Does Canberra really have no traffic jams?

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?
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zorro29 zorro29 10:35 pm 23 Oct 11

there is traffic at certain times…and bad drivers the rest of the time (mainly those that think driving next to each other 5-10km under the speed limit on a 3 lane road so no one can pass is considerate behaviour…

but mostly it’s ok….certainly nowhere near as bad as sydney…peak hour can more than triple a commute time in canberra (and i really have no idea why as it seems the traffic would flow fine if people didn’t stop for no reason and change lanes at the last minute)

for the ANU, turner. braddon or o’connor would be great…even bruce or inner south wouldn’t be too bad for a peak hour commute…you could walk/ride from most of the first suburbs (riding is pretty popular in canberra)

Watson Watson 10:37 am 12 Oct 11

Grail said :

and not slobbing your way to work in your mobile lounge room.

Oh man, that is so me these days! I used to ride every day, twice the distance I need to do now in the mornings, and now I just slob every day… Love the mobile lounge room description. So true! But so very uncool…

sepi sepi 10:17 am 12 Oct 11

So the good news – traffic is better than Washington DC, although getting worse by the month.
My commute is under 10 mins during the day or evening, but over half and hour between 8.30 and 9 or between 5.15 and 6.15. Depressing. ONly about a year ago it was half that.

The bad news – rent and childcare in Canberra are scarce as hens teeth and very competitive.

I would rent in the high end of your budget – less competition, you’ll get a place closer to ANU and can walk or ride.

Childcare – ring up a few centres and get on the lists ASAP.

troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 9:56 am 12 Oct 11

niftydog said :

Jinxed…

I just had the worst drive to work I’ve ever had. 45 mins to go 14km. And on “Ride To Work Day” too boot – damn!

Left my front door at 0850hrs, had the bike out of its (upper) Campbell kennel at 0852hrs, was locking it up in its daily lounge at 0859hrs and swiped in to the office at 0901hrs. A good run but was held up briefly crossing Ballumbir Street, fraffly annoying when those car thingies people use hog the roads.

niftydog niftydog 9:39 am 12 Oct 11

Jinxed…

I just had the worst drive to work I’ve ever had. 45 mins to go 14km. And on “Ride To Work Day” too boot – damn!

Grail Grail 9:37 am 12 Oct 11

Which reminds me – birder should know that riding to work in Canberra is a delightful experience except when it’s too hot or too cold or raining. Which leaves about three days a year 😉

But seriously, riding to work is easy, possible and actually quite enjoyable once you commit to riding and not slobbing your way to work in your mobile lounge room.

Grail Grail 9:36 am 12 Oct 11

Rode to work today, Isabella Plains -> Dickson. My smug factor is off the dial. Especially after breezing past all the cars on Adelaide avenue.

KB1971 KB1971 9:32 am 12 Oct 11

Classified said :

johnboy said :

But if you want to be cool you’ll live in the inner north and cycle to work.

You’ll also want to dose up with LeftySmug to ensure you fit in.

All the Uber cool marathon riders ride from the south…………how good was it riding this morning??

Classified Classified 9:28 am 12 Oct 11

johnboy said :

But if you want to be cool you’ll live in the inner north and cycle to work.

You’ll also want to dose up with LeftySmug to ensure you fit in.

    johnboy johnboy 9:31 am 12 Oct 11

    my smug is entirely neutral on the political spectrum.

johnboy johnboy 9:19 am 12 Oct 11

But if you want to be cool you’ll live in the inner north and cycle to work.

Qwerty3611 Qwerty3611 9:17 am 12 Oct 11

I live in Macgregor (North West Canberra) and work at the ANU. If I leave the house before 8 am I can be at work within 15-20 minutes. After 8 am it can usually take a little longer at about 25-30 minutes, unless there has been an accident which can dramatically increase the wait.

You do pay for parking at the ANU, but staff parking is significantly cheaper than the city at roughly $12.00 per fortnight for a parking permit or $24.00 per fortnight for your own parking spot in a parking station, but that can be a lengthy wait for one of those places. Depending on where you will be located, you should be able to get parking as long as your arrive at work before 9 am.

birder birder 6:01 pm 11 Oct 11

Thanks everyone so much for all your comments! It’s great to hear that rush hour isn’t too bad. We’re going to look into the suburbs you suggested. Again, much appreciated!

Grail Grail 11:57 am 11 Oct 11

Rush “hour” in Canberra is actually “rush fifteen minutes”, from my experience peaking between 8:30 and 8:45.

What do you consider a long commute? This is a trick question of course, since people moving from Sydney to Canberra end up buying houses at the outer edges of Canberra due to perceiving 2 hours as a “long” commute, and the maximum 35 min drive from anywhere in Canberra to anywhere else in Canberra as “incredibly short”. Within about four years of moving here, they’ll be buying a property closer to the centre of Canberra, and will have come to view 30 mins to get anywhere as “unacceptably long commute time”.

You can get properties from $300/wk if you are willing to live in Gordon, which is about half an hour commute from the ANU, or Oaks Estate (which has associated social stigma).

Note that Canberra has many open spaces, so having a large yard may not be necessary if you are willing to take your child out to play in the parks – many of which will be a short walk from wherever you happen to live. Look at the maps, check out the local spaces using Google or Bing maps. We have ponds, play equipment, the occasional adventure playground (with slides and swings and climbing equipment), light forests, mountains, plains, the works.

Here’s a listing in O’Connor, for $435: http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/act/rent-residential/105a-scrivener-street-oconnor-canberra/1316800787611

Here’s that street in Bing maps: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=-35.25554121817157~149.12233210676823&lvl=17&dir=0&sty=h&where1=Scrivener%20St%2C%20O%E2%80%99Connor%2C%20ACT%202602&form=LMLTCC

You’re within 5 min walk of shops, primary schools, high schools, churches of several denominations, nature park(s), and space to go out and just kick a ball around.

I-filed I-filed 10:48 am 11 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.

Depends where you live. Ainslie to Parliament House takes 15 minutes in the middle of rush hour, 8 minutes early in the morning ….

KB1971 KB1971 10:00 am 11 Oct 11

Conder to ANU, 30km, 25 minutes non peak, 40-50 peak maximum. Even then geting to the ANU by 8 it would be more like 30. Currently, if I plan for 8 start in the city it usually takes me 40 & that includes parking the car at the Canberra Centre & walking across the city centre to the bus interchange.

niftydog niftydog 9:42 am 11 Oct 11

14km to ANU by car – worst case 25mins.
(depart at 8:30 and encounter a delay eg; traffic accident or heavy rain.)

11km to ANU by bike – average 25mins.
(more direct route – riding style; “fast & sweaty” – if you resemble Mary Poppins on a bike expect to take a bit longer!)

Parking is not free at the ANU, but it’s substantially cheaper than parking in the city. In my little corner of the campus, so long as you get here prior to 9am you can usually find a parking spot.

Shullerina Shullerina 9:06 am 11 Oct 11

Just a heads up, ANU staff do not park for free (unless it is included as part of your salary package)

Jethro Jethro 9:59 pm 10 Oct 11

dundle said :

Traffic is really not bad, there is a peak hour but I’ve never been in a bumper to bumper standstill like you get in other cities. And going in a little early or late and you miss the peak and there’s basically nothing. Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Bruce to ANU are all about 20 minutes, maybe 30 maximum if it’s a bad time. My friend in O’Connor says it’s 10 to drive from theirs to ANU in rush hour.

There is no way Aranda to ANU is 20 minutes. Maybe on a pushy.

dundle dundle 9:31 pm 10 Oct 11

Traffic is really not bad, there is a peak hour but I’ve never been in a bumper to bumper standstill like you get in other cities. And going in a little early or late and you miss the peak and there’s basically nothing. Aranda, Cook, Macquarie, Bruce to ANU are all about 20 minutes, maybe 30 maximum if it’s a bad time. My friend in O’Connor says it’s 10 to drive from theirs to ANU in rush hour.

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