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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
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Pandy 6:12 pm 18 Apr 12

3Km extension to the Adelaide light rail network 3 years ago cost 100 million dollars.

You do the math.

goggles13 6:09 pm 18 Apr 12

thebadtouch said :

$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?

yes.

if the ACT Govt (aka fancy local council) used some simple logic, they would see that their existing measures (such as more expensive car parking) to encourage more use of public transport have failed.

therefore why spend a stupid amount of money on another form of public transport that won’t be used?

geni_lou 6:03 pm 18 Apr 12

Despite 2004 govt costings at $200m, abc news keeps reporting $800m ridiculous figure verbatim. I have never been so frustrated. How about doing a little background, fellas?

ka1042 5:55 pm 18 Apr 12

damien haas said :

ka1042 said :

You say you attended the press conference as the Chairman of ACT LightRail and listened to the conference in its entirety. You were also stunned when Simon Corbell announced the 300 million for BRT and 870 million for Light Rail and couldn’t understand why the journos at the conference didn’t question him on this. If you were present as Chair of ACT LightRail and were so stunned, why didn’t you question him?

Time and place, time and place. I’m not hijacking a Ministers press conference.

Also, i’m not a journo. i listened, then waited for my turn to be interviewed.

I’d love the entire transcript of what Corbell said to be released. Questions asked dont equal questions answered. He talked for 10-15 minutes. He will be lucky to get perhaps 30 seconds of what he actually said on the electronic media.

ka1042 said :

I have read some of the report. My understanding is that the study and consultation process isn’t complete. There is also the opportunity to provide written feedback to raise any concerns and a survey form. There are also community consultation sessions planned in Dickson, Gungahlin and Civic where all interested parties (including you as Chairman of ACT Light Rail) can provide further feedback and raise any concerns you may have. The final report is anticipated to be released in June 2012.

Thanks for that, let me shake the magic 8 ball and see what the reports final outcome will be.

Damien Haas Chair of ACT Light Rail Organisation is very critical of the ACT government’s City to Gungahlin Transit Corridor report.

I’m interested in who this organisation is as I haven’t heard of them before so I looked on the internet. The website is very vague and light on detail. It says: “ACT Light Rail are (stet) the peak light rail lobby group in the Australian Capital Territory. We are an important organisation in Canberra with members from Community Councils, all political parties, environmental groups and members of the general public.”

Despite these claims they do not name any of their members. Is this organisation a registered legitimate lobby organisation in the ACT? If so, do they have any commercial or political connections which may cause conflict? Who are they and how are they funded?

ACT Light Rail website: “We believe that light rail offers the best form of mass transit for the ACT, and will serve as the backbone of an integrated public transport system incorporating bus’s, park and rides, bicycles and active transport.”

Apart from the really really bad spelling and grammar, does this organisation have any clout and legitimate studies to back up their claim that light rail offers the best form of mass transit in the ACT?

ACT Light Rail website: “The ACT Light Rail committee meet regularly to discuss public transport matters of interest and determine our lobbying activities. We hold public meetings on a regular basis.
If your organisation supports light rail in the Capital region, please email dchaas67 at gmail.com.au”.

mezza76 5:51 pm 18 Apr 12

FioBla said :

That timeline is hilarious. If only it took that long to start wars.

We should start celebrating 10th anniversaries: 10th anniversary of the Corbell Light Rail Exploration. Make it a public holiday. Send flowers. Or a Light Rail Dreams Memorial Plaque along Anzac Parade. Canberra does memorials well.

We could even set up an online bet for which is built first/last:
1. New Sydney Airport.
2. Rail to Melbourne Airport
3. Light rail on George Street Sydney
4. Light rail in Canberra.
6. Sydney Northwest railway line
7. Third Canberra Hospital
8. NBN
9. Canberra Ikea
10. More frequent buses to Weston Creek

2nd Sydney airport was ready to be built in 1991. I still think my car will fly or I’ll have my personal jetpack by the time it’s ready to go.

FioBla 5:38 pm 18 Apr 12

That timeline is hilarious. If only it took that long to start wars.

We should start celebrating 10th anniversaries: 10th anniversary of the Corbell Light Rail Exploration. Make it a public holiday. Send flowers. Or a Light Rail Dreams Memorial Plaque along Anzac Parade. Canberra does memorials well.

We could even set up an online bet for which is built first/last:
1. New Sydney Airport.
2. Rail to Melbourne Airport
3. Light rail on George Street Sydney
4. Light rail in Canberra.
6. Sydney Northwest railway line
7. Third Canberra Hospital
8. NBN
9. Canberra Ikea
10. More frequent buses to Weston Creek

damien haas 5:21 pm 18 Apr 12

Ben_Dover said :

Come on folks! That just screams “monorail!” 😉

Monorail is more of a North Haverbrook thing…

damien haas 5:19 pm 18 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

You say you attended the press conference as the Chairman of ACT LightRail and listened to the conference in its entirety. You were also stunned when Simon Corbell announced the 300 million for BRT and 870 million for Light Rail and couldn’t understand why the journos at the conference didn’t question him on this. If you were present as Chair of ACT LightRail and were so stunned, why didn’t you question him?

Time and place, time and place. I’m not hijacking a Ministers press conference.

Also, i’m not a journo. i listened, then waited for my turn to be interviewed.

I’d love the entire transcript of what Corbell said to be released. Questions asked dont equal questions answered. He talked for 10-15 minutes. He will be lucky to get perhaps 30 seconds of what he actually said on the electronic media.

ka1042 said :

I have read some of the report. My understanding is that the study and consultation process isn’t complete. There is also the opportunity to provide written feedback to raise any concerns and a survey form. There are also community consultation sessions planned in Dickson, Gungahlin and Civic where all interested parties (including you as Chairman of ACT Light Rail) can provide further feedback and raise any concerns you may have. The final report is anticipated to be released in June 2012.

Thanks for that, let me shake the magic 8 ball and see what the reports final outcome will be.

yellowsnow 4:59 pm 18 Apr 12

Given it cost the ACT govt $80 million + to build two tiny ponds at North Weston (assuming project ever gets finished – after two years it still looks like a barren hole in the ground with no construction workers to be seen), $800m for 12km of light rail is probably a conservative estimate by ACT project delivery standards.

I’d rather the money be spent on improved bus services than light rail simply because it’d be harder for the ACT govt to stuff up than an infrastructure project – and stuff it up they most certainly will.

ka1042 4:19 pm 18 Apr 12

damien haas said :

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.
… 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.
… 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

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.

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

You say you attended the press conference as the Chairman of ACT LightRail and listened to the conference in its entirety. You were also stunned when Simon Corbell announced the 300 million for BRT and 870 million for Light Rail and couldn’t understand why the journos at the conference didn’t question him on this. If you were present as Chair of ACT LightRail and were so stunned, why didn’t you question him?

I have read some of the report. My understanding is that the study and consultation process isn’t complete. There is also the opportunity to provide written feedback to raise any concerns and a survey form. There are also community consultation sessions planned in Dickson, Gungahlin and Civic where all interested parties (including you as Chairman of ACT Light Rail) can provide further feedback and raise any concerns you may have. The final report is anticipated to be released in June 2012.

Also, I can’t see what is wrong with turning the rego office in Dickson into a community precinct with a bus station/shopping mall. I’m a regular bus user and it sounds pretty good to me. Northbourne Avenue is one of the busiest traffic corridors in Canberra with thousands of people travelling down there every day. Look at what they did with the Belco bus interchange.

Ben_Dover 4:12 pm 18 Apr 12

Come on folks! That just screams “monorail!” 😉

Thumper 4:02 pm 18 Apr 12

Martlark said :

How much would it cost to make the left hand lane on Northbourne a bus lane each way? A few cans of paint? I wonder what proportion of these options is being justified by improving car traffic? I don’t think that’s the sort of thing you want to do to encourage public transport.

The time has come to either make civic car free or to introduce a congestion tax.

Oh, and some more speed cameras.

dpm 3:47 pm 18 Apr 12

Rollersk8r said :

Well if you were keeping things in perspective you’d realise 16 mins in Canberra is relative to 2 hours in Sydney considering population size!

Wow! I thought time was only (basically) relative to speed? I never knew it was relative to popualtion size! You can probably get a Nobel prize in Physics if you can show that! Then again, perhaps the bigger Sydney population affects time in a gravitational time dilation kinda way! Hahahaha!

Rollersk8r said :

Most of the time I ride 10km to work in Civic – and I even walked it several times over summer. But in the middle of winter, on a rainy day, that same journey takes over an hour on the bus, which it simply should not.

If you don’t live in Gunners and are mentioning a 60 min bus trip, then sorry, nothing is likely to change for you as a result of any PT works out of this latest report!

dungfungus 3:44 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.

you have read it right

PantsMan 3:39 pm 18 Apr 12

“I see a risk that City Hall will be recaptured by a bunch of semi-reformed Trotskyist, car-hating, Hugo Chavez idolising, newt fancying, tax dodging, bank bashing hypocrites and bendy bus fetishists.”

Boris Johnson, launching his London mayoral re-election campaign.

Pitty Zed is no Boris.

Sgt.Bungers 3:35 pm 18 Apr 12

When this gets canned after the election, hopefully we’ll start seeing talk of direct segregated cycle ways between all town centres. Rapid cycle transit will be cheaper than light rail and buses.

Martlark 3:29 pm 18 Apr 12

How much would it cost to make the left hand lane on Northbourne a bus lane each way? A few cans of paint? I wonder what proportion of these options is being justified by improving car traffic? I don’t think that’s the sort of thing you want to do to encourage public transport.

thebadtouch 3:13 pm 18 Apr 12

Rollersk8r said :

thebadtouch said :

$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?

Well if you were keeping things in perspective you’d realise 16 mins in Canberra is relative to 2 hours in Sydney considering population size! We’d have no need to spend money on anything if we always just said someone somewhere is tolerating worse.

Most of the time I ride 10km to work in Civic – and I even walked it several times over summer. But in the middle of winter, on a rainy day, that same journey takes over an hour on the bus, which it simply should not.

It’s possible you’ve misunderstood me… I’m not suggesting that we can always find someone, somewhere tolerating worse and therefore we shouldn’t spend money on worthwhile projects. I’m merely asking whether $300 million (or more, as every other posted doubts this government can deliver anything on budget anyway) spent in this way is the wisest use of finances?

I’ve been caught in the Canberra peak many times – and it’s nothing. So I get to work 5 or 10 minutes later than usual; so what? Are we so precious that saving a few minutes in travel time is the all-important determinant?

p1 3:07 pm 18 Apr 12

“Particular fun can be had with their timeline:”

If you add up the money paid for all those consultants reports, you could probably buy light rail and a bus lane.

PantsMan 3:07 pm 18 Apr 12

bitzermaloney said :

You missed one… around 2002 / 2003 a private consortium provided an unsolicated bid for $1b for a rail network (light or otherwise) that was to join ALL city centres (not just Civic and the as then relatively empty Gunner’s), as well as the Barton, the Airport, Quangers and East Maconochie Heights (and possibly have future extension to Murrambateman and Yass).

You are forgetting the economic neanderthals at ACT Treasury who won’t allow any public transport to be extended to Quangers because they don’t pay ACT taxes. Economic development and integration anyone?

It’s like New York putting up a wall around New Jersey because they don’t want to subsidies Jersey types. As it goes over a state border, the Commonwealth would probably pay for some of it also.

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