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Does Canberra really have no traffic jams?

By birder - 10 October 2011 42

We are moving to Canberra in December and are just thrilled with the idea that there won’t be heavy traffic.  We’ve moved from Washington DC (nightmarish traffic) to Auckland (much better, but still terrible on an absolute level).  But I wonder how much of the “no traffic” story is a myth?

In particular, would anyone care to share what a commute time from their home might be to ANU?  Both my partner and I will work there, and our preschooler will be going to one of the university daycares.  We would like to rent (and then later buy) a home with some space, but we don’t know how far out we can go.

I guess I’m wondering for input on two topics.  First, as mentioned, would you share your suburb and how long you think it would take to get to ANU in “rush hour”? (Maybe 8 am?)  Second, what suburbs would you recommend for someone who wanted to rent a house whose lot was more than 15 m wide – but wanted to keep the commute time down and didn’t want to pay more than $600 max ($550 or less preferably)?

Thanks for any help you can provide, and I look forward to becoming a regular reader and sometimes-contributer to the riotACT!

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42 Responses to
Does Canberra really have no traffic jams?
Tony 5:05 pm 10 Oct 11

Just did some checks on google maps and I think the travel times there are pretty accurate. I think you could add up to 50% on those times if you’re travelling during peek hour (8-9am, 5-6pm)

la mente torbida 4:41 pm 10 Oct 11

…or … a 10 minute drive ..or a 15 minute cycle …but what would I know, I live southside

la mente torbida 4:30 pm 10 Oct 11

It’s only a 20 minute swim from my place

Holden Caulfield 3:16 pm 10 Oct 11

Matt Sheppard said :

From North Lyneham to the ANU is probably around 20 mins at worst (just before 9am during school terms). Any other inner north suburb would be similar or better, but might be too pricy (don’t really know on that)

I live two suburbs from the ANU and at 8am if it took me more than 3-5 minutes to get to Barry Drive, opposite the ANU, I’d be pissed off.

Mind, if I worked at the ANU I’d be walking to work anyway, so it’s a moot point really.

To the OP, Turner/O’Connor will be the best options to have an almost guaranteed traffic-free run into work.

Lyneham/North Lyneham, Ainlsie and Dickson would be next.

Then Aranda or South Bruce.

Do the right thing and stay north of the lake. 😉

Hosinator 3:01 pm 10 Oct 11

We live in the Weston Creek area and a drive to the ANU between 7:30am and 8am takes us about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the traffic.
You can also ride there on a bike from Weston Creek, that takes about 30 to 40 mins depending on your fitness level and it’s all on bike paths.

It will be interesting to see what the Creek is like with regards to traffic when the Molongloids move in.

Jethro 2:31 pm 10 Oct 11

Compared to Sydney or Brisbane we don’t have traffic. Certainly not traffic jams as I have experienced them in those cities. Peak hour is slower, but in my experience a 25 minute drive from my place in the outer suburbs to the city only turns into a 35 minute drive in peak time. If you choose to live in inner north or south, Woden or Belconnen you will be more than fine. If you work at ANU I would go Belconnen over Woden, simply as it is on the same side of the lake. Living in an inner Belconnen suburb like Aranda or Cook would be a quick trip to work.

Steve_Pedestrian 2:00 pm 10 Oct 11

You’re just in time! ‘The GDE is now finished’ so there will no longer be any traffic problems ever again

Until the Government tries some other roadworks.

rebcart 1:43 pm 10 Oct 11

If you find a place in the inner north, I’d recommend looking into cycling into work. Plenty of people have attachments on their bikes for taking their kids with them. It took me ~10 minutes to get to ANU from O’Connor, and with bike lanes and bike paths everywhere you don’t have to worry about traffic, parking or fuel costs.

Watson 1:16 pm 10 Oct 11

pete09 said :

No traffic jams is a myth. It’s more like slow heavy traffic on the majors for about 30 minutes each peak. Good compared to larger cities, but worse then country towns.

It really depends on how you define a traffic jam. In most cities that would be defined as traffic standing pretty much still for a considerable length of time. Or averaging walking speed at most. That happens to me in Canberra only a few of times a year during exceptional circumstances. Admittedly, I usually have a very short commute.

Slowed down traffic you get every morning on working days between 8 and 9 on most major road. But you can still average 50-60kph quite easily usually.

For the price you’re willing to pay you could indeed find something in the Inner North and you’d have an easy 20 min max commute. It’s an easy bike ride too and if you’d live in O’Connor or Reid, you’d be just as fast on the bike than with the car and not have to worry about parking. There’s a cycle path that runs through the Inner North that will lead you there.

Though staff usually park for free at the ANU I thought, but you might want to double check that. I used to ride my bike from Watson to a daycare centre in O’Connor most days. My daughter preferred the back of the bike to the car, even on frosty mornings.

taninaus 12:54 pm 10 Oct 11

Hi Brider – if you have lived in those locations I am sure you will love it in Canberra. Peak hour is a pain but in reality only adds about 10 mins max to your journey depending on where you travel from. I travel daily from the far south to north of the ANU each day and that is generally the time difference between 8-9am and other times. This can extend in wet weather, with road works or when there is an accident but there is usually a way around one off obstacles if you know the alternative routes.

pete09 11:59 am 10 Oct 11

No traffic jams is a myth. It’s more like slow heavy traffic on the majors for about 30 minutes each peak. Good compared to larger cities, but worse then country towns.

You 11:46 am 10 Oct 11

I’d recommend moving into either O’Connor, Turner or Ainslie. They have a lot of beautiful old houses with large established gardens, within walking distance to ANU and Civic (which is the only shopping area you’ll need), and you could find a 3 bedroom rental for the price you’re asking.

Just make sure you find a place with central gas heating and air con, as a lot of the old houses have terrible insulation and can get incredibly cold in winter, and really bloody hot in summer.

The further out you go from Civic, the newer and cheaper you get, but at the sacrifice of space and transport. As for traffic jams, they really aren’t that bad. Expect a 30 minute commute to ANU if you leave at around 7:30 – 8 in the morning from a south side location around the Tuggeranong area. Parking in and around Civic is ridiculously expensive though (another bonus of living within walking distance), but most people who attend ANU usually park for free in one of the inner north suburbs and walk over anyway. Parking along Dryandra St in O’Connor, and just walking over Barry Dr to ANU is a popular choice for example.

Matt Sheppard 11:35 am 10 Oct 11

From North Lyneham to the ANU is probably around 20 mins at worst (just before 9am during school terms). Any other inner north suburb would be similar or better, but might be too pricy (don’t really know on that)

arescarti42 11:23 am 10 Oct 11

“But I wonder how much of the “no traffic” story is a myth?”

Some of it is a myth, a lot of it is truth. Yes, traffic is heavy during peak travel periods and there can be delays. Outside of peak periods however, in my experience, there really is no traffic.

I live in a rural area in NSW about 30km from the city and commute to the ANU by motorcycle most week days. To be walking in to the lecture theatre at 9:00am, I generally have to leave at 8:25am, so 35 minutes door to door (including a few minutes to open gates and put on my motorcycle gear).

Another member of my household works on the ANU side of the city and it takes him about 23 minutes from when he exits the driveway to when he drives into the car park at work.

Your commute times from most parts of Canberra will probably not be an issue compared to the difficulty of finding parking at the ANU, I really hope you have an allocated parking space with your job.

As for where you should live, most of Canberra’s middle suburbs should suit you. The Belconnen, Woden and Weston Creek districts are pretty typical leafy 1970s suburbia and are mostly less than 10km from the ANU. I’d recommend Weston creek as it is located along the Tuggeranong Parkway which runs right next to the ANU, and should be a sub 20 minute commute.

Lastly, check out for rentals.

alaninoz 11:11 am 10 Oct 11

Much better commute than DC – I remember the joys of the beltway on a snowy winter day! Don’t know about Auckland, but better than Sydney or Melbourne. I used to average 60 kph door to door when commuting to work (without breaking the speed limit), but I worked odd hours.

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