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It sure looks like we’re getting a bus lane down the Northbourne Median Strip

By johnboy - 18 April 2012 72

simon corbell presser

At his press conference this lunchtime Simon Corbell was keen to stress that all the options are being considered.

But consider these two points:

    1. The press conference was held on the Northbourne Avenue median strip.

    2. The media release has these paragraphs:

    “These cost estimates by URS Australia Pty Ltd, show that Bus Rapid Transit is estimated to cost between $300m-$360 million while light rail transit would require an investment of between $700m-$860 million. These are initial estimates and require further detailed investigation,” Mr Corbell said.

    “Initial transport modelling suggests that if it was in place now, the BRT proposal would cut delays in peak travel times between Civic and Gungahlin from 16 minutes, as they currently stand, to approximately eight minutes, while the light rail option would see the delay reduced to less than 6 minutes,” he said.

Anyone want to spend an extra $400 million for a 2 minute reduction in travel time?

There’s a pretty glossy for the transport fetishists which includes this fetching concept drawing:

northbourne busway

The Greens were loitering nearby so we expect to hear from them soon:

loitering greens


UPDATE 18/04/12 13:55: The Greens have chimed in:

The ACT Greens have welcomed the positive conclusions of an ACT government study on transit options for the Civic-Gungahlin corridor, but reminded the Government about its history of repeated rhetoric and inaction on the issue.

“We are hopeful once again that this study is the first step of an active, committed pathway to light rail or bus rapid transit for Canberra’s growing population,” Greens transport spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, said today.

“But a Minister standing on Northbourne Avenue talking about light rail has a certain déjà vu from previous election years. Today’s announcements are issues we know already because they have been assessed and announced before.

“The ACT Government has made numerous announcements about the findings of public transport studies and engaged in positive rhetoric about the opportunities, only to then take the projects nowhere.

Particular fun can be had with their timeline:

Timewarp Timeline

1994: study found light rail was feasible for Canberra. (Canberra Light Rail Implementation Study)

2001: Minister Stanhope: “We will conduct a feasibility study into light rail and conduct public consultation on the findings.”

2002: Minister Corbell: “this government is interested in exploring issues around light rail”

2003: Minister Corbell: “This government is not afraid to put light rail back on the agenda. This government is not afraid to consider light rail as a potential transport mode for this city.”

2004: Consultant’s study ‘Canberra Public Transport Futures Feasibility Study’ tests and assesses the introduction of light rail or bus rapid transit on the Gungahlin to Civic routes, the benefits, and the costs. Finds it is economically feasible and beneficial.

2005: Consultant’s study on Northbourne Avenue recommends light rail on the median strip corridor; identifies millions of dollars of benefits to building rapid transit on the Northern corridor (SMEC Northbourne Avenue report).

2008: Minister Stanhope: “I am extremely pleased to be able to announce that the ACT government is moving ahead with its exploration of light rail …”

2008: Consultant’s study finds millions of dollars of benefits to light rail, and that light rail would maximise transport efficiency and accessibility and minimize environmental and social impacts of transport in Canberra (Price Waterhouse Coopers Light Rail Study)

2011: Simon Corbell: “we have put light rail firmly back on the agenda as an option along the Northbourne Avenue corridor”

2012: Most recent study repeats the benefits of rapid transit and light rail. Government again talks about implementation, consultation.

What’s Your opinion?


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72 Responses to
It sure looks like we’re getting a bus lane down the Northbourne Median Strip
jase! 2:38 pm 18 Apr 12

from the picture, why is it two lanes wide? make it tidal flow and save $$ and less impact on the median. and like another poster said, add bike paths

damien haas 2:34 pm 18 Apr 12

Thanks to a journo advising me of the Ministers Press Conference this afternoon, i managed to attend and listen to it in entirety. I had already read the press release – which did not contain the reports figures in it.

As a general rule, The ACTGOV like to issue a press release ahead of the actual report, so that journos dont have time to read it. This avoids the possibility of any informed questioning. I raised this with a Transport for Canberra employee at the launch, who told me the report and figures would go live after the press conference. Great. Plus one for ‘open government’.

When Corbell announced the 300 million for BRT and 870 million for Light Rail I was just stunned. How on earth could he arrive at these figures ? How can a two lane light rail system travelling 12 kilometres cost more than twice the cost of the Majura Parkway ?

I wish the journos had asked him.

Post press conference i talked to journos and expressed ACT Light Rails disappointment. based on Corbells comments today, it is clear that the ALP are going to implement BRT. This being the case – why didnt they just say so a year ago, and spend that intervening year doing it. I’m sure the commuters of Gungahlin would appreciate that. Instead we delay any decision until – oh wow – an election year!

I then had the opportunity to download and digest the reports that had been kept from the public and media until after the opportunity to ask Corbell inormed questions had passed.

Interesting reading. Go here: http://transport.act.gov.au/studies_projects/northbourne_study.html

I recommend the Concept Study for close scrutiny. light rail – 700 to 870 million. 700 is a figure i could accept. Considering that initial rolling stock would need to be procured. But lets take out say 200 million for the worlds finest, cutting edge, light rail vehicles rolling along on unobtainium coated wheels. Would it REALLY cost 500 million to build a 12 kilometre line ?

This is the sleight of hand accounting trick that has been used to inflate the cost of light rail: do not count any vehicle cost for BRT, and make 40 percent of the 870 million LR figure the cost of LR vehicles. This is disingenuous at best as there are only a limited number of 100 plus passenger capacity vehicle in ACTIONS fleet, and IF the BRT was to achieve the service levels of the report – significant 100 plus passenger buses would need to be procured. For the report to be credible, these figures need to be added to the 360 million cost of BRT.

The rest of the report is quite the read. Turning the rego office in Dickson into a shopping mall/bus station. I hope someone got a bonus for that idea.

No one has ever said light rail is a cheap option, but it is the best long term option. The concept report says that – on page 55.

And if anyone thinks this ALP government can actually deliver Bus Rapid Transit for 300 million, I refer you to every significant project this government has tackled and ask if any have been delivered on budget or on time. Its an empty cupboard of achievement.

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

PantsMan 2:03 pm 18 Apr 12

geni_lou said :

johnboy said :

PantsMan said :

Wrong! We ARE getting a press release and a media-op six months before the election.

Dunno, Simon’s pretty keen on his bus lanes.

My gut feel is he’s trying to keep the light rail enthusiasts onside until after october.

He’s not doing a good job. $800 million is cyncical at best. I just can’t believe that costs have quadrupled since 2004, and I’m not sure who can. I’m done with them.

+1

Imagine if that public art money had been sunk into this for the last decade. And maybe the Human Rights Commissioner is handy with concrete formwork?

FFS! I call ‘election maneuver’ that will designed to paper over their decade of ‘let them eat cake’ government.

thebadtouch 1:59 pm 18 Apr 12

$300 million plus to reduce a delay of 16 minutes down to 8 minutes. Let’s keep this in perspective. Other cities in Australia experience delays of 1 or 2 hours each way commuting to and from work. What is 16 minutes?

Does anyone else think this is an enormous amount of money that could be better spent on more pressing needs?

geni_lou 1:55 pm 18 Apr 12

Apparently when I’m treated like an idiot I respond by calling things ‘cyncical’. Oops

geni_lou 1:53 pm 18 Apr 12

johnboy said :

PantsMan said :

Wrong! We ARE getting a press release and a media-op six months before the election.

Dunno, Simon’s pretty keen on his bus lanes.

My gut feel is he’s trying to keep the light rail enthusiasts onside until after october.

He’s not doing a good job. $800 million is cyncical at best. I just can’t believe that costs have quadrupled since 2004, and I’m not sure who can. I’m done with them.

Thumper 1:50 pm 18 Apr 12

Anyone want to spend an extra $400 million for a 2 minute reduction in travel time?

With the track record of this mob it more likely be $800 million with a one minute reduction and won’t be finished until 2020.

johnboy 1:49 pm 18 Apr 12

PantsMan said :

Wrong! We ARE getting a press release and a media-op six months before the election.

Dunno, Simon’s pretty keen on his bus lanes.

My gut feel is he’s trying to keep the light rail enthusiasts onside until after october.

ML-585 1:49 pm 18 Apr 12

It sure looks like we’re getting a bus lane down the Northbourne Median Strip. Actually, it doesn’t. If you read the project update #2:

“Kerbside alignment along Northbourne Avenue is recommended by the consultants between Bunda Street and Barton Highway.”

Not sure if this is to do with relocation of services, or the ability for ALL bus services (not just those travelling to Gungahlin) to utilise a bus lane but it looks like we’re getting a bus lane in the OUTSIDE LANES of Northbourne Avenue, assuming someone else will pay for it.

PantsMan 1:48 pm 18 Apr 12

Wrong! We ARE getting a press release and a media-op six months before the election.

Rollersk8r 1:38 pm 18 Apr 12

Good! Do it! ..although I notice no bike lanes in the artists impression?

qedbynature 1:35 pm 18 Apr 12

How many times do we have to have a report which ends up being a recipe for doing nothing? Light rail has been talked about forever just like fast trains between here and elsewhere. It’s always about the money but consider how many paid up members of the TWU are employed by ACTION. Like the VFT and the road freight/airline businesses it’s interesting how good ideas are always too expensive but continued growth of particular vested interests is never part of the debate.

geni_lou 1:18 pm 18 Apr 12

Their own costs for light rail from the previous report (4 years ago?) for city to gungahlin came to $200 million. They always do this. Pull out some ridiculous figure that relates to heavy rail with tunnels etc and say they can’t possibly afford to do it. It’s a nonsense.
In their last report (by PWC) light rail was also said to pay for itself (unlike buses), get a much stronger passenger uptake, be more likely to attract funding from business, and generally be a much more sensible long term option.
All these endless reports, failed busways, and bullsh*t figures do my head in.
Just say “we’ll stick with what we’ve got but try and build up some credibility before the election by acting like we’re on the front foot & have progressed since 1952” Corbell. It would be far, far less cycnical.

AAMC 1:17 pm 18 Apr 12

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O-Bahn_Busway

Just saying, might be the missing link.

Felix the Cat 1:16 pm 18 Apr 12

It will never happen, the tree huggers woulodn’t allow the Govt to cut down all those trees.

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