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How government propaganda may kill light rail (and the rest of Canberra)

By Paul Costigan - 19 August 2015 76

NrthBourne-P1020071

I support the introduction of light rail networks across Canberra.

We should not be having this debate in 2015. The first tracks should have been laid down in the late 1950s or at least by the mid 1960s.

I blame the former NCDC for this oversight. This lack of light rail transport infrastructure most likely came about because of the NCDC’s commitment to roads and even more roads and how wonderful Canberra was to be if we all drove more cars.

Today in Canberra we have the very tragic situation whereby far too many do not trust the government to deliver a great piece of transport infrastructure and to build an engaging urban environment down the redeveloped Northbourne Avenue corridor.

What people are now witnessing is an on-going process of degrading Canberra’s once famous public amenity. Naturally, the politicians have to take responsibility for such decisions.

However, the main cause rests squarely with their bureaucratic agencies that oversee land sales and the subsequent redevelopments.

The planning minister was recently asked on air: “Who is running planning in Canberra — Is it the LDA (Land Development Agency)?”

He did not sound convincing with his hesitant response.

Several community sectors are being messed around by a bureaucracy that has an unhealthy culture and is convinced that it is entitled to make decisions despite the high rates of distress caused to residents. The age of entitlement remains in place within these agencies.

Master-plan-Feb-2015_

For instance, there are the mind games that have been played with the communities in and around Telopea and Manuka as well as Yarralumla. As for that infamous and not-quite-open-yet Westside project, the less said the better.

Meanwhile, Dickson residents are currently receiving propaganda relating to the Dickson Parklands (Section 72).

For such precinct redevelopments, residents are confronted by consultants who deliver a well-rehearsed form of token consultations. The result of all this expenditure? PR documents that pretend to be master plans, but are not. These documents are superficial at best and designed to provide the case for the pre-determined outcomes – the sale of land and the subsequent developments.

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Propaganda that twists facts to suit the message and contains vague generalised data is widely used by particular ACT Government agencies when dealing with residents.

There is a high level of mistrust regarding how the ACT Government delivers major projects. Consequently much of the current information around the light rail is viewed as dubious. This situation is of the government’s own doing. It is a real shame.

This important and overdue transport initiative could have had much broader public support, if only the ACT Government had a track record of being honest and transparent with residents on so many other urban matters.

It is as if there has been an urban destruction unit secretly located within the chief minister’s portfolio.

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Many people still consider the concept of the light rail and the linked Northbourne redevelopments to be valuable initiatives. Logically, this is the next step in inner Canberra’s urban development.

The wish is that we could trust this government on planning and development. We wish our local politicians could change the culture of its development bureaucracy.

It is really simple. The first step is for the bureaucracies to stop paying for and being dependent communication officers employed to publish propaganda. The bureaucracy needs to be honest and transparent with information. The government and its agencies need to openly debate ideas, aspirations and issues with residents.

Our public sector development agencies need to stop hiding behind spin and propaganda. It is a waste of tax payers’ money and an insult to the electorate.

It is about earning and demonstrating respect.

Life would be then so much less stressful for so many people. And we could all enjoy the coming spring that much more.

What’s Your opinion?


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76 Responses to
How government propaganda may kill light rail (and the rest of Canberra)
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dungfungus 9:44 am 24 Aug 15

farnarkler said :

Just build an Adelaide O-Bahn that connects Gungahlin and Mitchell with Civic and runs along the base of Mts Majura and Ainslie.

The O-Bahn track in Adelaide was constructed in the only lengthy urban corridor that is not served or partly served by rail. The outer end of the corridor was the fastest growing part of Adelaide during the O-Bahn construction period and for some years after – from about 1980 to 1995. This was an area known as Golden Grove which was jointly developed by the State Government and private developers to produce a residential area. During its development sales signs advertised that it was served by the O-Bahn.
The O-Bahn track was constructed from a point about 3 kilometres from the City Centre to terminate about 15 kilometres from the City Centre at the regional centre for the area, Tea Tree Plaza. Suburbs now stretch for about 8 kilometres beyond Tea Tree Plaza but further urban growth in the corridor is prevented by a range of hills. In this area the bus routes fan out from the end of the O-Bahn, operating on the normal street system.
There is insufficient concentrated passenger demand in this area to extend the O-Bahn.
It’s certainly a lot faster than any light rail system but the current ACT Government won’t consider diesel power so it will never happen.
Better to have the slower, uglier and not so squeaky clean trams.

rubaiyat 9:12 am 24 Aug 15

Antagonist said :

rubaiyat said :

poppy said :

damien haas said :

poppy said :

When light rail starts, many direct bus services to the city will stop. This will result in longer commute times.

Which ones aside from the rapids will stop?

poppy said :

I would like the ACT govt to publish a list of suburbs that will lose their city bus service.

I would like you to show me the list of suburbs that are losing these services. To the best of my knowledge the plan is to enhance bus service on adjacent suburbs.

Page 34 of this document kindly provided by another poster, proves that Kaleen and Giralang, along with some other suburbs, will lose their city bus service as a result of the tram. Clearly the changeover time will result in longer commute times for these suburbs, and possibly extra cost (payment of two fares instead of one)

I do wish that people who obviously don’t use public transport in the ACT would stop making things up and actually stick to real issues.

You have one and a half hours to reach your destination in the ACT. There is NO double fare.

But the lies they keep coming.

I have been in the position of being stung for double fares by ACTION more than once because my commute on a bus can take more than 90 minutes in one direction. I have shown this on RiotACT many times over many years. Meanwhile, you are starting personal attacks on people instead of dismantling any argument you disagree with. The link posted afterwards (post #68?) backs poppy’s claims.

More than once? So you are saying twice? From where to where?. How will you manage to have an over 90 minute journey anywhere associated with the light rail line, considering the 90 minutes is to the ultimate boarding. ie The journey would have to be well over the 90 minutes.

Was it still cheaper than driving?

I have dismantled virtually every “argument”, using endless research and data, almost without fail ignored as yet another “fact” is made up about this most amazingly extreme transport alternative.

Antagonist 11:50 am 23 Aug 15

rubaiyat said :

poppy said :

damien haas said :

poppy said :

When light rail starts, many direct bus services to the city will stop. This will result in longer commute times.

Which ones aside from the rapids will stop?

poppy said :

I would like the ACT govt to publish a list of suburbs that will lose their city bus service.

I would like you to show me the list of suburbs that are losing these services. To the best of my knowledge the plan is to enhance bus service on adjacent suburbs.

Page 34 of this document kindly provided by another poster, proves that Kaleen and Giralang, along with some other suburbs, will lose their city bus service as a result of the tram. Clearly the changeover time will result in longer commute times for these suburbs, and possibly extra cost (payment of two fares instead of one)

I do wish that people who obviously don’t use public transport in the ACT would stop making things up and actually stick to real issues.

You have one and a half hours to reach your destination in the ACT. There is NO double fare.

But the lies they keep coming.

I have been in the position of being stung for double fares by ACTION more than once because my commute on a bus can take more than 90 minutes in one direction. I have shown this on RiotACT many times over many years. Meanwhile, you are starting personal attacks on people instead of dismantling any argument you disagree with. The link posted afterwards (post #68?) backs poppy’s claims.

farnarkler 12:07 am 23 Aug 15

Just build an Adelaide O-Bahn that connects Gungahlin and Mitchell with Civic and runs along the base of Mts Majura and Ainslie.

rubaiyat 11:16 pm 21 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Skyring said :

I’ve just found a photo of the overhead wire system for the tram. Interestingly enough, it allows for community participation: http://blog.campanella.se/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/the-wire.jpg

In some parts of the world that denotes the place where a gang member died, doesn’t it?

What are all those plastic flowers strapped to telegraph poles and reflector posts that I see everywhere?

Can’t be traffic victims because that would be in poor taste.

rubaiyat 11:11 pm 21 Aug 15

poppy said :

damien haas said :

poppy said :

When light rail starts, many direct bus services to the city will stop. This will result in longer commute times.

Which ones aside from the rapids will stop?

poppy said :

I would like the ACT govt to publish a list of suburbs that will lose their city bus service.

I would like you to show me the list of suburbs that are losing these services. To the best of my knowledge the plan is to enhance bus service on adjacent suburbs.

Page 34 of this document kindly provided by another poster, proves that Kaleen and Giralang, along with some other suburbs, will lose their city bus service as a result of the tram. Clearly the changeover time will result in longer commute times for these suburbs, and possibly extra cost (payment of two fares instead of one)

I do wish that people who obviously don’t use public transport in the ACT would stop making things up and actually stick to real issues.

You have one and a half hours to reach your destination in the ACT. There is NO double fare.

But the lies they keep coming.

rommeldog56 10:05 pm 21 Aug 15

The thing that cracks me up is that after the tram leaves Dickson, there are only 3 stops before it ends in Civic. See page 13 :

http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/655650/Capital-Metro-Business-Case-In-Full.pdf

Doesn’t sound like that’s very good if they are relying on residents along the route for passengers, for passengers to visit businesses along the route, etc.

MERC600 6:05 pm 21 Aug 15

Skyring said :

I’ve just found a photo of the overhead wire system for the tram. Interestingly enough, it allows for community participation: http://blog.campanella.se/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/the-wire.jpg

Nice one Skyring. I seem to remember one artists impression of the tram trundling along under a nice canopy of trees. All that was missing was a couple of koalas.

poppy 4:49 pm 21 Aug 15

poppy said :

damien haas said :

poppy said :

When light rail starts, many direct bus services to the city will stop. This will result in longer commute times.

Which ones aside from the rapids will stop?

poppy said :

I would like the ACT govt to publish a list of suburbs that will lose their city bus service.

I would like you to show me the list of suburbs that are losing these services. To the best of my knowledge the plan is to enhance bus service on adjacent suburbs.

Page 34 of this document kindly provided by another poster, proves that Kaleen and Giralang, along with some other suburbs, will lose their city bus service as a result of the tram. Clearly the changeover time will result in longer commute times for these suburbs, and possibly extra cost (payment of two fares instead of one)

Sorry forgot to post the link http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf

poppy 4:49 pm 21 Aug 15

JC said :

jgsma said :

Poppy has an excellent point. We live in Kaleen and currently have one bus to Civic – will we be expected to get off the bus at Dickson and get on a tram to go to Civic??

Nope has never been the plan.

In Gungahlin yes, but for the most part they already need to do that anyway to get on the 200’s or meander through Franklin or Harrison on the 57 or 58. Of course some peak hour direct buses, but they may well stay.

As I’ve said many times before the light rail is there more to server those that live along this corridor which is being developed with high density housing, and park and rides.

As someone who is moving to Gungahlin soon (not my first choice and light rail not the reason), I will probably use the Mitchell park and ride and tram it to the town rather than the express bus anyway.

This document proves you wrong http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf

poppy 4:48 pm 21 Aug 15

damien haas said :

poppy said :

When light rail starts, many direct bus services to the city will stop. This will result in longer commute times.

Which ones aside from the rapids will stop?

poppy said :

I would like the ACT govt to publish a list of suburbs that will lose their city bus service.

I would like you to show me the list of suburbs that are losing these services. To the best of my knowledge the plan is to enhance bus service on adjacent suburbs.

Page 34 of this document kindly provided by another poster, proves that Kaleen and Giralang, along with some other suburbs, will lose their city bus service as a result of the tram. Clearly the changeover time will result in longer commute times for these suburbs, and possibly extra cost (payment of two fares instead of one)

dungfungus 4:00 pm 21 Aug 15

Skyring said :

I’ve just found a photo of the overhead wire system for the tram. Interestingly enough, it allows for community participation: http://blog.campanella.se/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/the-wire.jpg

In some parts of the world that denotes the place where a gang member died, doesn’t it?

JC 2:26 pm 21 Aug 15

dungfungus said :

Some good insight about underground power in Canberra with further links at post #15
http://the-riotact.com/underground-and-overhead-power-whats-the-story/17247

Which proves what exactly. Also note my comment in that very thread.

JC 2:26 pm 21 Aug 15

Arthur Davies said :

JC said :

dungfungus said :

Innovation said :

I think light rail in Canberra is too little too late. The first stage from Gungahlin is years away from completion and even if subsequent stages around Canberra are built, it will be decades before those stages are realised.

I realise that vehicle movements and traffic times from Gungahlin to the City will get more congested unless there is some sort of change but light rail travel times that are similar to current bus travel times are a pretty poor goal.

The big issue between Gungahlin to the City are the intersection designs, the number of intersections, poor synchronisation of traffic lights and lack of a dedicated public transport/multi occupant vehicle lane. These issues are compounded by poorly designed and multiple bus services that duplicate runs and play leapfrog down Northbourne Avenue serving the same purpose.

There should be only about four or five intersections on Northbourne that allow right turning and cross traffic (traffic from all other intersecting roads should turn left on to Northbourne and do U turns at these intersections). Of the four or five intersections allowing cross traffic, these should be traffic light controlled roundabouts allowing multiple directions of moving traffic to enter the intersection simultaneously. All vehicles though could give way to public transport and multi occupant vehicles entering these roundabouts from special dedicated lanes.

I presume that traffic lights along Northbourne, whenever they are “synchronised”, assume a constant vehicle speed of 60km/h from intersection to intersection. This is not practicable in heavy slow moving traffic or for any vehicle that isn’t already maintaiing an average speed of 60km/h at the previous intersection. These lights need to be more intelligent based on the speed of vehicles passing through the previous timed intersection. (Electronic advisory speed signs along Northbourne recommending the average speed needed to reach a green light at the next intersection would stop the significant delays caused by traffic stopping and starting as opposed to constantly moving traffic.)

As for light rail, no-one here has ever answered my questions on previous posts as to why light rail was better than other public transport options such as multi articulated vehicles. Passenger numbers per driver seem to be similar and obviously the infrastructure cost is lower. And now we are entering an era where automated vehicles are probably less than a decade away and which could easily make permanent infrastructure such as light rail obsolete.

I have suggested before that the Government should focus on providing highly regular, fast and direct services along major transport corridors and subsidise private sector public transport between more specific destinations and those corridors. For example, Uber or some other Government regulated provider(s) could easily fill this gap in many suburbs ferrying multiple passengers to the nearest main road and public transport stop. Such a system could even work in conjunction with My Way at no extra cost to passengers. In the not too distant future – and probably long before more light rail sections in Canberra are built – automated vehicles even could be used for these services. (In quiet periods even these private sector vehicles could provide a myriad of other suburb specific services such as grocery, medical, parcel and mail deliveries).

As for Government planning, the idea of boosting construction along public transit corridors seems a good one. However, committing around a billion dollars to light rail on the route from Gungahlin hardly seems necessary to encourage adjacent construction. Surely when zoning sites along these corridors the Government could mandate the minimum ratio of accomodation per building site (or minimum engineering standards for new buildings on those sites that will allow extensions to the heights of those buildings in the future). Given the profit margins and wealth often touted by developers I very much doubt they would baulk at building on these specifically zoned sites.

The fact that the Government has done nothing to reform bus services on main transport routes or experiment with inexpensive changes along Northbourne Avenue suggest that they are trying to make current commutes worse to garner support for their light rail. The classic practice of (draft) Master Plans that are presented and re-presented all seem to be devised to gain support or wear down detractors.

Unfortunately, the contract for light rail will be stitched up before the next election. If there is an unreasonable cost attached to cancelling the light rail contract I won’t be voting Liberal if cancelling the contract at all costs remains their policy. In any event I’m not convinced the ACT Liberals’ modus operandi would be any better. My personal dilemma though these days is that I feel so disillusioned with politicians at all levels I can’t number everyone last on the next ballot paper.

“As for light rail, no-one here has ever answered my questions on previous posts as to why light rail was better than other public transport options such as multi articulated vehicles.”
The simple answer is that no one can tell you why because light rail in a place like Canberra is not needed, unsuitable and not affordable.
There were political imperatives to garner idealistic favour and the salesmen-ship of the Euro-tram lobby is even better than that of the diesel and tyre lobby of the 1960’s. This latter group were the ones that convinced our political leaders to rip up most tram networks already operating in Australia.
Canberra is a planned city and central to that plan was a road system to cater for motor vehicles as the main transport option. Canberra has also gone out of its way to underground electric cables and other pole supported services to provide those wonderful wire-free park vistas. These very successful ideals have delivered outcomes that suit everybody in Canberra but alas, they will be gone very soon, forever, unless some common-sense with a side serving of reality is put prominently on the political menu.

Peddling the same fibs again I see. Canberra was not designed to underground power, a good 2/3rds of Canberra has overhead power.

As for Canberra being designed for cars, will agree to an extent here, the Y plan for Canberra was indeed based on this. But Gungahlin has broken the Y plan rules. We have a main road with housing on, high density housing and Flemmington Road was designed as a transport corridor.

So light rail will work to Gungahlin and the inner parts of Canberra that predate the Y plan, eg those deigned by Burley Griffin, a design that had tramways as part of said design. But to Woden, Belconnen or Tuggeranong, forget it.

PS one thing you have never answered in your constant denigration of light rail as old and outdated technology is what exactly is modern technology? Cars and freeways maybe?

The upcoming transport innovations include those that use small light cars (pods) which travel below a small rail/track supported on poles ABOVE the traffic & intersections. These will be much faster than existing transport systems, cheaper than trams, & importantly will operate “on demand” i.e. there will be no timetables so you just take the next waiting car & go when it suits you 24/7. Heathrow airport has had ULTra pods operating for years on a ground based version, SkyTran is presently putting in systems I believe, taxi 2000 is another in development. I have an article with RiotACT not yet gone to press giving more details on these & their advantages/disadvantages

Arthur

I’ve used the Heathrow system. Kind of ok to get from the carpark to T5, but large scale, you gotta be joking. There would be no way know to man to have enough vehicles to meet demand, especially seeing as the demand will be tidal, but the carpark is more balanced. And people are worried about overhead power lines, imaging having the track coming up crossing every single intersection on a bridge.

Besides it was designed in the 1990’s, (but took until 2010’s to be installed) so as Dunfungus would so last century technology.

Skyring 1:44 pm 21 Aug 15

I’ve just found a photo of the overhead wire system for the tram. Interestingly enough, it allows for community participation: http://blog.campanella.se/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/the-wire.jpg

dungfungus 1:39 pm 21 Aug 15

Some good insight about underground power in Canberra with further links at post #15
http://the-riotact.com/underground-and-overhead-power-whats-the-story/17247

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