensive artificial conglomeration.

A good example of this situation is the development on the western edge of lake Geneva, between Geneva and Lausanne. An area well-served by trains and buses, the 42 kilometres stretch is scattered with small towns and villages. Commuters travel to the larger centres every day for work, although light industry firms such as Logitech and Google also attract employees. The railway company is currently updating its infrastructure in anticipation of a 100% increase in passengers within the next few years. Many individuals still drive cars, but this level of activity would not be possible without significant public transport use.

Robert Knight said :

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Hi Michael. I haven’t missed the fundamental point you’re referring to. I addressed it in another post in October last year: https://the-riotact.com/why-rails-instead-of-rubber/186505

In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project.

I disagree it’s an expensive folly. There is a mountain of case examples from around the world from which to draw comparison, and if managed properly, this project has the potential to create a large number of positive outcomes for the whole city. I’d say that is fair management.

” It’s a city shaping project.”?

I did some research because there was nothing about this in the 2012 proposal for a light rail. This is what I found: https://www.sgsep.com.au/publications/evaluating-city-shaping-infrastructure-projects

This is stuff is pure Utopia.

Robert Knight1:53 pm 04 Aug 17

michael quirk said :

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Hi Michael. I haven’t missed the fundamental point you’re referring to. I addressed it in another post in October last year: https://the-riotact.com/why-rails-instead-of-rubber/186505

In short, buses do not result in the same land use outcomes as rail based transport. As has been relayed by many, the light rail project is about more than just transport. It’s a city shaping project.

I disagree it’s an expensive folly. There is a mountain of case examples from around the world from which to draw comparison, and if managed properly, this project has the potential to create a large number of positive outcomes for the whole city. I’d say that is fair management.

michael quirk8:57 am 04 Aug 17

Like many Robert Knight misses the fundamental point that the transport task performed by light rail could have been performed by buses more flexibility and far lower cost.

The savings could have been used to greatly increase the frequency of buses across Canberra, provide employment incentives for offices to locate in the town centres (thereby reducing the transport task), or to fund education, health and disability services.

The light rail project is an expensive folly. Its extension to Woden would be to the detriment of the efficient and fair management of the city

Leon Arundell4:48 pm 03 Aug 17

BlowMeDown said :

The premise of this article is that public and active transport will reduce vehicular traffic density. This will not happen. Other advances in transport might but public transport will never cary more than 3 to 5 percent of commuters ….

According to the 2011 Census, public transport carried 5% of adult commuters. It also carried a similar number of children commuting to school.

Be careful with that line of argument, spades. The easiest way to make public transport look more like a value proposition is to make driving more expensive (congestion charges, raise those parking fees to $20/day etc.).

At least the bus is cheaper for you at all. I have an annual parking permit which works out at $3/day. It’s pretty hard to justify +$6 for public transport.

The worst part is that I live less than 100m from one of the light rail stops on Northbourne Avenue.

spades said :

Here’s an insightful article about cars vs public transport.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/car-lovers-cheap-public-transport-cannot-compete-with-the-privacy-and-comfort-of-driving-20170731-gxm0wp.html

The argument for cars even with convenient public transport nearby is a good one. It’s not just one of convenience but one of comfort. Examples used include privacy, personal space and the guarantee that you won’t be sitting next to unpleasant/sick/oversized individuals.

I am lucky to have a bus stop that goes directly to my workplace. Literally a 60 second walk to the bus stop to work, then from the work bus stop another 60 seconds to my office building. Yet, half the week I drive. It costs me $6 to take the bus both ways ($3 each way), and $10 for parking. The $4 difference makes it so much worth it to drive to work, including not having to be limited by the bus timetable, not having to sit next to anyone, have someone behind me breathing down my neck (literally). I have also had a few unpleasant experiences with the more unruly individuals in our society in the bus.

For $4 more each day I get to enjoy my personal space, blast my own music in the car (not headphones), make calls comfortably, and so on. My 2c on this is if the government seriously wants to decongest our roads, they should look at the value proposition of driving. Please look closely into that $4 savings of taking the bus. It could be that addressing that is much more effective than spending millions on another mode of transport.

I have said many times on this subject that Canberra is envied by the people of many cities around the world because our city was designed for the motor car. Yet, “progressives” somehow see this as a bad thing and think that because most people in the big cities in Europe use public transport that we should too. About 8% of us do use public transport (sometimes) but because we have the choice to use a car we do.

The same group-think from our transit progressives deems that somehow our fleet of expensive and modern world class ACTION busses isn’t as sexy as the Eurotram so at massive cost to our economy we are going to have the trams “progressively” replace the main routes the busses already over-cater for and plan to justify this as an essential part of not-needed “urban regeneration”.

Mix in some outrageously expensive bike-ways for the same people that no longer use the bus bike carrier-racks and we have the most eclectic and ineffective transport system in the world.

Here’s an insightful article about cars vs public transport.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/car-lovers-cheap-public-transport-cannot-compete-with-the-privacy-and-comfort-of-driving-20170731-gxm0wp.html

The argument for cars even with convenient public transport nearby is a good one. It’s not just one of convenience but one of comfort. Examples used include privacy, personal space and the guarantee that you won’t be sitting next to unpleasant/sick/oversized individuals.

I am lucky to have a bus stop that goes directly to my workplace. Literally a 60 second walk to the bus stop to work, then from the work bus stop another 60 seconds to my office building. Yet, half the week I drive. It costs me $6 to take the bus both ways ($3 each way), and $10 for parking. The $4 difference makes it so much worth it to drive to work, including not having to be limited by the bus timetable, not having to sit next to anyone, have someone behind me breathing down my neck (literally). I have also had a few unpleasant experiences with the more unruly individuals in our society in the bus.

For $4 more each day I get to enjoy my personal space, blast my own music in the car (not headphones), make calls comfortably, and so on. My 2c on this is if the government seriously wants to decongest our roads, they should look at the value proposition of driving. Please look closely into that $4 savings of taking the bus. It could be that addressing that is much more effective than spending millions on another mode of transport.

True, a lot of choices are involved in housing, schooling, sporting activities and employment.

What there isn’t a choice about is disability. Disabled access can be really difficult in Canberra but making things more bike and pedestrian friendly usually makes it much easier for me in my wheelchair. I’m especially vulnerable due to the height (or lack thereof) when in a wheelchair and have been frightened many a time when 4wds breaking the law seem to fail to see me (and why is it usually 4wds?).

Yes, our culture car habits are harmful and need change. Creating an accessible and inclusive community is better for us all than swathes of freeways and car parks.

The premise of this article is that public and active transport will reduce vehicular traffic density. This will not happen. Other advances in transport might but public transport will never cary more than 3 to 5 percent of commuters and cycling similarly at the very best. All this extra infrastructure will do is slow private vehicle traffic and thereby ensure that congestion and danger to cyclists and pedestrians increases.

Once that happens government will have to ban vehicles entirely from large areas of the city completely, including the corridors that were originally intended to separate traffic from people.

The photo also tells the truth. I count one cyclist, two buses and a couple of hundred cars.

The real problem with light rail apart from the cost is that, rather than looking to create conditions that accelerate movement to better options in future the cultural lock-in that now exists in government for light rail will be highly resistant to those options.

On the article itself, the first paragraph is a well crafted piece of propaganda with phrases like “move ahead with the most significant shift” and “ongoing resistance displayed by some Canberrans against light rail” grouping all the positive sentiments in favour and all the negatives including an attempt to isolate and categorise those opposed in the other. But after that the article gets lost in an irrelevant monologue on the history of cities.

The positive for us who think light rail is the wrong and soon to be obsoleted solution is that this article was deemed necessary. There is presumably some discomfort still in the pro light rail camp.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

Take a look at John Gorton drive next time you go through Molonglo, a large corridor is set aside with large medians for future mass transport options such as light rail, although the area will initially be serviced by frequent buses as defined in the government’s strategy.

Why hasn’t light rail or any other major public transport infrastructure been constructed there up front? The exact same reason it doesn’t exist anywhere else in Canberra, it doesn’t stack up financially for the population density that exists or will exist in the short term.

Sure about that? The median isn’t anywhere near as wide as Flemmington Road which very much was deisgned for light rail. And that is one corridor which will have the density to support it, but the problem is it is further away from the City.

Yes, the median isn’t as large as Flemington road, although that doesn’t mean it was “designed” for light rail or not, simply that they’d set aside corridors for future mass transit of whatever type, just like most areas.
Although I’m not sure if you’re suggesting the Molonglo corridor (not just in the median) couldn’t accommodate a future light rail system? It’s on their plans as a future stage, although won’t probably be on the cards anytime in the next few decades.

Are you suggesting that Wildturkeycanoe’s suggestion about poor planning by the ACT government is correct?

chewy14 said :

Take a look at John Gorton drive next time you go through Molonglo, a large corridor is set aside with large medians for future mass transport options such as light rail, although the area will initially be serviced by frequent buses as defined in the government’s strategy.

Why hasn’t light rail or any other major public transport infrastructure been constructed there up front? The exact same reason it doesn’t exist anywhere else in Canberra, it doesn’t stack up financially for the population density that exists or will exist in the short term.

Sure about that? The median isn’t anywhere near as wide as Flemmington Road which very much was deisgned for light rail. And that is one corridor which will have the density to support it, but the problem is it is further away from the City.

wildturkeycanoe said :

If the tram corridor was designed to cater for the new population density on purpose, how did the planners goof up Molonglo and Denman Prospect? Plenty of new housing density but no betterment of public transport infrastructure, just vehicular connections to roads that are already over capacity! The peak hour jam is only getting worse on the Parkway, William Hovell and Cotter Rd. Likewise for the Ginninderry development. I haven’t seen anything in the pipeline to address current transport woes let alone the inevitable explosion of cars once people move in. Seems planning is only applicable when it is close to a politician’s supporting electorate.

Take a look at John Gorton drive next time you go through Molonglo, a large corridor is set aside with large medians for future mass transport options such as light rail, although the area will initially be serviced by frequent buses as defined in the government’s strategy.

Why hasn’t light rail or any other major public transport infrastructure been constructed there up front? The exact same reason it doesn’t exist anywhere else in Canberra, it doesn’t stack up financially for the population density that exists or will exist in the short term.

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

My comment may be pedantic but it’s accurate.

The government planning strategy going back many years has included urban intensification in certain areas. In 2004, the Spatial Plan included the Northbourne corridor for intensification along with Kingston, Barton, Parkes, Bruce and town centre areas Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong etc.

The territory plan prior to 2008 didn’t actually outline separate zones for medium and high density residential, they were incorporated into the Residential zone and areas like Flemington road were identified mostly as urban residential, capable of two/three storey unit blocks.

Post 2008 when the new territory plan framework was set out with separate zoning of different residential landuse types, there have been a number of other changes allowing higher densities in these areas to reflect new planning. The 2012 planning strategy outlined the urban intensification plan along major transport routes incorporating these areas more clearly.

You’re correct that light rail has been on the cards for a very long time but only as one potential option of many and the reason it hasn’t been constructed until now is that it never stacked up financially (and still is marginal).

However, since the adoption of light rail as the preferred mass public transport solution, there have also been further changes to the allowed types and densities of developments along the route, which are designed to ensure and enhance the viability of light rail. Part of the justification of splitting the LDA up into different agencies, is to achieve these redevelopment levels and smooth the planning issues for the stage 1 route.

And no, the population density does not currently exist along the route to make it justified, the whole viability only occurs through the redevelopment of the Northbourne corridor and further intensification of the Gungahlin town centre area and surrounds.

You just said it was marginal but current density doesn’t justify it. Hmmm

You know all those blocks of land they’ve just sold off and the changes in planning restrictions we were just talking about?

Hmm, I wonder what effect that could have on a previously unviable project?

This has already been discussed hundreds of times before, as a transport project the cost benefit ratio is only 0.3, the population density does not exist to support the project at present. It’s only with a massive increase in population density and the sale and redevelopment of land along the route that it marginally becomes viable.

I am happy to be told I am wrong but don’t all those “high density” areas along Flemington Drive have allocated car parking which is fully utilised? This is the flaw in the difference between Canberra’s high density and that of old European cities where trams are successful solely because the housing there is over 100 years old and there are no car parks.

Apart from that, the premise that the Canberra light rail was about public transport was a blatant lie from the start with Duncan Edghill, Deputy Director of Transport Canberra saying at a recent conference “Light rail in Canberra is not about public transport; it’s about urban regeneration”.

Anyone from the light rail lobby / government care to comment about that?

wildturkeycanoe7:00 am 07 Jul 17

If the tram corridor was designed to cater for the new population density on purpose, how did the planners goof up Molonglo and Denman Prospect? Plenty of new housing density but no betterment of public transport infrastructure, just vehicular connections to roads that are already over capacity! The peak hour jam is only getting worse on the Parkway, William Hovell and Cotter Rd. Likewise for the Ginninderry development. I haven’t seen anything in the pipeline to address current transport woes let alone the inevitable explosion of cars once people move in. Seems planning is only applicable when it is close to a politician’s supporting electorate.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

My comment may be pedantic but it’s accurate.

The government planning strategy going back many years has included urban intensification in certain areas. In 2004, the Spatial Plan included the Northbourne corridor for intensification along with Kingston, Barton, Parkes, Bruce and town centre areas Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong etc.

The territory plan prior to 2008 didn’t actually outline separate zones for medium and high density residential, they were incorporated into the Residential zone and areas like Flemington road were identified mostly as urban residential, capable of two/three storey unit blocks.

Post 2008 when the new territory plan framework was set out with separate zoning of different residential landuse types, there have been a number of other changes allowing higher densities in these areas to reflect new planning. The 2012 planning strategy outlined the urban intensification plan along major transport routes incorporating these areas more clearly.

You’re correct that light rail has been on the cards for a very long time but only as one potential option of many and the reason it hasn’t been constructed until now is that it never stacked up financially (and still is marginal).

However, since the adoption of light rail as the preferred mass public transport solution, there have also been further changes to the allowed types and densities of developments along the route, which are designed to ensure and enhance the viability of light rail. Part of the justification of splitting the LDA up into different agencies, is to achieve these redevelopment levels and smooth the planning issues for the stage 1 route.

And no, the population density does not currently exist along the route to make it justified, the whole viability only occurs through the redevelopment of the Northbourne corridor and further intensification of the Gungahlin town centre area and surrounds.

You just said it was marginal but current density doesn’t justify it. Hmmm

You know all those blocks of land they’ve just sold off and the changes in planning restrictions we were just talking about?

Hmm, I wonder what effect that could have on a previously unviable project?

This has already been discussed hundreds of times before, as a transport project the cost benefit ratio is only 0.3, the population density does not exist to support the project at present. It’s only with a massive increase in population density and the sale and redevelopment of land along the route that it marginally becomes viable.

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

My comment may be pedantic but it’s accurate.

The government planning strategy going back many years has included urban intensification in certain areas. In 2004, the Spatial Plan included the Northbourne corridor for intensification along with Kingston, Barton, Parkes, Bruce and town centre areas Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong etc.

The territory plan prior to 2008 didn’t actually outline separate zones for medium and high density residential, they were incorporated into the Residential zone and areas like Flemington road were identified mostly as urban residential, capable of two/three storey unit blocks.

Post 2008 when the new territory plan framework was set out with separate zoning of different residential landuse types, there have been a number of other changes allowing higher densities in these areas to reflect new planning. The 2012 planning strategy outlined the urban intensification plan along major transport routes incorporating these areas more clearly.

You’re correct that light rail has been on the cards for a very long time but only as one potential option of many and the reason it hasn’t been constructed until now is that it never stacked up financially (and still is marginal).

However, since the adoption of light rail as the preferred mass public transport solution, there have also been further changes to the allowed types and densities of developments along the route, which are designed to ensure and enhance the viability of light rail. Part of the justification of splitting the LDA up into different agencies, is to achieve these redevelopment levels and smooth the planning issues for the stage 1 route.

And no, the population density does not currently exist along the route to make it justified, the whole viability only occurs through the redevelopment of the Northbourne corridor and further intensification of the Gungahlin town centre area and surrounds.

You just said it was marginal but current density doesn’t justify it. Hmmm

bj_ACT said :

JC. Your confusion between a web map ‘coloured by ACT zoning areas’ not as you claimed by ‘population density’ reminds me of this wonderful scene from the West Wing about how our standard Map Projection distorts the shape and size of countries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVX-PrBRtTY

Confusion? Drive down Flemmington Road and have a look at the buildings on either side and the suburbs of Franklin and Harrision and compare to the rest of Canberra. It matches the planning map perfectly. Same too with Northborne Ave. Unless like Trump you believe in alternative facts and fake news.

Light rail is more about ‘value uplift’ from real estate than it is about public transport. It won’t take very many cars off the road. Public transport and cycling and walking are fine for people who live close to amenities but Canberra is both densifying and spreading out at the same time, so unfortunately the car will stillbe king in future. However, this might change when driverless technology, ride-sharing, ‘pop up’ car hire etc take off because that will improve the transport efficiency of the city. But, just wait and see how people kick up when the NCA/ACT Govt take a lane off each side of Commonwealth Avenue Bridge for cyclists and light rail.

I thought the article was well found and posed a good question for all people to consider. Surely Canberra can’t evolve if we divide into warring parties? Perhaps a start would be to have people posting comments use their real names and not pseudonyms! If it is worth saying in public we should have the courage to be identified.

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

My comment may be pedantic but it’s accurate.

The government planning strategy going back many years has included urban intensification in certain areas. In 2004, the Spatial Plan included the Northbourne corridor for intensification along with Kingston, Barton, Parkes, Bruce and town centre areas Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong etc.

The territory plan prior to 2008 didn’t actually outline separate zones for medium and high density residential, they were incorporated into the Residential zone and areas like Flemington road were identified mostly as urban residential, capable of two/three storey unit blocks.

Post 2008 when the new territory plan framework was set out with separate zoning of different residential landuse types, there have been a number of other changes allowing higher densities in these areas to reflect new planning. The 2012 planning strategy outlined the urban intensification plan along major transport routes incorporating these areas more clearly.

You’re correct that light rail has been on the cards for a very long time but only as one potential option of many and the reason it hasn’t been constructed until now is that it never stacked up financially (and still is marginal).

However, since the adoption of light rail as the preferred mass public transport solution, there have also been further changes to the allowed types and densities of developments along the route, which are designed to ensure and enhance the viability of light rail. Part of the justification of splitting the LDA up into different agencies, is to achieve these redevelopment levels and smooth the planning issues for the stage 1 route.

And no, the population density does not currently exist along the route to make it justified, the whole viability only occurs through the redevelopment of the Northbourne corridor and further intensification of the Gungahlin town centre area and surrounds.

“mass public transport solution”?

Where are the studies that decided we had a mass transit problem? This is something made up like those phony “value added” and “cost benefit” factors to support a totally unneeded and non-viable tram line.

This proves that the whole thing is an exercise in vainglory by a few enthusiasts in our government.

JC. Your confusion between a web map ‘coloured by ACT zoning areas’ not as you claimed by ‘population density’ reminds me of this wonderful scene from the West Wing about how our standard Map Projection distorts the shape and size of countries.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVX-PrBRtTY

JC said :

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

My comment may be pedantic but it’s accurate.

The government planning strategy going back many years has included urban intensification in certain areas. In 2004, the Spatial Plan included the Northbourne corridor for intensification along with Kingston, Barton, Parkes, Bruce and town centre areas Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong etc.

The territory plan prior to 2008 didn’t actually outline separate zones for medium and high density residential, they were incorporated into the Residential zone and areas like Flemington road were identified mostly as urban residential, capable of two/three storey unit blocks.

Post 2008 when the new territory plan framework was set out with separate zoning of different residential landuse types, there have been a number of other changes allowing higher densities in these areas to reflect new planning. The 2012 planning strategy outlined the urban intensification plan along major transport routes incorporating these areas more clearly.

You’re correct that light rail has been on the cards for a very long time but only as one potential option of many and the reason it hasn’t been constructed until now is that it never stacked up financially (and still is marginal).

However, since the adoption of light rail as the preferred mass public transport solution, there have also been further changes to the allowed types and densities of developments along the route, which are designed to ensure and enhance the viability of light rail. Part of the justification of splitting the LDA up into different agencies, is to achieve these redevelopment levels and smooth the planning issues for the stage 1 route.

And no, the population density does not currently exist along the route to make it justified, the whole viability only occurs through the redevelopment of the Northbourne corridor and further intensification of the Gungahlin town centre area and surrounds.

wildturkeycanoe7:47 am 06 Jul 17

JC, the population density along the tram corridor has actually a negative impact on transport. The more people that use the tram, the slower it becomes due to passengers boarding and exiting. The timetables will blow out and people will turn to faster methods of travel to get to their destinations, and with the abolition of express bus services it means more cars. Mass transit is supposed to move more people, more quickly like subway or Sydney style train services. The tram loses this advantage because of the sheer number of stops. Workers will find themselves spending more time in transit and have to change routine to accomodate this. People value their time and will find ways to increase their share of it.
The only good thing about the tram will be for tourists to slowly see the city, but who wants to see a corridor of apartment blocks and traffic chaos, another side effect of this disaster?
We will see in time who is right, but my hope is the government holds off on stage 2 till the data comes in.

JC said :

spades said :

JC said :

Why Gungahlin? I’ve said it several times before look housing density maps on the territory plan. That’s why Flemington road.

And agree it needs to be run into Barton etc but fact is it needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin is without doubt the most logical place to start. IMO the whole 200 bus route (stopping at the railways station rather than COC) should be stage 1 and 2.

Sorry, yes I saw your previous response and have been meaning to address it.

How dense are we talking about exactly? Given the overall population of Canberra, I’m not sure we’re Gungahlin is dense enough to outweight the other advantages of having it run to Belconnen. Density is not and shound not be the only factor to consider here. I’ve mentioned them in my previous posts.

Even a suburb such as Fyshwick where (I think) no one lives will benefit from the light rail. It’s a commercial hub and will boost businesses if it was easy to access. That’s one example of a low density scenario where the light rail could work. I’m not saying we ignore Gungahlin. I’m saying it is not the most logical place to start. To me, having it run between big centres such as Belconnen, Barton or Woden would have been the best place to start.

A picture says 1000 words, here is the link.

http://app.actmapi.act.gov.au/actmapi/index.html?viewer=tp

Even without zooming in notice the Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave corridors are the only near continuous corridors of pink/red which indicates higher population densities. And where it isn’t continuous there are future plans to move the race course and EPIC. Then zoom in.

And yes population density along the corridor is what matters, because this form of light rail is design to service the corridor and links with major business/interchange areas towards the city. Though yes no reason why it couldn’t connect into areas like Fyshwick which are lower density, but note connect. The main thing is there needs to be the housing density to justify in the first place.

No where else in Canberra is there a corridor such as this, even the Woden corridor which I do not support. Molongolo is an area where it might be feasible in the future, note the population density along John Gorton Drive, could be an ideal way to link the city to Molongolo via Adelaide Ave and Cotter road and possibly back to Belconnen. Just depends on the grade over the river.

As I’ve also been saying to justify light rail elsewhere in Canberra one of two things is required. The model changes to the more US model, which is park and rides and servicing major business/employment/school areas. Or roads like Adelaide Ave, Athlon Drive or Belconnen Way change colour to match Flemmington Road/Northborne Ave.

Indeed the research proves that the Flemington Road route traverses the densest population areas but a lot of these people would be unemployed or they work everywhere else than in the city.

Where is the proof that everyone in Gungahlin works in the city?

chewy14 said :

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

That is hair splitting, because the Flemmington Road corridor already has the density indicated on the plan, it is now mostly built. Same too with most of Northborne Ave though Northborne Ave is having public housing replaced with new developments, and some old office buildings replaced with new housing developments.

As for changing the plan to justify light rail, you are kind of right. Flemmington road was actually designed from the outset as a commuting corridor with light rail in mind (which is why it was built so wide to start with) and as such it was zoned from day dot accordingly. And this planning goes back as far as they days of Kate Carnell and Tony DeDominico (as Urban Services Minister) who were working with Bob Winnel who had light rail in mind to connect to his Gungahlin developments. Bob even went as far as bringing a Melbourne B class tram to Civic for a few weeks.

So it’s been a long time coming, but certainly from a planning perspective not something the current ACT government has just done to justify light rail as inferred. It has been planned this way for a while and now the density IS at the point where light rail can well be truly be justified on this corridor.

JC said :

spades said :

JC said :

Why Gungahlin? I’ve said it several times before look housing density maps on the territory plan. That’s why Flemington road.

And agree it needs to be run into Barton etc but fact is it needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin is without doubt the most logical place to start. IMO the whole 200 bus route (stopping at the railways station rather than COC) should be stage 1 and 2.

Sorry, yes I saw your previous response and have been meaning to address it.

How dense are we talking about exactly? Given the overall population of Canberra, I’m not sure we’re Gungahlin is dense enough to outweight the other advantages of having it run to Belconnen. Density is not and shound not be the only factor to consider here. I’ve mentioned them in my previous posts.

Even a suburb such as Fyshwick where (I think) no one lives will benefit from the light rail. It’s a commercial hub and will boost businesses if it was easy to access. That’s one example of a low density scenario where the light rail could work. I’m not saying we ignore Gungahlin. I’m saying it is not the most logical place to start. To me, having it run between big centres such as Belconnen, Barton or Woden would have been the best place to start.

A picture says 1000 words, here is the link.

http://app.actmapi.act.gov.au/actmapi/index.html?viewer=tp

Even without zooming in notice the Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave corridors are the only near continuous corridors of pink/red which indicates higher population densities. And where it isn’t continuous there are future plans to move the race course and EPIC. Then zoom in.

And yes population density along the corridor is what matters, because this form of light rail is design to service the corridor and links with major business/interchange areas towards the city. Though yes no reason why it couldn’t connect into areas like Fyshwick which are lower density, but note connect. The main thing is there needs to be the housing density to justify in the first place.

No where else in Canberra is there a corridor such as this, even the Woden corridor which I do not support. Molongolo is an area where it might be feasible in the future, note the population density along John Gorton Drive, could be an ideal way to link the city to Molongolo via Adelaide Ave and Cotter road and possibly back to Belconnen. Just depends on the grade over the river.

As I’ve also been saying to justify light rail elsewhere in Canberra one of two things is required. The model changes to the more US model, which is park and rides and servicing major business/employment/school areas. Or roads like Adelaide Ave, Athlon Drive or Belconnen Way change colour to match Flemmington Road/Northborne Ave.

The territory plan does not signify population density, simply different landuse types and planning/development rules and restrictions.

The land use in those areas you mentioned have been specifically changed or developed to accommodate the future densities required to make the light rail viable, which is kind of the point of the project, the densities don’t exist today.

Similar land use change will be required for future stages of the light rail, but its a bit of a circular argument claiming that stage 1 is the only area with the required population density, when that density is only being created because of light rail and the overall planning strategy for transport in the ACT. The stage 1 route was just the most likely and obvious candidate due to the amount of government owned land and greenfield sites along the route.

spades said :

JC said :

Why Gungahlin? I’ve said it several times before look housing density maps on the territory plan. That’s why Flemington road.

And agree it needs to be run into Barton etc but fact is it needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin is without doubt the most logical place to start. IMO the whole 200 bus route (stopping at the railways station rather than COC) should be stage 1 and 2.

Sorry, yes I saw your previous response and have been meaning to address it.

How dense are we talking about exactly? Given the overall population of Canberra, I’m not sure we’re Gungahlin is dense enough to outweight the other advantages of having it run to Belconnen. Density is not and shound not be the only factor to consider here. I’ve mentioned them in my previous posts.

Even a suburb such as Fyshwick where (I think) no one lives will benefit from the light rail. It’s a commercial hub and will boost businesses if it was easy to access. That’s one example of a low density scenario where the light rail could work. I’m not saying we ignore Gungahlin. I’m saying it is not the most logical place to start. To me, having it run between big centres such as Belconnen, Barton or Woden would have been the best place to start.

A picture says 1000 words, here is the link.

http://app.actmapi.act.gov.au/actmapi/index.html?viewer=tp

Even without zooming in notice the Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave corridors are the only near continuous corridors of pink/red which indicates higher population densities. And where it isn’t continuous there are future plans to move the race course and EPIC. Then zoom in.

And yes population density along the corridor is what matters, because this form of light rail is design to service the corridor and links with major business/interchange areas towards the city. Though yes no reason why it couldn’t connect into areas like Fyshwick which are lower density, but note connect. The main thing is there needs to be the housing density to justify in the first place.

No where else in Canberra is there a corridor such as this, even the Woden corridor which I do not support. Molongolo is an area where it might be feasible in the future, note the population density along John Gorton Drive, could be an ideal way to link the city to Molongolo via Adelaide Ave and Cotter road and possibly back to Belconnen. Just depends on the grade over the river.

As I’ve also been saying to justify light rail elsewhere in Canberra one of two things is required. The model changes to the more US model, which is park and rides and servicing major business/employment/school areas. Or roads like Adelaide Ave, Athlon Drive or Belconnen Way change colour to match Flemmington Road/Northborne Ave.

JC said :

Why Gungahlin? I’ve said it several times before look housing density maps on the territory plan. That’s why Flemington road.

And agree it needs to be run into Barton etc but fact is it needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin is without doubt the most logical place to start. IMO the whole 200 bus route (stopping at the railways station rather than COC) should be stage 1 and 2.

Sorry, yes I saw your previous response and have been meaning to address it.

How dense are we talking about exactly? Given the overall population of Canberra, I’m not sure we’re Gungahlin is dense enough to outweight the other advantages of having it run to Belconnen. Density is not and shound not be the only factor to consider here. I’ve mentioned them in my previous posts.

Even a suburb such as Fyshwick where (I think) no one lives will benefit from the light rail. It’s a commercial hub and will boost businesses if it was easy to access. That’s one example of a low density scenario where the light rail could work. I’m not saying we ignore Gungahlin. I’m saying it is not the most logical place to start. To me, having it run between big centres such as Belconnen, Barton or Woden would have been the best place to start.

wildturkeycanoe said :

JC said :

Thirdly as for town planners creating a problem to justify a solution. Don’t quite understand this comment. People need to be housed somewhere.

You missed the point of that remark. It isn’t the location of housing I was talking about but the location of everything else. They have put all the homes out in the suburbs, but left all the employment, health care, government services and pretty much everything else in central Canberra. By separating where we live from where we work, there arises a need to commute. If that travel requirement was to be removed, there wouldn’t be a need for a tram as there wouldn’t be any peak hour chaos. We used to be able to go to our local mall for everything but as banks, insurers, health services, government portals and nearly all money making ventures try to save money by closing remote sites, people are left with no option but to travel. I wonder just how many people commute 15, 20 or more kilometres every day to and from their place of employment? Are those people easily able to relocate to an inner location to reduce their travel? Probably not with the current climate of high priced apartments. That is why they live out in the affordable suburbs and are forced to drive, thanks to unsuitable public transport options.
That is why fixing the existing bus system would make more sense than a tram as quite a substantial number of the cars clogging up the roads are from these outlying areas. People within 10km of the city can easily adopt public transport or cycling to get to work. That can not be done if you are out in the sticks. Trams will not make it any better even if they go all the way to Conder, because trams can not provide express services, because they can’t overtake. Most inflexible solution ever.

You are right it is a planning failure. But a planning failure made in the 1960’s by the NCDC. The irony is what makes Canberra so car dependant is the idea that we would all live work and play in our own little townships with little need to venture outside.

The problem of course is people started to become more mobile in their work and didn’t move house to suit the NCDC’s ideals end result what we have today.

Hence a change in mentality is certainly in order and I do think, light rail or not that what is happening in Flemington road and Northborne Ave and the renewal of inner urban areas is a step in the right direction.

wildturkeycanoe8:21 pm 04 Jul 17

JC said :

Thirdly as for town planners creating a problem to justify a solution. Don’t quite understand this comment. People need to be housed somewhere.

You missed the point of that remark. It isn’t the location of housing I was talking about but the location of everything else. They have put all the homes out in the suburbs, but left all the employment, health care, government services and pretty much everything else in central Canberra. By separating where we live from where we work, there arises a need to commute. If that travel requirement was to be removed, there wouldn’t be a need for a tram as there wouldn’t be any peak hour chaos. We used to be able to go to our local mall for everything but as banks, insurers, health services, government portals and nearly all money making ventures try to save money by closing remote sites, people are left with no option but to travel. I wonder just how many people commute 15, 20 or more kilometres every day to and from their place of employment? Are those people easily able to relocate to an inner location to reduce their travel? Probably not with the current climate of high priced apartments. That is why they live out in the affordable suburbs and are forced to drive, thanks to unsuitable public transport options.
That is why fixing the existing bus system would make more sense than a tram as quite a substantial number of the cars clogging up the roads are from these outlying areas. People within 10km of the city can easily adopt public transport or cycling to get to work. That can not be done if you are out in the sticks. Trams will not make it any better even if they go all the way to Conder, because trams can not provide express services, because they can’t overtake. Most inflexible solution ever.

sambo83 said :

make the roads bigger, increase the speed limits, get bikes off the road, can the light rail and leave everyone alone to drive their cars around as they please. we don’t want more public transport!!

Absolutely correct. All those without cars (the elderly, the sick, the handicapped, the poor) can buy a car or walk. Better yet, remove the footpaths too and put in another car lane. Force everyone to own a car like the normal, unfit, overweight person who advocates this. Then when more lanes are needed knock down the neighbouring houses and make the road wider. You are so correct, the car should come first. I imagine you would want an increased health budget too? It will be needed to cope with the sedentary lifestyle you are advocating. This is what we need: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=dubai+roads&client=firefox-b&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjr5bzple_UAhWLgrwKHXWCCKUQsAQIRA&biw=1762&bih=947#imgrc=_

spades said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money. I will not get any benefit from the tram for probably at least the next twenty years at the rate things are progressing. Even if it does go west, it may not even get out to Kippax, so we will still be stuck with buses or cars. With the expansion happening out here Southern Cross drive will become like William Hovell Drive and Belconnen Way, gridlocked at peak hour and for longer than they are at present. Why? Because all the infrastructure is being built in Civic. So, everyone is going to need to commute to get to work. Why not spend money providing employment and services where the new communities are? Then there will be no need for a tram at all. The town planners are creating the problem that we need a solution for.

As someone who lives in the lower half of the territory (Weston Creek), I won’t see immediate benefits from the light rail, but that’s not what concerns me. It’s that I never really understood the reason for having the first phase go to Gungahlin. I understand running it across Northbourne, but it would make more sense to run it across more commercial districts. An even better strategy is to run it across a route that tourists are likely to be interested in. One that goes to Barton, Parliament House or Belconnen would be a better option.

It seems that by running it to Gungahlin we are only servicing a very specific demographic: Gungahlin residents going to work in Civic.

Why Gungahlin? I’ve said it several times before look housing density maps on the territory plan. That’s why Flemington road.

And agree it needs to be run into Barton etc but fact is it needs to start somewhere and Gungahlin is without doubt the most logical place to start. IMO the whole 200 bus route (stopping at the railways station rather than COC) should be stage 1 and 2.

make the roads bigger, increase the speed limits, get bikes off the road, can the light rail and leave everyone alone to drive their cars around as they please. we don’t want more public transport!!

shadow boxer said :

Imagine how many more cars (people) would get down that road if the cyclist was moved to the ample space on the footpath and an extra lane was built, the pedestrian lights were removed and people walked around and under the bridge to get to the other side and a light rail ran down the middle.

Cyclists and motorists used to co-exist so nicely back in the day, by all means share our roads but you take your chances and show some manners by not blocking the traffic.

The hatred of cyclist is not because we are all psycopaths, theres a practical reason related to their behaviour that cyclists should reflect on.

YES YES YES spot on, the narrow minded planners, removing more and more roads so people can ride bikes and walk, it was minus 8 on the weekend, who wants to ride in that kind of weather anyway?

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money. I will not get any benefit from the tram for probably at least the next twenty years at the rate things are progressing. Even if it does go west, it may not even get out to Kippax, so we will still be stuck with buses or cars. With the expansion happening out here Southern Cross drive will become like William Hovell Drive and Belconnen Way, gridlocked at peak hour and for longer than they are at present. Why? Because all the infrastructure is being built in Civic. So, everyone is going to need to commute to get to work. Why not spend money providing employment and services where the new communities are? Then there will be no need for a tram at all. The town planners are creating the problem that we need a solution for.

As someone who lives in the lower half of the territory (Weston Creek), I won’t see immediate benefits from the light rail, but that’s not what concerns me. It’s that I never really understood the reason for having the first phase go to Gungahlin. I understand running it across Northbourne, but it would make more sense to run it across more commercial districts. An even better strategy is to run it across a route that tourists are likely to be interested in. One that goes to Barton, Parliament House or Belconnen would be a better option.

It seems that by running it to Gungahlin we are only servicing a very specific demographic: Gungahlin residents going to work in Civic.

JC said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money. I will not get any benefit from the tram for probably at least the next twenty years at the rate things are progressing. Even if it does go west, it may not even get out to Kippax, so we will still be stuck with buses or cars. With the expansion happening out here Southern Cross drive will become like William Hovell Drive and Belconnen Way, gridlocked at peak hour and for longer than they are at present. Why? Because all the infrastructure is being built in Civic. So, everyone is going to need to commute to get to work. Why not spend money providing employment and services where the new communities are? Then there will be no need for a tram at all. The town planners are creating the problem that we need a solution for.

This has been done to death. I subsidised the construction of roads in Tuggeranong that I don’t ever use. As well as schools etc that I don’t use. How fair is that, why was MY money not spent on ME in Belconnen?

Secondly the cost is actually very minor when spread over 20 years as it is being done.

Thirdly as for town planners creating a problem to justify a solution. Don’t quite understand this comment. People need to be housed somewhere.

The options are we don’t provide any new housing. Not going to work.

Two we provide more land in outer suburbs for new housing estates, which will then need expansion of the trunk road network to accommodate these extra people.

Three, we provide options for higher density housing (which I know it is hard for some to beleive many now actually WANT and choose over the traditional detached house), and provide that density on corridors that have public transport commensurate with the populaton density. Ala Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave. Which BTW is the only line (plus extension through the triangle to Kingston) that I actually support, for the reason above.

Light rail in the form proposed for Gungahlin will not work to Belconnen, Woden or Tuggeranong. They need a more US style version of light rail, which is less stops, park and rides and major business shopping areas only.

The USA has light rail and we will have trams; 13 stops in 12km in fact. I am agreeing with you on this point JC.

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money. I will not get any benefit from the tram for probably at least the next twenty years at the rate things are progressing. Even if it does go west, it may not even get out to Kippax, so we will still be stuck with buses or cars. With the expansion happening out here Southern Cross drive will become like William Hovell Drive and Belconnen Way, gridlocked at peak hour and for longer than they are at present. Why? Because all the infrastructure is being built in Civic. So, everyone is going to need to commute to get to work. Why not spend money providing employment and services where the new communities are? Then there will be no need for a tram at all. The town planners are creating the problem that we need a solution for.

This has been done to death. I subsidised the construction of roads in Tuggeranong that I don’t ever use. As well as schools etc that I don’t use. How fair is that, why was MY money not spent on ME in Belconnen?

Secondly the cost is actually very minor when spread over 20 years as it is being done.

Thirdly as for town planners creating a problem to justify a solution. Don’t quite understand this comment. People need to be housed somewhere.

The options are we don’t provide any new housing. Not going to work.

Two we provide more land in outer suburbs for new housing estates, which will then need expansion of the trunk road network to accommodate these extra people.

Three, we provide options for higher density housing (which I know it is hard for some to beleive many now actually WANT and choose over the traditional detached house), and provide that density on corridors that have public transport commensurate with the populaton density. Ala Flemmington Road and Northborne Ave. Which BTW is the only line (plus extension through the triangle to Kingston) that I actually support, for the reason above.

Light rail in the form proposed for Gungahlin will not work to Belconnen, Woden or Tuggeranong. They need a more US style version of light rail, which is less stops, park and rides and major business shopping areas only.

shadow boxer9:03 am 04 Jul 17

carnardly said :

shadow boxer said :

Imagine how many more cars (people) would get down that road if the cyclist was moved to the ample space on the footpath and an extra lane was built,

that bike lane is very well used every day of the week. your 3 abreast cars is what holds you up – not cyclists.

remember, every cyclist in separated infrastructure is one not in ‘your’ lanes…

Yeh its really not, I travel that road every weekday during peak hour.

It travels quite well, the things that can cause issues during peak hour are when people want to slip off it to the left and need to brake to wait for a bike to trundle through and the pedestrian lights. This cascades the traffic for 100’s of metres.

Both could be alleviated by moving bikes onto the ample space off the road and cyclists waiting for a break in the traffic before crossing the slipways and sending pedestrian traffic around and under the bridge as the disabled parking is already there on the Regatta point side.

Don’t get me started on the clown on the recumbent bike who occupied the entire left lane heading north across the bridge at 5:10 pm.

Damien Haas said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money.

Yet another oft expressed but incorrect argument against better public transport.

– Rates are less than 30% of total revenue the territory receives.
– There is NO LEVY associated with public transport, or the light rail project. None at all.

FWIW I’d be fine with congestion charging, tolled roads and registration based on kilometers traveled per year, because all that road spending takes money from public transport (see what i did there…).

The incorrect argument is pretending that the revenue to find the light rail isn’t coming from government taxation of residents, mainly in the form of higher rates.

The government’s revenue levers are small, over 40% is sourced from federal grants mainly related to GST distribution. The government can’t really make meaningful (and efficient) revenue gains anywhere but through the taxation of land or additional land releases for sale which have their own impact.

Its expenditure is highly recurrent with also little chance for major cuts without significant reductions in services which would be politically unpalatable.

You’re correct that there is no levy for light rail, instead we are left with the government sourcing the revenue from all residents through higher rates regardless of whether they will utilize or benefit from it.

If the government was truly honest and wanted to gauge the real support for light rail, they would have instituted a direct levy to landholders close to the light rail routes to value capture the windfall gain. We all know exactly why that didn’t occur, too many votes to buy for the 2016 election.

Damien Haas said :

FWIW I’d be fine with congestion charging, tolled roads and registration based on kilometers traveled per year, because all that road spending takes money from public transport (see what i did there…).

I too have thought that registration based on kilometres travelled per year would be worth considering, as long as that varies with size of vehicle, to take into account that bigger vehicles generally do more damage to the road and take up more space. In my past working life, many years I would drive no more than 6,000kms, as I mostly cycled to work and so kept my car use down. I would strongly have supported such a tax then, because I would have benefited. Now that I am retired I do drive my car more, because I go travelling, and I might need to pay higher registration because of my increased car use. Which would be in one sense unfair because I never got a benefit in the years I didn’t drive my car that far, but now I would have to pay higher registration. However, I can see the morality in people being charged a higher registration for using the roads more, so I would have to bare it and try not to be selfish. Introducing such a tax though would add a hardship for those people living in more remote places in Australia (and I don’t mean Tuggeranong or Gungahlin 🙂 that don’t have access to public transport, so the idea becomes complicated by fairness. It might also reduce some tourism to remoter places if registration was increased for more kms driven, and those communities would then have a drop in income. Imagine what it would do to the grey nomads travel plans. Kilometres driven per year, don’t just occur within the ACT.

Congestion charging might be the best first step here, because it wouldn’t effect people living in more remote places in Australia, that don’t have alternatives; only those driving in cities, such as Canberra.

wildturkeycanoe said :

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money.

Yet another oft expressed but incorrect argument against better public transport.

– Rates are less than 30% of total revenue the territory receives.
– There is NO LEVY associated with public transport, or the light rail project. None at all.

FWIW I’d be fine with congestion charging, tolled roads and registration based on kilometers traveled per year, because all that road spending takes money from public transport (see what i did there…).

Perhaps people are upset because the tone of the original post makes it seem as though drivers are the scum of the earth.

This is something we have seen many times before. “Holier than Thou” evangelists who seem incapable of understanding that for many people, public transport cannot replace their car.

I’ll tell you a secret you seemed to have missed. Families are not against public transport. My kids use it frequently. It has a role in our life. It just can’t replace our car.

We are not against public transport. We are against people telling us we are making the wrong transport decision when their suggestion just will not work for us.

shadow boxer said :

Imagine how many more cars (people) would get down that road if the cyclist was moved to the ample space on the footpath and an extra lane was built,

that bike lane is very well used every day of the week. your 3 abreast cars is what holds you up – not cyclists. remember, every cyclist in separated infrastructure is one not in ‘your’ lanes…

wildturkeycanoe8:05 pm 03 Jul 17

bigred said :

However, I have taken an economists approach to pricing my car travel and I refuse to use a car to carry just me around and pay Mr Barr’s fees for storing it while unused. The $3 or so charged to the MyWay card is about what I think such journeys are worth.

It has the additional benefit that I do not have to deal with Australia’s worst drivers.

Economist approach? I used the bus today to take my eldest to the dentist and do a bit of shopping, but I couldn’t leave the youngsters at home so it become a family trip. Three kids plus me cost us a total of $7.59. Had I driven it would have only cost $3.12 in fuel. One day of rego is $3.40. Total driving cost is $6.52. Even if I include insurance it is almost the same cost as taking the bus.
I could have also saved over an hour of our lives spent meandering the suburbs AND my back wouldn’t be sore from the rough, jarring of potholes and speed bumps, along with the stiff suspension and the uncomfortable seats. I would also have had the means to carry more groceries home, but as it is we will need to make another trip because you can’t take a shopping trolley worth of groceries onto a bus. So, I will have to double that bus fare to accomplish what I could have done with the car for half the price. That’s what I think of your economy.

JC said :

No one is forcing people who need cars etc onto light rail so the argument about parents etc are not really valid.

There is upset from parents because It is they who are subsidising the apparent transport needs of the Gungahlin community, with our increased rates, increased levies, increased pretty much everything because the government doesn’t know how to be wise with our money. I will not get any benefit from the tram for probably at least the next twenty years at the rate things are progressing. Even if it does go west, it may not even get out to Kippax, so we will still be stuck with buses or cars. With the expansion happening out here Southern Cross drive will become like William Hovell Drive and Belconnen Way, gridlocked at peak hour and for longer than they are at present. Why? Because all the infrastructure is being built in Civic. So, everyone is going to need to commute to get to work. Why not spend money providing employment and services where the new communities are? Then there will be no need for a tram at all. The town planners are creating the problem that we need a solution for.

spades said :

Is it just me or have the light rail apologists conveniently ignored valid posts by parents who need cars to ferry kids around?

No one has ignored it. it has been addressed ad nauseum, but ignored by the frothing at the mouth opponents of better public transport.

Mass transit suits tens of thousands of people. If your individual circumstances aren’t met by public transport you can change your circumstances, or choose another method. Drive yourself or your kids, catch a taxi, ride a bike or even walk.

Your reasons supporting your personal circumstances for public transport not being suitable, by choices you have made, are a poor argument for mass transit not being suitable for tens of thousands of other people who do, and will use it, every day.

shadow boxer said :

Postalgeek said :

shadow boxer said :

Cyclists and motorists used to co-exist so nicely back in the day, by all means share our roads but you take your chances and show some manners by not blocking the traffic..

No. They didn’t co-exist nicely, not during the 25 years I’ve ridden on ACT roads. I’ve been buzzed, had bottles thrown at me, abused, and honked, all for riding as far to the left of the road as was safe to do so, and when I say know that I prefer the hazards on the edge of the road to the clear asphalt next to the cars. But you keep telling yourself that.

There’s a practical reason to cycle lanes related to motorists’ behaviour that motorists should reflect on.

You seem angry my friend,

I rode my bike to work right through the late 70’s, 80’s and to the mid 90’s when it became impractical to do so with four young children. I still ride occasionally but I have never experienced any of those things you mentioned.

Then again I ride as a guest on the road, take care to look after myself and never impede traffic.

That was my point, its not the odd motorist that has a view of cyclists and the cycling lobby that ranges between mild irritation and vehement hatred. Its pretty well all of us.

We are either all crazy idiots or the cyclists have a crossed a line the community sees as unacceptable.

When reflecting on this I would draw your attention to the motorcycling community who saw an opportunity to better use the roads (lane filtering) and came up with a proposal that places the responsibility for safety on themselves and doesn’t impede traffic. They have now implemented and use that policy in an impeccable manner, no-one hates them or gives them a second thought. Everyone’s happy.

They certainly didn’t demand a ridiculous one metre bubble around themselves or special lanes.

I doubt anyone’s doing any reflecting in the cycling war though.

I’ve had a bottle thrown at me from a car, when I was riding on the neighbouring shared/bicycle path, with a stretch of grass between us. Luckily they missed, because a full bottle could do serious damage, even in some circumstances kill. So, a person on a bike doesn’t need to do anything to upset the the person in the car, beyond exist.

However, after many years riding I has very little problem from people in cars. Incidents like this were far apart.

wildturkeycanoe said :

Bigred – If you think cars are “rear mirror” and 1960s while trams are high tech trialled and tested successes, how do you suppose these spines are going to service the needs of tge families mentioned here? Tell me how exactly your transport solution works to cater for the time-driven trips all over the place? If you can prove to me a bus/tram combination will get family’s kids to school, sports, leisure and the parents to work on time, I will gladly vack down from this argument. But the simple fact of the matter is your simplistic solution will not deliver on its promise and people will have to resort to personalized transport – cars. Until our society, education, employment and services structures change from their 200 year old design, we will nee transport that caters for that lifestyle. Of course becoming a lemming and following all the other lemmings like clockwork every day will suit your transport model, but we aren’t a robotic army of workers yet.

I think you need to read my contribution again, and I apologise for not being clearer. I used the word evolution and perhaps should have also mentioned that no one is talking compulsion as far as I can see. In my scenario, I use my car to cart kids, visitors and ageing relatives around. I cannot see how light rail will remove that requirement. However, I have taken an economists approach to pricing my car travel and I refuse to use a car to carry just me around and pay Mr Barr’s fees for storing it while unused. The $3 or so charged to the MyWay card is about what I think such journeys are worth. It has the additional benefit that I do not have to deal with Australia’s worst drivers.

shadow boxer2:52 pm 03 Jul 17

Postalgeek said :

shadow boxer said :

Cyclists and motorists used to co-exist so nicely back in the day, by all means share our roads but you take your chances and show some manners by not blocking the traffic..

No. They didn’t co-exist nicely, not during the 25 years I’ve ridden on ACT roads. I’ve been buzzed, had bottles thrown at me, abused, and honked, all for riding as far to the left of the road as was safe to do so, and when I say know that I prefer the hazards on the edge of the road to the clear asphalt next to the cars. But you keep telling yourself that.

There’s a practical reason to cycle lanes related to motorists’ behaviour that motorists should reflect on.

You seem angry my friend,

I rode my bike to work right through the late 70’s, 80’s and to the mid 90’s when it became impractical to do so with four young children. I still ride occasionally but I have never experienced any of those things you mentioned.

Then again I ride as a guest on the road, take care to look after myself and never impede traffic.

That was my point, its not the odd motorist that has a view of cyclists and the cycling lobby that ranges between mild irritation and vehement hatred. Its pretty well all of us.

We are either all crazy idiots or the cyclists have a crossed a line the community sees as unacceptable.

When reflecting on this I would draw your attention to the motorcycling community who saw an opportunity to better use the roads (lane filtering) and came up with a proposal that places the responsibility for safety on themselves and doesn’t impede traffic. They have now implemented and use that policy in an impeccable manner, no-one hates them or gives them a second thought. Everyone’s happy.

They certainly didn’t demand a ridiculous one metre bubble around themselves or special lanes.

I doubt anyone’s doing any reflecting in the cycling war though.

spades said :

Is it just me or have the light rail apologists conveniently ignored valid posts by parents who need cars to ferry kids around? Last time I checked, Gungahlin is Canberra’s nappy valley. Are we really expecting massive number of people leaving their cars for the light rail? I suspect the majority of those will have just transferred over from taking the bus. I can’t see how families will magically just want to use light rail when the time comes.

My issue with the light rail is its location. I can’t see why Gungahlin has been prioritised over, say, Belconnen. Both Civic and Belconnen are commercial, residential and public service hubs. Lots of traffic back and forth throughout the day. Gungahlin is mainly just a residential hub. The traffic will be mostly one way for workers: to Civic in the morning and back to Gungahlin in the afternoon.

No one is forcing people who need cars etc onto light rail so the argument about parents etc are not really valid.

As for why Gungahlin over other areas simple fact is light rail is designed to service the corridor it runs through which is you look at the territory plan would show the Flemington road/Northborne ave corridor to be the highest density in the whole of the ACT. And is home to many commuters already. Refer to previous point.

pink little birdie said :

Since I moved out of my mum’s house to Belconnen (where I work) I have lived within walking or cycling distance to Belconnen. Personal choice (3 bed ensuite townhouse at the cheeper rent end currently) we do this to avoid paying for parking (because it’s expensive).

I actually find parking at the mall ridiculously expensive for weekdays now (on mat leave) I can either drive and park when meeting for lunch but that makes lunch and feeding the baby and visiting 1 or 2 shops is the whole 2 hours or I can walk and spend the afternoon at the shops but then I will only buy little things because I have to carry them home on the pram (though 2 or 3 food stops)

If I worked in Civic I would definitely use public transport because paying for parking is balls. (Even when I lived tuggeranong and worked belconnen it was only 2 buses with a change in Woden. or 1 bus and a 20 minute walk home)

But for all those families who need their car for early afternoon activities or multiple locations during the day if even just 10% more of people who go direct home-work-home on easy routes didn’t drive it would free up many parking spaces in the carparks.
When I was in school I attended the local (walk/ride/bus) schools and was lucky enough that the training for sports and even scouts were walking distance (When I was in cubs we would often work because the single driver in my family was working). Sure games weren’t but in primary school training were held just after school at the school. Even swimming lessons in late primary years 5-6 I was bussing myself to (picked up afterwards but mum’s workplace and swimming lessons were both in Tuggeranong).

Retired now, but when I worked I too found it silly to pay for parking. My work had fees for parking years before it was introduced most other places. I down graded the house I wanted to buy so I could be in cycling distance of work. (Eight kms from work.) For the same money I could have bought a new home out Tuggeranong direction, but that choice would have made me car dependant and I chose not to be that. Most other people I knew chose to be car dependant and bought out that way. It was definitely their choice to do that. They too could have lived closer to work, but for the same money what they would have had to accept in housing was ‘beneath them’. They would have not used those words though. On wet days I caught the bus as it was very close to my house and dropped me off two kms from work, so a brisk walk and I was there. I saved a lot of money by not driving to work everyday. Wear and tear on my car, parking fees and petrol. This money I was able to redirect to my mortgage. I also saved gym fees, because I got exercise cycling to work. Plus being within easy distance, on a good bus route, I was easily able to rent out my two spare bedrooms. Renters prefer to live closer to work/study places. Some of my tenants also discovered how easy it was to cycle to their work or study as well. Others used the bus. Yes, some drove, but because of the convenience of living closer to work/study, some actually changed from car users to bicycle or bus, and started leaving their car at home.

Is it just me or have the light rail apologists conveniently ignored valid posts by parents who need cars to ferry kids around? Last time I checked, Gungahlin is Canberra’s nappy valley. Are we really expecting massive number of people leaving their cars for the light rail? I suspect the majority of those will have just transferred over from taking the bus. I can’t see how families will magically just want to use light rail when the time comes.

My issue with the light rail is its location. I can’t see why Gungahlin has been prioritised over, say, Belconnen. Both Civic and Belconnen are commercial, residential and public service hubs. Lots of traffic back and forth throughout the day. Gungahlin is mainly just a residential hub. The traffic will be mostly one way for workers: to Civic in the morning and back to Gungahlin in the afternoon.

wildturkeycanoe said :

Bigred – If you think cars are “rear mirror” and 1960s while trams are high tech trialled and tested successes, how do you suppose these spines are going to service the needs of tge families mentioned here? Tell me how exactly your transport solution works to cater for the time-driven trips all over the place? If you can prove to me a bus/tram combination will get family’s kids to school, sports, leisure and the parents to work on time, I will gladly vack down from this argument. But the simple fact of the matter is your simplistic solution will not deliver on its promise and people will have to resort to personalized transport – cars. Until our society, education, employment and services structures change from their 200 year old design, we will nee transport that caters for that lifestyle. Of course becoming a lemming and following all the other lemmings like clockwork every day will suit your transport model, but we aren’t a robotic army of workers yet.

Geez Louise, calm down. No-one is taking away your car. Even if private cars were banned roads still wouldn’t be going anywhere while goods and freight needed to be distributed. Of course alternative transport doesn’t suit everyone. It doesn’t suit me most of the time because where I am I have no practical options outside a car apart from riding along a highway, and that’s a no-go with young kids.
A smart driver encourages alternative transport because it decongests the roads for them and frees up parking spots. If you have any common sense you’ll see that population growth and increasing density is either going to need diverse and attractive forms of transport, or everyone is going to be in a car in front of you, blocking your lane far more consistently and far more effectively than any cyclist ever could. And when you finallyfind a parking spot, you’ll be forced to exercise anyway as you take the long walk to where you need to be.

Garfield said :

Damien Haas said :

Clearly I read the wrong document. I read the business case for light rail. One of a number of reports that all recommended the Civic-Gungahlin light rail project. The URS report for example that recommends light rail as the best overall option for Canberra.

The business case specifically says its about assessing LR Stage 1 and does not compare it to BRT, so in the context of this discussion that part of your comment is useless.

The URS report uses a subjective star system rather than a quantified economic analysis, but if we take out the construction costs we can use it to make a rough value comparison between the 2. It says LR delivers 11 stars of net benefit for an estimated cost of $780m, or $70.9m per star while BRT would provide 9 stars of net benefit for an estimated cost of $330m, or $36.67m per star.

While LR provides more stars overall, the question as to which is better for Canberra comes down to whether the government could have delivered more than 2 stars of benefit from other projects for the extra $450m that it would cost to build LR. Based on the costs per star of the 2 projects, its likely that the government could have delivered 6 to 12 stars of additional benefits for that amount of money. Thus what that report actually says is that in choosing BRT, the government could have provided 15-21 stars worth of benefit for the same investment in LR that would provide 11 stars of benefit.

Additionally the URS ratings are on the basis that LR was kerbside rather than on the median, with the net stars dropping to 5 were that the case. What this means is the URS report actually says not only did we get the 2nd best option, we got the 2nd best choice of alignment for the 2nd best option.

The submission to Infrastructure Australia also showed BRT to be better value, so with the government’s own internal analysis, BRT is leading LR 3-0 in reports.

Exactly.

I don’t mind if people prefer light rail and think it’s a good solution, but they need to be honest and realise that it was chosen for political and intangible benefits over a hard and objective analysis of options.

It may well produce a myriad of benefits that a bus or BRT option wouldn’t but you would have to balance that with the massive opportunity cost of the reduced expenditure for the BRT. Or even the option to install a bus system in the interim with light rail delivered in 20 years when the population density actually required it. But we all know why such options would not be politically palatable for this government.

wildturkeycanoe6:58 am 03 Jul 17

Bigred – If you think cars are “rear mirror” and 1960s while trams are high tech trialled and tested successes, how do you suppose these spines are going to service the needs of tge families mentioned here? Tell me how exactly your transport solution works to cater for the time-driven trips all over the place? If you can prove to me a bus/tram combination will get family’s kids to school, sports, leisure and the parents to work on time, I will gladly vack down from this argument. But the simple fact of the matter is your simplistic solution will not deliver on its promise and people will have to resort to personalized transport – cars. Until our society, education, employment and services structures change from their 200 year old design, we will nee transport that caters for that lifestyle. Of course becoming a lemming and following all the other lemmings like clockwork every day will suit your transport model, but we aren’t a robotic army of workers yet.

In Melbourne, obviously a company that has a few BRTs around the world, Transdev, thinks building BRT is a viable alternative to trams and heavy rail.

https://blogs.crikey.com.au/theurbanist/2017/06/13/doncaster-bus-rapid-transit-good-idea/

pink little birdie12:46 am 03 Jul 17

Since I moved out of my mum’s house to Belconnen (where I work) I have lived within walking or cycling distance to Belconnen. Personal choice (3 bed ensuite townhouse at the cheeper rent end currently) we do this to avoid paying for parking (because it’s expensive).

I actually find parking at the mall ridiculously expensive for weekdays now (on mat leave) I can either drive and park when meeting for lunch but that makes lunch and feeding the baby and visiting 1 or 2 shops is the whole 2 hours or I can walk and spend the afternoon at the shops but then I will only buy little things because I have to carry them home on the pram (though 2 or 3 food stops)

If I worked in Civic I would definitely use public transport because paying for parking is balls. (Even when I lived tuggeranong and worked belconnen it was only 2 buses with a change in Woden. or 1 bus and a 20 minute walk home)

But for all those families who need their car for early afternoon activities or multiple locations during the day if even just 10% more of people who go direct home-work-home on easy routes didn’t drive it would free up many parking spaces in the carparks.
When I was in school I attended the local (walk/ride/bus) schools and was lucky enough that the training for sports and even scouts were walking distance (When I was in cubs we would often work because the single driver in my family was working). Sure games weren’t but in primary school training were held just after school at the school. Even swimming lessons in late primary years 5-6 I was bussing myself to (picked up afterwards but mum’s workplace and swimming lessons were both in Tuggeranong).

Damien Haas said :

Clearly I read the wrong document. I read the business case for light rail. One of a number of reports that all recommended the Civic-Gungahlin light rail project. The URS report for example that recommends light rail as the best overall option for Canberra.

The business case specifically says its about assessing LR Stage 1 and does not compare it to BRT, so in the context of this discussion that part of your comment is useless.

The URS report uses a subjective star system rather than a quantified economic analysis, but if we take out the construction costs we can use it to make a rough value comparison between the 2. It says LR delivers 11 stars of net benefit for an estimated cost of $780m, or $70.9m per star while BRT would provide 9 stars of net benefit for an estimated cost of $330m, or $36.67m per star.

While LR provides more stars overall, the question as to which is better for Canberra comes down to whether the government could have delivered more than 2 stars of benefit from other projects for the extra $450m that it would cost to build LR. Based on the costs per star of the 2 projects, its likely that the government could have delivered 6 to 12 stars of additional benefits for that amount of money. Thus what that report actually says is that in choosing BRT, the government could have provided 15-21 stars worth of benefit for the same investment in LR that would provide 11 stars of benefit.

Additionally the URS ratings are on the basis that LR was kerbside rather than on the median, with the net stars dropping to 5 were that the case. What this means is the URS report actually says not only did we get the 2nd best option, we got the 2nd best choice of alignment for the 2nd best option.

The submission to Infrastructure Australia also showed BRT to be better value, so with the government’s own internal analysis, BRT is leading LR 3-0 in reports.

I think Robert needs to be congratulated for exercising personal courage and putting his over the horizon views to public scrutiny. It is a shame quite a few responses take the rear vision mirror approach. Sorry guys and gals, the 1960s are over.

I am entirely comfortable with the light rail spine that has been committed to so far because it uses proven and efficient technology to deal with a defined problem. The notion that a standard diesel bus is fit for purpose in a city of 400,000 or 500,000 is patently absurd. The same applies for a personalised pod that can carry two or three people near to their destination. Those who think autonomous vehicles will be able to do the heavy transport lifting in a modern urban centre have quite a few technological and cultural obstacles to overcome – I was seduced by the concept of flying vehicles advanced by the Jetsons was back when and now am disappointed and sceptical.

I think the real answer is in evolution not revolution. I think we will see autonomous applications. Most likely would be automated light rail vehicles first, followed by feeder buses as the technology improves and confidence grows. A real leap of faith for autonomous pods I am afraid.

Robert, if you interested in a practical approach to reducing the social and economic costs of private cars and reducing disadvantage by making transport cheaper and universally available to all, door-to-door, 24×7 and on-demand, I sincerely and strongly urge you to help shape the terms under which autonomous cars will be integrated into our society.

I encourage you to consider Tony Dutznik’s essay “Choose Your Own Utopia: What Will We Make of Driverless Cars?” ( http://usa.streetsblog.org/2015/10/02/chose-your-own-utopia-what-will-we-make-of-driverless-cars/ ) , RethinkX’s report “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the Collapse of the Internal-Combustion Vehicle and Oil Industries” ( https://static1.squarespace.com/static/585c3439be65942f022bbf9b/t/591a2e4be6f2e1c13df930c5/1494888038959/RethinkX+Report_051517.pdf ), Laura Bliss’s “CityLab” essay “Who’s Calling the Shots On Autonomous Vehicles?” (https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/04/whos-calling-the-shots-on-autonomous-vehicles/523386/ ) and the current Scientific American issue’s special report on sustainable cities.

Robert, your question “what a city is for – is it for motorists, or is it for people?” is a false dichotomy.

Replacing already well patronised bus routes with lower capacity (Stage1, morning-peak) or slower (Stage2, very likely) trams, which cross over 20 road-intersections (Stage1, some of the busiest in Canberra), forcing people to walk further to tram-stops and change between trams and buses, and having fewer seats along the journey just make things worse. Capital Metro’s own Business-Case showed the cost-per-journey was higher for the tram than ACTION bus, diverting money from other government priorities.

Canberra’s gross urban form is impractical to change – it is a vast, low-density city, being actively expanded at the edges by the current ACTGov’s land-release policies. Short of convincing the ACTGov to abandon North-Gungahlin, Far-West-Belconnen, Molonglo, and CSIRO to abandon its Ginnindera project, and embarking on radical urban-infill then bulldozing two-thirds of the outer suburbs, there will never be the density to allow buses/trams to provide attractive transport to those most in need let alone those with the option of using their private-cars.

So Robert, whilst I agree with your points regarding the disruption caused by planning for private-cars, and the inequality resulting from those unable to drive, you offer no way forward. The experience of Wildturkeycanoe, Spiral, Reprobate and many others commentators on similar threads echoes that of me, my friends and family: life is complicated, life is often unfair, and poor and inconvenient transport options just makes it harder. Lower housing costs mean less convenient locations are the lot of the disadvantaged, the unlucky, a trend exacerbated by the removal of much “inner north” public housing on land the ACTGov has cynically deemed too valuable to be occupied by those who most benefit from its location.

Do as we say not as we do. I’m pretty sure fire trucks and ambulances need roads. How is the car inefficient compared to light rail from gunners to civic?
The car gets me and my tools to work quickly where I can earn the country more money in taxes.
The car gets me to my holidays quickly so I can improve tourist dollar for the country.
The car gets injured people to hospital quickly so people don’t die waiting.
The car gets police to your house or business quickly when you need them.

I could keep going on about the benefits of a car. In this place it would be like banging your head against a wall. You even blame the car for high rents?

When your house is on fire be sure to ask for the horse and cart and not a fire truck.

Damien Haas said :

I’d urge the people decrying public transport……. .

Good grief. I havent read anyone “decrying public transport”. Rather, that the Tram isnt as suitable for Canberra as say, BRT would be. any attempts to squash anti Tram comments by classiying those as being “anti public transport”, are just absurd and demonstrates a totally blinkered approach.

Damien Haas said :

Light rail and integrated buses will provide more buses, more frequently to the suburbs that have infrequent services now. Planning and transport policy has led to increasing urban densification around transport corridors. People are choosing a lifestyle that isn’t car dependent.

LR & integrated buses will increase the travel times for many commuters. As I’ve mentioned before, people living in the deep south of Tuggeranong, living there because they can’t afford to live anywhere else in this increasingly expensive city, can currently catch express buses to & from the city with reasonable travel times. Once LR is extended to the Tuggeranong town centre, they will have to catch a bus there, get off and on to LR, then go to Woden with multiple stops along the way and then go to the City with yet more stops. It will probably double current travel times. Its more likely to get people off public transport and into their cars than vice versa.

Damien Haas said :

I’d urge the people decrying public transport and defending their car dependent lifestyle to reread Roberts article. Changing Canberra to become less car-centric requires creating better public transport and planning options.

That is occurring.

No one is taking your car away, you are being provided with better options. If you chose to live tens of kilometres away from where your child goes to school, then that is your choice. Other people may choose to live near public transport and take advantage of that. Some people may prefer to have one family car instead of two or more.

Light rail and integrated buses will provide more buses, more frequently to the suburbs that have infrequent services now. Planning and transport policy has led to increasing urban densification around transport corridors. People are choosing a lifestyle that isn’t car dependent.

Haven’t you heard Damian people are not choosing these lifestyles they are being forced into them by a government hell bent on making money from land sales and to justify light rail. Well that’s what I read here on a weekly basis anyway.

wildturkeycanoe8:03 am 02 Jul 17

Damien, do you seriously think where people live and send their kids to school is just a simple matter of choice? If so, I suggest you see a doctor as you may be suffering some form of disassociative condition. Firstly, as is commonly know, prices of property along these new transport routes are skyrocketing. Can everyone just sell up and move, especially if they have children, limited wages and an inability to refinance their loan? Did you know that secondary education choices in your own catchment area sometimes are not better or easier? Our eldest son, to get to the “in area” college would need a car because there are no public transport connections to/from our suburb. Ridiculous right? Thankfully he was accepted for out of area where buses go direct. Thirdly, you cannot put every family into the same basket. Everyone has unique lifestyles and travel needs. Public transport cannot and has not adapted to all of these needs. Cars are not a backup for the “one-off” days, they are necessary for every day. We have no choice because the government is centralizing employment and services rather than putting them where people live. Look at things like health, welfare, employment, banking, industry…it is all moving to the NCA’s lake district and leaving suburbanites with the need to drive long distances to work, access services and education. It’ll be decades if/when trams are running in Tuggers or Belconnen, unless the piggy bank is empty first. Choosing to move to an overpriced Gunner’s apartment just isn’t an option for most. But if a Utopian destiny keeps you warm at night, keep dreaming. We will continue to drive in the absence of a suitable alternative.

surely segways can assist with the traffic congestion until light rail is up and running. I can’t wait to see these on the footpaths in the near future

I’d urge the people decrying public transport and defending their car dependent lifestyle to reread Roberts article. Changing Canberra to become less car-centric requires creating better public transport and planning options.

That is occurring.

No one is taking your car away, you are being provided with better options. If you chose to live tens of kilometres away from where your child goes to school, then that is your choice. Other people may choose to live near public transport and take advantage of that. Some people may prefer to have one family car instead of two or more.

Light rail and integrated buses will provide more buses, more frequently to the suburbs that have infrequent services now. Planning and transport policy has led to increasing urban densification around transport corridors. People are choosing a lifestyle that isn’t car dependent.

Clearly I read the wrong document. I read the business case for light rail. One of a number of reports that all recommended the Civic-Gungahlin light rail project. The URS report for example that recommends light rail as the best overall option for Canberra.

Sure you can comb through documents and find a line or two that you believe conforms to your desire to prove bus only public transport as somehow a better option that light rail integrated with buses, but it’s a fairly pointless task.

I repeat – BCA is one tool in the decision makers tool box. There are others, and ultimately a decision was taken, supported by evidence, and then that decision was supported at two consecutive elections.

It is a fair call to say that the discussion has moved on. But feel free to fight a battle from 2013 with the same arguments from 2013 that weren’t correct then, and were decided upon by the electorate in 2016.

Leon Arundell said :

Damien Haas said :

Leon Arundell said :

Before making further uninformed comments, Damien should read the economic analysis …

ACT legislation requires that decisions are made based on environmental, social and cost factors. Benefit cost analysis is only one tool in the decision makers toolbox.

If Damien has followed my advice, he would have discovered that the Government’s benefit cost analysis took environmental, social and financial factors into account.

Leon Arundell said :

Damien Haas said :

Leon Arundell said :

Before making further uninformed comments, Damien should read the economic analysis …

ACT legislation requires that decisions are made based on environmental, social and cost factors. Benefit cost analysis is only one tool in the decision makers toolbox.

If Damien has followed my advice, he would have discovered that the Government’s benefit cost analysis took environmental, social and financial factors into account.

He knows that analysis by the government, which they refused to release under FOI to the Canberra Times for almost 2 years, took those extra factors into account. He also knows that with the wider social and environmental factors taken into account, BRT was shown to be even better than LR than was the case with the purely economic analysis.

This is the article.
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/government-report-says-light-rail-cant-compete-with-rapid-bus-as-a-transport-project-20160826-gr1yfk.html

If the government had decided to invest in BRT instead of LR, we would have had better transport times than we’ll end up with under LR, we would have still received the majority of the redevelopment benefits and the government would have had money left over to invest in a new convention centre, or city to the lake or they could have stopped jacking up taxes on residents. That’s something nobody seems to talk about in regards to LR, the extra things we could have had if we’d gone for the cheaper option.

The fact the opposition couldn’t make headway in the election with all these factors against LR, and indeed didn’t put together an actual plan for BRT, means Canberra will be stuck with the inferior option. Not only did they completely fail in their campaign against LR, they rewarded the shadow minister responsible for the failure by making him party leader.

Leon Arundell9:05 am 01 Jul 17

Damien Haas said :

Leon Arundell said :

Before making further uninformed comments, Damien should read the economic analysis …

ACT legislation requires that decisions are made based on environmental, social and cost factors. Benefit cost analysis is only one tool in the decision makers toolbox.

If Damien has followed my advice, he would have discovered that the Government’s benefit cost analysis took environmental, social and financial factors into account.

I have primary school children.

I work in Tuggeranong and live in Molonglo. When I started with the organisation they were in Woden, but they moved. At one point they had me at Symonston. My wife works at Majura Park (she was transferred there). My kids go to school in Coombs.

On Mondays my kids have cubs from 6:30-8:00 in Duffy.
On Tuesday they have swimming lessons from 5:30-6:00 in Belconnen.
On Wednesday one has soccer at training at Warramanga from 5:00-6:00, an older child has dog training at Symonston from 6:30-7:30.
On Thursday one has a martial arts class in Tuggeranong from 6:30-8:00.
On Saturday two have soccer games. One will be at Warramanga, the other may also be, but could be anywhere from Tuggeranong to Belconnen.

Please tell me how I can ditch my car and use buses or the light rail?

Don’t forget that as they are primary school age I would prefer them to have had dinner before the 6:30 starting events as they tend to finish around 8 and by the time they get home it is already bed time.

We also consider it important for the family to eat together.

Of course I could pull the kids out of their activities, but I consider things such as swimming ability, fitness, team sports etc to be beneficial to both the children and the community.

dungfungus said :

Canberra was planned for the motor car and what great foresight that was. We are the envy of most other capital cities in the world. I think your comments about some motorists evolving into “sociopaths” and non-drivers being relegated “non-citizen status” are highly emotive.

By the way, I walk 10km everyday.

WAS planned in the 1960’s by the NCDC and in fact many of the problems that we have today we can thank on this very planning and the 1960’s mentality. Like for example part of this plan was we would all live work and play in our own townships and rarely have to venture to other parts of town.

wildturkeycanoe8:26 pm 30 Jun 17

I am totally on the same page as Reprobate on this. Without a family car, it would be impossible to carry on with our lives.
Presently I am forbidden from driving due to having undergone major surgery. This has left me pretty much stranded at home. Public transport does not provide me with suitable options to take care of my needs.
For example: today my son had to go for an appointment at the orthodontist, which I had booked in for 1:20PM. I would have had to catch a bus from our nearest stop, a good 10 minute walk from home, go all the way in to Belconnen, catch a second bus to the school, then catch another one from there back to the orthodontist. That exercise alone would have taken me two buses and 50 minutes. Then after the appointment I would have had another 25 minute walk [probably much more with my recovering back] and IF I made the connecting service, a 42 minute trip home to barely make it in time to pick up my other son from school.
The whole exercise would have been doable in a car in a total time of less than an hour, but the public transport option would have taken me over 3 hours. I’m all for making Canberra a better place but the sacrifices to do so are in reality, impossible for many, many people. We will need to drive our cars, there is no other way around it.
Public transport might suit childless people who have a 9-5 life with little that can change or go wrong, but how many parents who probably both have to work to make ends meet can even contemplate life without the necessity of transport when and where they need it?

Leon Arundell said :

Many Canberrans argued in favour of buses which, according to the Government’s analysis, could provide more than 90% of the benefits of light rail at less than half the cost. That analysis implies that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1.

Many clearly not the majority otherwise we would have a goose as chief minister.

A_Cog said :

Damien Haas said :

Light rail is a force multiplier in an urban planning sense. A bus only transport system is not.

Umm, Damien, in your rush to dispute Leon’s (accurate) comments, let’s all be clear that you’ve been a vocal advocate for the Light Rail, even running the website and NGO advocating it. So of course you’re going to dispute the bus option.

Secondly, there is no difference between bus routes and light rail. Melbourne growth shows no differential between density increases along tram routes or roads with bus routes. So no, LR is NOT a force multiplier over buses. The only thing it multiplies is the costs, because…

…thirdly, let’s remember that the LR Business Case estimated the bus alternative as $276m, and the light rail option as approx. $680m. That has now blown out to over $1.1b.

That cost blowout explains the ratcheting up of rates and everything else, and explain Barr’s overestimation of public housing sales revenues along the Northbourne Corridor (land sales revenue estimates underpin the financing).

The light rail is a smokescreen for justifying enormous density increases along the entire Northbourne Corridor, which will then ripple outwards in the decades ahead. As for Stage 2 ever being built, hahahahahaha.

Melbourne has a legacy tram system not light rail so not sure the comparison. Though it does have a couple of sections of light rail which have indeed seen density increases. Thinking the port Melbourne section of the 109 and the St Kilda section of the 96.

Holden Caulfield said :

dungfungus said :

The photo accompanying this article is totally disingenuous as it depicts total gridlock which can be understood by reading the electric sign “Acton Tunnel Closed”. This is not a normal situation but let’s milk it for all it’s worth anyhow.

It’s a precursor to the NCA’s plans. 😉

By the way, I ride my bike to work everyday. Sometimes I walk 10km too.

What’s your point?

The point is I was walking 10km a day before some social engineer decided walking should now be called “active transport”.

Leon Arundell said :

Before making further uninformed comments, Damien should read the economic analysis on pages 29 ff of the ACT Government’s 2012 submission to Infrastructure Australia, at http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/887674/Light-rail-August-2012-Infrastructure-Australia-submission-City-to-Gungahlin-Trans….pdf

The link to the implication that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1 is a logical one that follows on from the relative benefit-cost analysis.

ACT legislation requires that decisions are made based on environmental, social and cost factors. Benefit cost analysis is only one tool in the decision makers toolbox.

There are a wider range of economic benefits that are able to be delivered by light rail than a bus only option can deliver. That is not just an informed opinion, its a verifiable universal truth.

Continued selective quoting doesn’t support your contention.

A_Cog said :

Umm, Damien, in your rush to dispute Leon’s (accurate) comments, let’s all be clear that you’ve been a vocal advocate for the Light Rail, even running the website and NGO advocating it. So of course you’re going to dispute the bus option.

That is because I advocate evidence based decision making, not fantasy based decision making.

A_Cog said :

Secondly, there is no difference between bus routes and light rail. Melbourne growth shows no differential between density increases along tram routes or roads with bus routes. So no, LR is NOT a force multiplier over buses. The only thing it multiplies is the costs, because…

Arrant nonsense, with nil evidence to support it.

A_Cog said :

…thirdly, let’s remember that the LR Business Case estimated the bus alternative as $276m, and the light rail option as approx. $680m. That has now blown out to over $1.1b.

Ignoring selective quoting and interpretation of the business case, how has the cost ‘blown out’? It is $85m a year. For 20 years.

A_Cog said :

That cost blowout explains the ratcheting up of rates and everything else, and explain Barr’s overestimation of public housing sales revenues along the Northbourne Corridor (land sales revenue estimates underpin the financing).

Tax reform explains rate increases. Light rail is less than 1% of the territory budget. It has nil impact on rates or any other tax increase.

A_Cog said :

The light rail is a smokescreen for justifying enormous density increases along the entire Northbourne Corridor, which will then ripple outwards in the decades ahead. As for Stage 2 ever being built, hahahahahaha.

Light rail is the backbone for an integrated transport system. It will allow a city that will grow ANYWAY, to grow in a planned way, and still allow us to travel around it without road congestion impacting our lifestyle or productivity.

ChrisinTurner4:34 pm 30 Jun 17

Robert suggests the opponents of Light Rail are car-centric. He should read the reasons given by Infrastructure Australia for not allowing Federal funding because LR is “unsuitable” for Canberra. Canberra is the same geographic size as Sydney. It needs Rapid transport. The proposed tram from Civic to Woden will take two to three times as long as the buses, depending on the route chosen. Buses in bus-lanes are best if we can’t afford a Metro rail system like Sydney and Melbourne.

shadow boxer said :

Cyclists and motorists used to co-exist so nicely back in the day, by all means share our roads but you take your chances and show some manners by not blocking the traffic..

No. They didn’t co-exist nicely, not during the 25 years I’ve ridden on ACT roads. I’ve been buzzed, had bottles thrown at me, abused, and honked, all for riding as far to the left of the road as was safe to do so, and when I say know that I prefer the hazards on the edge of the road to the clear asphalt next to the cars. But you keep telling yourself that.

Theres a practical reason to cycle lanes related to motorists’ behaviour that motorists should reflect on.

A_Cog said :

Secondly, there is no difference between bus routes and light rail.

Aside from the fact that bus routes cost almost nothing to install and can be easily adjusted as required due to demographic changes or even simply the time of the day, whereas light rail costs over a billion dollars to install and is then set on a path which cannot be altered without considerable time, effort and expense.

Damien Haas said :

Light rail is a force multiplier in an urban planning sense. A bus only transport system is not.

Umm, Damien, in your rush to dispute Leon’s (accurate) comments, let’s all be clear that you’ve been a vocal advocate for the Light Rail, even running the website and NGO advocating it. So of course you’re going to dispute the bus option.

Secondly, there is no difference between bus routes and light rail. Melbourne growth shows no differential between density increases along tram routes or roads with bus routes. So no, LR is NOT a force multiplier over buses. The only thing it multiplies is the costs, because…

…thirdly, let’s remember that the LR Business Case estimated the bus alternative as $276m, and the light rail option as approx. $680m. That has now blown out to over $1.1b.

That cost blowout explains the ratcheting up of rates and everything else, and explain Barr’s overestimation of public housing sales revenues along the Northbourne Corridor (land sales revenue estimates underpin the financing).

The light rail is a smokescreen for justifying enormous density increases along the entire Northbourne Corridor, which will then ripple outwards in the decades ahead. As for Stage 2 ever being built, hahahahahaha.

Leon Arundell1:32 pm 30 Jun 17

Damien Haas said :

Leon Arundell said :

Many Canberrans argued in favour of buses which, according to the Government’s analysis, could provide more than 90% of the benefits of light rail at less than half the cost.

Except that isn’t true. …

Leon Arundell said :

That analysis implies that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1.

Please provide a link to the analysis that supports your claim.

Before making further uninformed comments, Damien should read the economic analysis on pages 29 ff of the ACT Government’s 2012 submission to Infrastructure Australia, at http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/887674/Light-rail-August-2012-Infrastructure-Australia-submission-City-to-Gungahlin-Trans….pdf

The link to the implication that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1 is a logical one that follows on from the relative benefit-cost analysis.

shadow boxer1:24 pm 30 Jun 17

Imagine how many more cars (people) would get down that road if the cyclist was moved to the ample space on the footpath and an extra lane was built, the pedestrian lights were removed and people walked around and under the bridge to get to the other side and a light rail ran down the middle.

Cyclists and motorists used to co-exist so nicely back in the day, by all means share our roads but you take your chances and show some manners by not blocking the traffic.

The hatred of cyclist is not because we are all psycopaths, theres a practical reason related to their behaviour that cyclists should reflect on.

Queanbeyanite1:16 pm 30 Jun 17

What Leon said…

“To be sure, the ongoing resistance displayed by some Canberrans against light rail shows just how ingrained our car-centric transport culture is.”

No, it’s an ingrained aversion to massive compulsory debt.

Leaving aside my personal circumstances, what really irks me about this pseudo-intellectual article from a long term tram apologist is the underlying premise that our road network exists only to serve individuals in their own cars. There is not even a suggestion that roads are necessary for buses to provide public transport, for trucks to deliver goods to shops, for ambulances to transport patients, or even to connect us to surrounding areas let alone the rest of the country.

I live in a suburb of northern Tuggeranong (sorry, the author probably resides in the inner North and may have to look up that region of Canberra on a map) and have a primary school aged child who attends a school in Weston Creek. I work in Woden.

I drive into work each day via Weston Creek; this allows me to take my son to school in the quickest and most efficient way possible and then drive on to my work. Most days I do the pickup from after school care in the reverse direction. The journey to school is about 12 minutes, to a carpark near my work is a further 10 minutes.

As there are no direct buses between the two adjoining areas of Tuggeranong and Weston Creek (regular ACTION buses or school services), I would invite the author to consider the daily public transport “option” for us would be a bus from our suburb to Tuggeranong, another bus to Woden, another bus to Weston Creek, then for me another bus back to Woden. That is approximately 1 hour and 14 minutes each way, including some walking time, and assuming we make all the connections on time. Then around the same time again to return home in the evening.

My son also plays soccer on the weekends. That involves playing at different fields throughout Canberra. If he plays a match at Hawker ovals we can drive there in 24 minutes. With ACTION, it would be 1 hour and 47 minutes utilising 3 different buses. Oh wait you say, what about carpooling with another family – well that also utilises that terrible and wasteful private transport, right?

Holden Caulfield11:32 am 30 Jun 17

dungfungus said :

The photo accompanying this article is totally disingenuous as it depicts total gridlock which can be understood by reading the electric sign “Acton Tunnel Closed”. This is not a normal situation but let’s milk it for all it’s worth anyhow.

It’s a precursor to the NCA’s plans. 😉

By the way, I ride my bike to work everyday. Sometimes I walk 10km too.

What’s your point?

Excellent article Robert, there has been a real change in Canberra at a government and community level in accepting that we need to change our planning and travel behaviour. Public transport and active transport can be the dominant transport preference if our built form can be planned to accommodate it. This will take time, decades perhaps, to achieve, but it can be done.

This doesn’t deny anyones choice to continue to use their private car for their particular circumstances, it is about better transport options and choices.

Leon Arundell said :

Many Canberrans argued in favour of buses which, according to the Government’s analysis, could provide more than 90% of the benefits of light rail at less than half the cost.

Except that isn’t true. Selectively choosing what benefits can be achieved is disingenuous. What is excluded from this inaccurate claim? Light rail is a force multiplier in an urban planning sense. A bus only transport system is not.

For accuracy purposes, it should also be pointed out that at the last election Canberra were presented with two visions:
1 – light rail and buses as an integrated transport option
2 – a bus only option.
Note that bus only option was not a bus rapid transit option. this sort of renders this dubious claim (90% of the benefits of light rail at less than half the cost) moot, as BRT wasn’t offered as an option.

Leon Arundell said :

That analysis implies that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1.

Please provide a link to the analysis that supports your claim. As stage two hadn’t yet been decided upon until well after the stage one business case had been delivered, I find this contention highly unlikely.

The photo accompanying this article is totally disingenuous as it depicts total gridlock which can be understood by reading the electric sign “Acton Tunnel Closed”. This is not a normal situation but let’s milk it for all it’s worth anyhow.

What is normal about the scene in the photo however is the single bicycle in the vast space allocated to it.

Canberra was planned for the motor car and what great foresight that was. We are the envy of most other capital cities in the world. I think your comments about some motorists evolving into “sociopaths” and non-drivers being relegated “non-citizen status” are highly emotive.

By the way, I walk 10km everyday.

Leon Arundell9:07 am 30 Jun 17

Many Canberrans argued in favour of buses which, according to the Government’s analysis, could provide more than 90% of the benefits of light rail at less than half the cost. That analysis implies that bus rapid transit could provide all the benefits of Stages 1 and 2 of light rail, for less than the cost of Stage 1.

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