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Canberrans asked for input on reclaiming Kings and Commonwealth Avenues for pedestrians and cyclists

By Glynis Quinlan - 25 May 2017 27

Canberrans have until July 3 to provide feedback on a draft design strategy to transform Kings and Commonwealth Avenues into landmark destinations in keeping with Walter Burley Griffin’s original vision.

The aim is to reclaim the Avenues to be attractive public spaces that are used for pedestrians and cyclists – not only cars.

Federal Minister for Local Government and Territories, Senator Fiona Nash, said Kings and Commonwealth Avenues help to form the National Triangle originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin.

“This design strategy aims to improve the Avenues, ensuring they are public spaces befitting our national capital, whilst honouring Griffin’s vision,” Ms Nash said.

National Capital Authority Chief Executive Malcolm Snow said that the two Avenues have mainly evolved in response to increases in traffic volumes without enough priority placed on their role as important public spaces.

“The NCA’s aim for Kings and Commonwealth Avenues is to transform them into destinations and landmarks in their own right,” he said.

“The proposed redesign of the Avenues will unify the public realm and the buildings that line them, while providing a sense of formality, celebration and liveliness.

“New social, business and recreational uses could be introduced along the Avenues and the broad tree-lined footpaths to create new public space activities such as outdoor dining and other public realm uses.”

A key proposal of the draft Design Strategy is to renew the streetscape character of the Avenues to turn them into destinations in their own right.

Other key proposals outlined in the strategy include:

  • widening and improving pedestrian and cycle connections along the full length of the Avenues
  • reconfiguring the roadways to better integrate existing and future public transport systems, while giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists
  • setting high-quality design standards and a consistent palette of urban detailing including signage, lighting and street furniture
  • revitalising the Avenues with unified tree and shrub plantings to reinforce their landscape character

The Kings and Commonwealth Avenues Draft Design Strategy and information on how to provide feedback are available on the NCA’s website at www.nationalcapital.gov.au. The consultation process is open until midnight on Monday July 3, 2017.

Photos supplied by the NCA and are from the Kings and Commonwealth Avenues Draft Design Strategy.

What do you think about the draft design strategy – is it on the right track? Let us know in the comments below.

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27 Responses to
Canberrans asked for input on reclaiming Kings and Commonwealth Avenues for pedestrians and cyclists
dungfungus 10:24 pm 26 May 17

Arthur Davies said :

In answer to a question regarding trams crossing the bridges on 666 minister talkback recently, the question was evaded in fine “yes minister” fashion. However a departmental person called back several days later & confirmed that the bridges will not support the weight of a tram & traffic in the same lane & that it is their intention to close a traffic lane each way to allow the trams to cross. Strange that I don’t remember the Govt mentioning this before the election.

It was known well to the govt before the election. I had contact with the then Metro Engineer regarding the bridge crossing long before the election & he told me then that it was close a lane or build a new bridge. He advised me that he had told the Govt this at that time.

I have been told by an engineer that worked on the construction of the Commonwealth Avenue bridge that the inside lanes were strengthened especially to carry the weight of earth-moving machinery that would be required to do the preparatory work for the new parliament house and the axle loading of trams can be easily accommodated. This is documented.

A existing lane would not have to be exclusive to trams anyhow; they can run with busses and cars on the same alignment.

I would suggest that the only other reason a “new” bridge will have to considered is that the “wire-less”-free trams that are required by the NCA won’t have the grunt to conquer the gradients but then again an engineer on the project would love another half billion dollars to build a new bridge.

davo101 4:40 pm 26 May 17

OK, I’m confused. If you look at the map on p.37 it appears that there is going to be an at-grade intersection between Commonwealth Avenue and Parkes Way. Is this really what is proposed?

Arthur Davies 3:29 pm 26 May 17

In answer to a question regarding trams crossing the bridges on 666 minister talkback recently, the question was evaded in fine “yes minister” fashion. However a departmental person called back several days later & confirmed that the bridges will not support the weight of a tram & traffic in the same lane & that it is their intention to close a traffic lane each way to allow the trams to cross. Strange that I don’t remember the Govt mentioning this before the election.

It was known well to the govt before the election. I had contact with the then Metro Engineer regarding the bridge crossing long before the election & he told me then that it was close a lane or build a new bridge. He advised me that he had told the Govt this at that time.

dungfungus 9:48 am 26 May 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

One point needs to be made about the plan, laid out in its 60 page picture book glory. They used Pennsylvania Avenue as an example of the unimpeded views of the Whitehouse. So why go totally against that supporting evidence and plant all those trees along both sides and in the centre of the avenues? The view along the avenue will be totally obscured. So, no more shots of parliament house from down at the lake and no more photos of architecture from across the street. When we said we wanted trees, we meant on Northbourne Avenue. Can’t they get anything right? And isn’t the tram supposed to be going down the middle, if it ever crosses the lake? Not the smartest cookies we have running the show.

I should be consulting to the ACT government and the NCA as I have just solved the problem of how the trams will cross the lake and the technology exists already, here in Australia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1kvQN5jSTA

JC 7:49 am 26 May 17

Spiral said :

This smells like the first move to claim a lane of Commonwealth Ave bridge for the tram.

Except of course the NCA is peddling this who are known for not playing nice with the ACT Government.

I am all for making it nicer and more function to non vehicle use but frankly the traffic volumes and lack of any alternative routes for much of that traffic means it needs to be catered for and apart from a tunnel from Adelaide Ave to Parkes way cannot see how. And the later simply isn’t going to happen is it?

Spiral 8:52 pm 25 May 17

This smells like the first move to claim a lane of Commonwealth Ave bridge for the tram.

Lucy Baker 6:58 pm 25 May 17

What does “consistent palette of urban detailing” mean?

wildturkeycanoe 6:57 pm 25 May 17

One point needs to be made about the plan, laid out in its 60 page picture book glory. They used Pennsylvania Avenue as an example of the unimpeded views of the Whitehouse. So why go totally against that supporting evidence and plant all those trees along both sides and in the centre of the avenues? The view along the avenue will be totally obscured. So, no more shots of parliament house from down at the lake and no more photos of architecture from across the street. When we said we wanted trees, we meant on Northbourne Avenue. Can’t they get anything right? And isn’t the tram supposed to be going down the middle, if it ever crosses the lake? Not the smartest cookies we have running the show.

dungfungus 6:24 pm 25 May 17

Rollersk8r said :

Ok – I think the lake is under-utilised and I think access to the lake from Civic could definitely be improved. But on any given day I can’t see the need or desire to hang out in a no-man’s land between the lake and Civic, especially as I don’t live near the tram and would be discouraged from driving there. Aren’t there enough problems with Civic having a “dead heart” without drawing crowds to exciting new spaces??

I read the plan involves cutting off access from Commonwealth/Kings Ave to Parkes Way. I cannot envisage this? Are Tuggeranong Parkway and Gungahlin Drive the next to be reimagined as vibrant, open, pedestrian-friendly spaces?

Necessity is the mother of invention and here’s the solution to keep cyclists separate from pedestrians when crossing the lake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QVpJDvNwJY

wildturkeycanoe 6:17 pm 25 May 17

Are there not enough green spaces left that haven’t been turned into public housing for the NCA to destroy? Why are they trying to convert main arterial roads into shared “accident” zones? There is no common logic in this venture. What needs to happen is separating cars, bikes and pedestrians, not put them on a collision course.
Of course they only yet again want feedback so they can satisfy the bean counters that “consultation” took place. It won’t matter one bit that a majority are opposed to the whole idea.
If they have so much to spend, why not fix the blue-green algae and carp problems. A non-stinky lake you can swim in might draw a bigger crowd than some rusty iron “art” and nowhere [legal] to park the car.

HiddenDragon 5:14 pm 25 May 17

This might make for nice pics and video footage of visiting head of state/government motorcades, but for the other 360-odd days of the year, it will be a mess, to the extent that one could be forgiven for wondering whether this brainwave is all part of the Nationals’ master plan to decentralise Commonwealth functions from Canberra by making other, smaller regional centres look so much more liveable and convenient (for real people, as opposed to “artist’s impression” people).

Rollersk8r 3:41 pm 25 May 17

Ok – I think the lake is under-utilised and I think access to the lake from Civic could definitely be improved. But on any given day I can’t see the need or desire to hang out in a no-man’s land between the lake and Civic, especially as I don’t live near the tram and would be discouraged from driving there. Aren’t there enough problems with Civic having a “dead heart” without drawing crowds to exciting new spaces??

I read the plan involves cutting off access from Commonwealth/Kings Ave to Parkes Way. I cannot envisage this? Are Tuggeranong Parkway and Gungahlin Drive the next to be reimagined as vibrant, open, pedestrian-friendly spaces?

dungfungus 2:47 pm 25 May 17

Holden Caulfield said :

Glad this has been covered on RA. This is a tram wreck just waiting to happen. I’m usually pro ths type of development, but can’t fathom how anyone in their right mind could seriously proposing choking the traffic on Kings Ave and Comm Ave bridges.

Where will these magical pedestrians come from? How can they not see the traffic chaos that will ensue; or why don’t they care? What am I missing?

I’ve already completed the survey monkey form and suggest others do, regardless if they are for or against the proposed plans.

“Where will these magical pedestrians come from? “

They will come from the same place as the magical few people that will use the tram and buy the thousand of ticky-tacky boxes (aka home units) along Northbourne Avenue.

Queanbeyanite 1:29 pm 25 May 17

“integrate existing and future public transport systems” but then don’t include them in the pretty pictures on the ‘Avenue template’. Your betters know you won’t catch the trams so we’ll create traffic gridlock to force you onto them.

Holden Caulfield 12:07 pm 25 May 17

Glad this has been covered on RA. This is a tram wreck just waiting to happen. I’m usually pro ths type of development, but can’t fathom how anyone in their right mind could seriously proposing choking the traffic on Kings Ave and Comm Ave bridges.

Where will these magical pedestrians come from? How can they not see the traffic chaos that will ensue; or why don’t they care? What am I missing?

I’ve already completed the survey monkey form and suggest others do, regardless if they are for or against the proposed plans.

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