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Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?

Mike Jeffreys 19 April 2016 110

light rail artist impression

I’ve had a couple of long conversations with Summernats’ Chic Henry, who is tossing up whether to run in the 2016 ACT election.

He told me that the Liberals want him to stand but one of the reasons he hasn’t yet committed is his age. If he were fifteen years younger he’d have no hesitation, but as it is he’s unsure.

He will make a decision by September or October to leave himself time to do what’s needed, including grass roots pre-election work like knocking on doors.

Chic has quite a lot to say about the light rail plan and the possible closure of EPIC:

“There is more value in promoting the very notion of electric cars, trucks and buses in Canberra to support the clean future.

It was moving along for a while and stalled and as usual, unless people of some consequence drive it, it dies. The late Chris Peters had that vision.

A tram to the airport is wasted effort. There is not likely to be enough housing to support it and as for increased tourist visits, the sun may rise in the west before that time.

Canberra airport has great value as a freight hub especially if a VFT is to ever come to us. On another subject, the MAGLEV Consortium had the best plan, as it was to go towards the Snowy Mountains as a route to Melbourne. Good value in that.

If the proposed light rail for Canberra is to be built, the Community deserves to be shown the extent of the network, especially the proposed corridors. Without doubt, we can expect that Civic will be the hub from which all lines will radiate, with connections to Woden and the Valley, Belconnen and Gungahlin of course.

Consideration must be given to the Parliamentary Triangle, Russell, the Airport, Fyshwick and maybe even Queanbeyan.

These corridors and the supporting bus networks must be presented if we are to believe that the Canberra Community could realistically catch the light rail instead of using their cars.

Such corridors will naturally include bridges, overpasses and possible a tunnel somewhere as well as the resumption of specific real estate.

For example, a line through or close by to the Triangle going towards the Tuggeranong Valley will face two major obstacles, the first being our precious lake and the second, the hill on which Parliament House is built.

Let’s consider the bridge, the cost, the land and the public outcry. Right now we are hearing that the cost of Stage 1 is $800 mil or thereabouts.

Guaranteed it will go north of that and it’s on relatively flat ground.

Imagine what the next stage/s will cost.

We are hearing that EPIC may close and the land dedicated to housing. It is without doubt, valuable real estate but where will EPIC be then located?

What might be the cost of such relocation plus the cost of a suitable patch of ground?

Seriously, it is inconceivable that Canberra does not have a showground, especially one as amazingly multi-purpose as EPIC.

We are led to believe that we, as a community, have above average intelligence.

It is immensely important to visualise the future for town planners, so why not give us the big planning picture with reasonable costing and a time frame.

Just maybe, we might get it. Sadly though, we must suffer the political games that parties play.

The late Martin Luther King once said, ‘I have a dream’.

Chic Henry, proud Canberra resident, says ‘I have a fear. A fear that Capital Metro Stage 1 may be the tram to nowhere as the only stage ever built’”.


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110 Responses to Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?
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rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:42 pm 04 Mar 15

rommeldog56 said :

And in the meantime, the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t will have locked Territiory ratepayers & voters into a 25+ year Public Private Partnership for an inflexible route that carries a 100 year old transport concept, called a Tram. Very logical & visionary. Thats great, just great.

Isn’t the car a “100 year old transport concept”?

rommeldog56 rommeldog56 9:08 pm 04 Mar 15

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I don’t know which planet you have been living on but it is certainly not Canberra.
Canberra is the easiest place in the world to travel by car – this is the dividend of designing a city where the private car is the principal method of transport.
Sure, there are short periods of congestion but no gridlock.
I don’t know where you got the idea that car ownership is falling either..

I don’t know what planet YOU are living on but I’m on the one that’s suffering from the profligate burning of fossil fuels.

Canberra has a measly 380,000 people yet it can take a ridiculous amount of time crossing it because everything is so far apart. To compound that the traffic in and around Northbourne Ave in peak hours is getting up to the congestion of much larger cities.

Distance isn’t that important when the roads are good and the traffic sparse. As a night cabbie, I’d whip around the city after hours – at legal speeds – and find it a pleasure. Civic to Dickson in four minutes was a regular trip, and there’s little in Canberra that’s more than fifteen minutes away.

During the day, when there’s traffic on the road, it’s different, of course.

Which is where new driving technologies will come into play. Electric cars are a given, of course. Traffic will no longer generate localised fumes and noise.

Self-driving cars are perfect for Canberra’s long avenues. Parking won’t be a problem, because they can be sent off alone to dedicated parking areas rather than clutter up the city.

Ride sharing and other apps will also help reduce traffic.

All this will take time, but we’re seeing new developments every week. Tesla is quickly becoming a legendary name in the world of electric cars, Google’s autonomous driving machines are legal in some cities, and apps such as Uber and Lyft are appearing with every refresh.

Taken together, these will reduce traffic volume, increase speed and bring Canberra back to being a drivable city.

At all times, not just the hours either side of midnight.

And in the meantime, the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t will have locked Territiory ratepayers & voters into a 25+ year Public Private Partnership for an inflexible route that carries a 100 year old transport concept, called a Tram. Very logical & visionary. Thats great, just great.

rommeldog56 rommeldog56 9:02 pm 04 Mar 15

watto23 said :

HiddenDragon said :

No reflection on Chic Henry, but by next October, there’ll be plenty of Canberrans ready to vote for the proverbial drover’s dog if he, she or it promised to stop the trams.

Why didn’t they vote against them at the previous election then. The Labor party took this policy to an election.

True. But without the detail that is now known. A lesson for voters/ratepayers : “the devil is in the detail”. ACT voters and ratepayers have got what they voted for and so deserve.

rosscoact rosscoact 8:56 pm 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

dlenihan said :

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

That’s what annoys me so much. It will most likely cost 1 billion in the end to replicate a service the busses already provide.

Imagine if this money was used to upgrade the entire bus net ACT-wide, more bus lanes. dedicated flyovers, etc. rather than a tram which seems to be more about the upgrade of Northborne Ave by stealth than a realistic transport option or the city.

It’s great to see so many new tram sceptics on this thread.
Alas, all to late I fear.

Aww, come on, don’t give up. Surely you are going to lead a march on the Assembly, have Alistair Coe address the throng, placards, banners insulting MLAs, effigies burning?

I am disappointed.

Skyring Skyring 5:13 pm 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Getting to and from the airport from anywhere has been a chronic problem.
Until the Majura express-way is finished your son will have to allow more time for travel just as everyone else does.
I believe there are over 10,000 people commuting to and from the airport precinct every day. A lot of people from the east of Canberra also use the roads around the airport to get to and from the other areas in Canberra.
Maybe the tram service should be from Gunghalin to the airport where there is a mass transport problem.

The airport’s been a hassle for three reasons.
First, there’s the regular airport traffic. As a cabbie, there’s a lot of regular work to and from the city and the Parliamentary zone, particularly when Parliament is sitting. Plus the airport workers.
Second, there’s two conflicting streams of traffic: to and from Gungahlin, to and from Queanbeyan. The Fyshwick traffic slots in there as well. The Gungahlin traffic up Majura Road steadily increased over the years because the alternatives were packed.
Third, the growing amount of offices and shops at the airport.

The old roundabouts used to be a nightmare. I’d often have a passenger in the cab, sweating on their flight, and there would be nothing I could do to go any faster. No alternate routes – we just had to crawl through the traffic.

The situation has improved over the years, but of course with each improvement comes more traffic. The Majura Parkway should be a major improvement in that it will allow east-west and north-south traffic streams to flow smoothly without having to regualrly give way to each other.

The airport is one destination that cries out for a better bus service. Instead, cabs and private cars are encouraged – because each time they park or use the cabyard, a fee is paid to the airport.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 4:59 pm 04 Mar 15

dlenihan said :

That’s what annoys me so much. It will most likely cost 1 billion in the end to replicate a service the busses already provide.

Imagine if this money was used to upgrade the entire bus net ACT-wide, more bus lanes. dedicated flyovers, etc. rather than a tram which seems to be more about the upgrade of Northborne Ave by stealth than a realistic transport option or the city.

Like the proposed 7.5km busway from Civic to Belconnen that was going to cost $120 million in 2006?

In knee jerk reactionary 2014 “White Elephant” dollars that would be well over a Trillion bucks!

If only it was a freeway! Like the Majura Parkway. No probs!

rubaiyat rubaiyat 4:49 pm 04 Mar 15

dlenihan said :

That’s what annoys me so much. It will most likely cost 1 billion in the end to replicate a service the busses already provide.

Imagine if this money was used to upgrade the entire bus net ACT-wide, more bus lanes. dedicated flyovers, etc. rather than a tram which seems to be more about the upgrade of Northborne Ave by stealth than a realistic transport option or the city.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 4:47 pm 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Getting to and from the airport from anywhere has been a chronic problem.
Until the Majura express-way is finished your son will have to allow more time for travel just as everyone else does.
I believe there are over 10,000 people commuting to and from the airport precinct every day. A lot of people from the east of Canberra also use the roads around the airport to get to and from the other areas in Canberra.
Maybe the tram service should be from Gunghalin to the airport where there is a mass transport problem.

Just had lunch with my son, and confirmed: Yes! He is living on that other planet!

He says in the mornings the traffic starts backing up as he comes out of Spence. By the time he gets near Civic on Parkes Way it is at a standstill. The roadworks next to the Convention Centre have only added to the problems.

Maybe we demolish Black Mountain all the way back to Spence and make it a 12 lane freeway. That seems to have worked a treat in America! Whiled away many a happy 2 – 3 hours trying to get across the George Washington Bridge with my brother-in-law.

Hey, didn’t the Government just finish spending a fortune on the Tuggeranong Freeway/Parkes Way intersection?

How did that work out? Are we bankrupt yet? Is everyone who never drives that side threatening to secede from the ACT?

dungfungus dungfungus 2:57 pm 04 Mar 15

dlenihan said :

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

That’s what annoys me so much. It will most likely cost 1 billion in the end to replicate a service the busses already provide.

Imagine if this money was used to upgrade the entire bus net ACT-wide, more bus lanes. dedicated flyovers, etc. rather than a tram which seems to be more about the upgrade of Northborne Ave by stealth than a realistic transport option or the city.

It’s great to see so many new tram sceptics on this thread.
Alas, all to late I fear.

dungfungus dungfungus 2:55 pm 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I don’t know which planet you have been living on but it is certainly not Canberra.
Canberra is the easiest place in the world to travel by car – this is the dividend of designing a city where the private car is the principal method of transport.
Sure, there are short periods of congestion but no gridlock.
I don’t know where you got the idea that car ownership is falling either..

I don’t know what planet YOU are living on but I’m on the one that’s suffering from the profligate burning of fossil fuels.

Canberra has a measly 380,000 people yet it can take a ridiculous amount of time crossing it because everything is so far apart. To compound that the traffic in and around Northbourne Ave in peak hours is getting up to the congestion of much larger cities.

My son has so much trouble getting from Spence to the Airport and back everyday he has seriously contemplated breaking his lease.

Just imagine if you live in Banks!

None of this is going to get any better, fast. The bus service is progressively getting worse which is why their ridership is down. Not unexpected in a town where enormous amounts of money get blown on roads, roads and more roads. All of which goes unquestioned by those living in the past, and addicted to their cars.

Getting to and from the airport from anywhere has been a chronic problem.
Until the Majura express-way is finished your son will have to allow more time for travel just as everyone else does.
I believe there are over 10,000 people commuting to and from the airport precinct every day. A lot of people from the east of Canberra also use the roads around the airport to get to and from the other areas in Canberra.
Maybe the tram service should be from Gunghalin to the airport where there is a mass transport problem.

dlenihan dlenihan 2:25 pm 04 Mar 15

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

That’s what annoys me so much. It will most likely cost 1 billion in the end to replicate a service the busses already provide.

Imagine if this money was used to upgrade the entire bus net ACT-wide, more bus lanes. dedicated flyovers, etc. rather than a tram which seems to be more about the upgrade of Northborne Ave by stealth than a realistic transport option or the city.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 2:21 pm 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Despite all the debate I still haven’t heard any arguments as to why we shouldn’t be taking a step back and examing the actual problem.

Surely what needs to be considered is who has to go where, and how to get them there. I’d be in favour of a major investment into dedicated busways linking the city, gungers, woden and tuggers and then running the service using existing or new buses for a while. Then, when we really understand the demand and usage patterns, start upgrading these inter-town links to rail (light or otherwise).

This ‘build it and they will come’ crap is just ludicrous. A change of this magnitude needs to be analysed, designed and deployed in stages, or it just ends up being an underutilised waste of money.

This has been raised and yes planning a network with dedicated transport corridors would be an obvious first step.

So obvious Planning has ignored it.

When and if we get the bus ways, which should be designed to be upgraded to rail, the buses should be run at high speed. Faster than regular traffic. One it moves more people quicker with less drivers and buses, second it would encourage people to switch to public transport.

Everything comes down to whatever is decided, it obviously isn’t decided by public transport users, for public transport users.

Agree with all this.

Skyring Skyring 1:52 pm 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

I don’t know which planet you have been living on but it is certainly not Canberra.
Canberra is the easiest place in the world to travel by car – this is the dividend of designing a city where the private car is the principal method of transport.
Sure, there are short periods of congestion but no gridlock.
I don’t know where you got the idea that car ownership is falling either..

I don’t know what planet YOU are living on but I’m on the one that’s suffering from the profligate burning of fossil fuels.

Canberra has a measly 380,000 people yet it can take a ridiculous amount of time crossing it because everything is so far apart. To compound that the traffic in and around Northbourne Ave in peak hours is getting up to the congestion of much larger cities.

Distance isn’t that important when the roads are good and the traffic sparse. As a night cabbie, I’d whip around the city after hours – at legal speeds – and find it a pleasure. Civic to Dickson in four minutes was a regular trip, and there’s little in Canberra that’s more than fifteen minutes away.

During the day, when there’s traffic on the road, it’s different, of course.

Which is where new driving technologies will come into play. Electric cars are a given, of course. Traffic will no longer generate localised fumes and noise.

Self-driving cars are perfect for Canberra’s long avenues. Parking won’t be a problem, because they can be sent off alone to dedicated parking areas rather than clutter up the city.

Ride sharing and other apps will also help reduce traffic.

All this will take time, but we’re seeing new developments every week. Tesla is quickly becoming a legendary name in the world of electric cars, Google’s autonomous driving machines are legal in some cities, and apps such as Uber and Lyft are appearing with every refresh.

Taken together, these will reduce traffic volume, increase speed and bring Canberra back to being a drivable city.

At all times, not just the hours either side of midnight.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 1:00 pm 04 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Despite all the debate I still haven’t heard any arguments as to why we shouldn’t be taking a step back and examing the actual problem.

Surely what needs to be considered is who has to go where, and how to get them there. I’d be in favour of a major investment into dedicated busways linking the city, gungers, woden and tuggers and then running the service using existing or new buses for a while. Then, when we really understand the demand and usage patterns, start upgrading these inter-town links to rail (light or otherwise).

This ‘build it and they will come’ crap is just ludicrous. A change of this magnitude needs to be analysed, designed and deployed in stages, or it just ends up being an underutilised waste of money.

This has been raised and yes planning a network with dedicated transport corridors would be an obvious first step.

So obvious Planning has ignored it.

When and if we get the bus ways, which should be designed to be upgraded to rail, the buses should be run at high speed. Faster than regular traffic. One it moves more people quicker with less drivers and buses, second it would encourage people to switch to public transport.

Everything comes down to whatever is decided, it obviously isn’t decided by public transport users, for public transport users.

Maya123 Maya123 12:58 pm 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

It is the result of badly designed suburban sprawl and badly laid out roads not just the lack of public transport.

It really struck me when I first came to Canberra, who decided where the roads run and why do they never go anywhere directly?

Was it all doodling on the map?

By someone who liked spending all day in the car?

“Was it all doodling on the map?”
+1

rubaiyat rubaiyat 12:47 pm 04 Mar 15

It is the result of badly designed suburban sprawl and badly laid out roads not just the lack of public transport.

It really struck me when I first came to Canberra, who decided where the roads run and why do they never go anywhere directly?

Was it all doodling on the map?

By someone who liked spending all day in the car?

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 12:32 pm 04 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

My son has so much trouble getting from Spence to the Airport and back everyday he has seriously contemplated breaking his lease.

This is a good example if why we need to step back and think about the actual problem. Neither light rail, nor blaming roads and cars, will fix this.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 12:25 pm 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

I don’t know where you got the idea that car ownership is falling either. Travel by Action buses has certainly declined but I don’t think more people are commuting by bycicle.

https://chartingtransport.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/census-implied-car-occupancy1.jpg

and

https://chartingtransport.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/car-ownership-v-occupancy.jpg

Our widely differing views are due to our widely differing experiences.

Possibly yours may be more “The way it used to be”.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 11:52 am 04 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

I don’t know which planet you have been living on but it is certainly not Canberra.
Canberra is the easiest place in the world to travel by car – this is the dividend of designing a city where the private car is the principal method of transport.
Sure, there are short periods of congestion but no gridlock.
I don’t know where you got the idea that car ownership is falling either..

I don’t know what planet YOU are living on but I’m on the one that’s suffering from the profligate burning of fossil fuels.

Canberra has a measly 380,000 people yet it can take a ridiculous amount of time crossing it because everything is so far apart. To compound that the traffic in and around Northbourne Ave in peak hours is getting up to the congestion of much larger cities.

My son has so much trouble getting from Spence to the Airport and back everyday he has seriously contemplated breaking his lease.

Just imagine if you live in Banks!

None of this is going to get any better, fast. The bus service is progressively getting worse which is why their ridership is down. Not unexpected in a town where enormous amounts of money get blown on roads, roads and more roads. All of which goes unquestioned by those living in the past, and addicted to their cars.

dungfungus dungfungus 11:35 am 04 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Despite all the debate I still haven’t heard any arguments as to why we shouldn’t be taking a step back and examing the actual problem.

Surely what needs to be considered is who has to go where, and how to get them there. I’d be in favour of a major investment into dedicated busways linking the city, gungers, woden and tuggers and then running the service using existing or new buses for a while. Then, when we really understand the demand and usage patterns, start upgrading these inter-town links to rail (light or otherwise).

This ‘build it and they will come’ crap is just ludicrous. A change of this magnitude needs to be analysed, designed and deployed in stages, or it just ends up being an underutilised waste of money.

When the masses don’t share the leader’s enthusiasm, the leader commissions a survey that convinces him that he is right: http://www.busnews.com.au/industry-news/1503/support-for-light-rail/
Note that only 1300 Gungahlin residents completed the survey.

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