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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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Keijidosha 9:28 am 19 Apr 12

Bramina said :

That doesn’t explain why this project is hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive than previous government proposals.

The govco are just predicting a cost blowout up front. That way they don’t need to explain it later.

Bramina 8:47 am 19 Apr 12

Pandy said :

The report, on a skim thru reading, does not say how many trams are needed but please correct me if I am wrong. Also correct me where in the report it says the preferred 220 passenger trams cost? From everything I have been able to find on the web on equivalent 220 passenger trams recently bought in Australia, they used to cost at least $5 million a piece, with inflation I bet they now cost more.

You can work out the number of trams needed from other information they give – the trip time (about 30 minutes) and the frequency of trams (every 10 minutes). They could scrape by with six trams. Eight trams would be reliable. And ten trams would mean they have backups in case of breakdowns.

I didn’t see where it said the preference was for 200 person trams. Even then ten 200 person trams would only cost $30 million more than ten 100 person trams.

That doesn’t explain why this project is hundreds of millions of dollars more expensive than previous government proposals.

dpm 7:40 am 19 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

You present yourself as Chair of the peak light rail lobby group in the ACT. I have never heard of your group……

So, this was your first time on RA then….? DH is a regular contributor here. Plus according to his posts, i’m guessing he’s a member of the Belconnen community council.
Hey… maybe he’s on the BCC to push his covert train agenda there too??? I love a good conspiracy theory!! Or maybe I could just take my tin foil hat off and calm down a bit….. Hahahaha!

Pandy 6:36 am 19 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

The concept report (linked below) says that vehicles and depots would cost 20% which is $140 to $174 million.

To put things in perspective: for that price you could buy 87 trams of 100 passenger capacity. At 20m in length, placed end to end, these trams would extend for 1.7km. That is over a tenth of the way to gunners. For the entire cost of the project, you could make a continuous line of trams stretching almost 9km – three quarters of the way to the G. (The report says that a 100 person tram costs $2m).

They say they’re going to run services every 10 minutes. The trip takes about 30 minutes, so they only need about 8-10 trams maximum, not EIGHTY SEVEN.

So that leaves about $150m to build a depot – a shed for 10 trams.

The concept report: http://transport.act.gov.au/studies_projects/City%20to%20Gungahlin%20Concept%20report.pdf

The report, on a skim thru reading, does not say how many trams are needed but please correct me if I am wrong. Also correct me where in the report it says the preferred 220 passenger trams cost? From everything I have been able to find on the web on equivalent 220 passenger trams recently bought in Australia, they used to cost at least $5 million a piece, with inflation I bet they now cost more.

Interesting to note that the the preferred option for either BRT or LRT is Kerbside.

If it were note for the bicycle fraternity, the width of the median strip would not be reduced.

And yes the report does say:

BRT is a cost-effective option, whilst LRT generates the best overall outcome for Canberra.

One 2:09 am 19 Apr 12

Money money money

The Govt will make the money back in the first few months of operations – another breakdown lane for running RBT’s (and RTA inspections) would be a cash earning exercise. The political party gifts from all the unions on this one would be a bonus, plus speed cameras.

2am road worker’s to keep the lower-income residents awake between stabbings, and bashing’s should work well.

The good news – seems that cancer causing gas from motorways is fine, as fact add more!

Only down side is cars would need to be taken off the road after RBT operations, resulting in more law changes that generate incomes for those people we all love (the lawyers). This kind law change thing only needs to be done in the city because having fire dangers from empty cars on the side of a bush capital road way isn’t an act of arson should it – if by magic – catch fire, or have its glass windows just pop out into the grass (better blame a smoker to be safe).

Bramina 11:46 pm 18 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

You present yourself as Chair of the peak light rail lobby group in the ACT. I have never heard of your group…

Damien is a well established as the ACT light rail guru. His website has been around for a while and he always puts in his two bob on light rail discussions here at the Riot Act. I can’t vouch for how serious or influential his organisation is, but Damien himself is legit.

damien haas said :

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 ?

The concept report (linked below) says that vehicles and depots would cost 20% which is $140 to $174 million.

To put things in perspective: for that price you could buy 87 trams of 100 passenger capacity. At 20m in length, placed end to end, these trams would extend for 1.7km. That is over a tenth of the way to gunners. For the entire cost of the project, you could make a continuous line of trams stretching almost 9km – three quarters of the way to the G. (The report says that a 100 person tram costs $2m).

They say they’re going to run services every 10 minutes. The trip takes about 30 minutes, so they only need about 8-10 trams maximum, not EIGHTY SEVEN.

So that leaves about $150m to build a depot – a shed for 10 trams.

The concept report: http://transport.act.gov.au/studies_projects/City%20to%20Gungahlin%20Concept%20report.pdf

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 plan isn’t to paint a lane each way, it is to dig up the median strip down the centre of Northbourne and build more lanes there to make up for the bus lane on the outside. And they’re also building dedicated bike lanes on both sides which bumps the cost up.

The report is very heavy on repositioning roads for some reason that completely eludes me. Most of the way to Gungahlin there is either a wide median strip, or a wide nature strip on the side of the road that would be perfect for trams.

Thumper 11:12 pm 18 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

damien haas said :

Everything I post is under my own name. Its my right to be critical of any policy or action i dont agree with. Some people whine anonymously on the internet, other people seek like minded individuals and take action.

If youre going to misquote selectively, at least cut and paste properly and dont insert random words.

If you would like to attend a meeting, contact me and I will add you to the mailing list.

Its a self funded organisation. Members pay for all costs out of their own pocket. We havent received a cracker from any government body or political party. I am not a member of any political party. To my knowledge there are no commercial conflicts. We are advocating for improved public transport – its pretty hard to winkle a conspiracy out of that, but you go right ahead and keep digging.

Anything else ?

You present yourself as Chair of the peak light rail lobby group in the ACT. I have never heard of your group and your reply to my first question was so juvenile and didn’t answer my questions properly. I thought I would look at your website. The website was so vague. I was interested and asked legitimate questions – Who is this peak light rail lobby group that you represent? Who are its members who you claim come from Community Councils, all political parties, environmental groups and the general public and, Does your organisation have any clout?
And yes, everyone has the right to question government policy. I support better transport options in Canberra particularly along Northbourne Avenue, one of the most congested roads in Canberra. As a Canberran I am also interested in Canberra’s development. The Canberra Liberals offer no alternative and the Greens just think money grows on trees. Everyone complains that the government doesn’t consult. Well they are consulting, asking for community feedback before they release the final report in a couple of months time. I don’t know of any other ACT local government that has consulted they way this government has. Your post just sounded like one big whinge.

Settle down man, it’s cool that you are an ALP staffer. No-one is that peturbed.

caf 10:48 pm 18 Apr 12

Sgt.Bungers said :

Pandy said :

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

You do the math.

The Perth to Mandurah railway line cost 1.66 billion by the time it was finished 5 years ago, (approx 1.86 billion today adjusting for inflation). That is a 70 kilometre railway line, including 10 new stations, 15 new bridges, new rolling stock, new railcar storage, electrical infrastructure… the list goes on.

How have we arrived at an estimate of nearly half that cost, for well under a quarter of the distance… for light rail.

8 years ago they managed to build the 1400km Alice Springs to Darwin railway for a mere $1.2bn.

It seems like railways are priced in the same way as hot chips from the takeaway shop.

ka1042 8:34 pm 18 Apr 12

ka1042 said :

damien haas said :

Everything I post is under my own name. Its my right to be critical of any policy or action i dont agree with. Some people whine anonymously on the internet, other people seek like minded individuals and take action.

If youre going to misquote selectively, at least cut and paste properly and dont insert random words.

If you would like to attend a meeting, contact me and I will add you to the mailing list.

Its a self funded organisation. Members pay for all costs out of their own pocket. We havent received a cracker from any government body or political party. I am not a member of any political party. To my knowledge there are no commercial conflicts. We are advocating for improved public transport – its pretty hard to winkle a conspiracy out of that, but you go right ahead and keep digging.

Anything else ?

You present yourself as Chair of the peak light rail lobby group in the ACT. I have never heard of your group and your reply to my first question was so juvenile and didn’t answer my questions properly. I thought I would look at your website. The website was so vague. Being the beavering drilling type that I am I was interested and asked legitimate questions – Who is this peak light rail lobby group that you claim to represent and do they have any political connections? Who are its members who you claim come from Community Councils, all political parties, environmental groups and the general public? Does this lobby group have any legitimate studies to back up their claim that light rail offers the best form of mass transit in the ACT? How is this group funded? and, Does your organisation have any clout?
And yes, I agree, everyone has the right to question government policy. I support better transport options in Canberra particularly along Northbourne Avenue, one of the most congested roads in Canberra. As a true blue Canberran I am also interested in Canberra’s development. The Canberra Liberals offer no alternative and the Greens just think money grows on trees. Everyone complains that the government doesn’t consult. Well they are consulting, asking for community feedback before they release the final report in a couple of months time. I don’t know of any other ACT local government that has consulted the way this government has. Your post just sounded like one big whinge.

Pandy 7:56 pm 18 Apr 12

Oh and transformers.

Of course a green field project like this would cost more than a mere extension.

Pandy 7:46 pm 18 Apr 12

Canberra would needed depots, workshops, and lots of intersections works. Not so much in Adelaide.

thatsnotme 7:46 pm 18 Apr 12

My favourite part about the artist impression is how there’s a single car waiting at the intersection on Northbourne. The artist either isn’t very good at drawing lines of cars, or his brief was to make the bus system look super effective.

BicycleCanberra 7:35 pm 18 Apr 12

Is does sound rather expensive given the whole network cost for light rail a couple of years back was $2 Billion. So a figure at $500 million would be around the mark for Gungahlin to Civic. Interestingly the Gold coast light rail stage 1 of 13km will cost over $1 Billion dollars! and many are not so supportive of it either. http://www.stoplightrail.com/

There’s nothing wrong with Bus Rapid transit DH, in the end it will come down to cost benefit analysis for all modes of Transport.

kakosi 7:28 pm 18 Apr 12

Those strips were always intended for trams but of course Canberra was never considered metropolitan or important enough to fund, plan and build properly for the future. Now we have self-government we have buckleys of ever getting proper infrastructure in this city – regardless of which brand of local politics gets in. The press conference smells of selling the cheap and nasty solution.

gooterz 7:19 pm 18 Apr 12

Why not do the obvious!!

http://img513.imageshack.us/img513/9461/magicbusway.png

400 Times cheaper. Likely save everyone 5 minutes.
First step is to remove the bike lakes!

What they don’t tell you is that with the busway / trainway down the middle the time to actually get down northbourne for everyone else will increase!

Also for 800 Million.. isnt it cheaper just to put in a subway?

Mind you for a billion you could probably just cut into the middle of Northbourne put in 2 tracks and roof over the top. No effect on traffic once its done and future proof!

ka1042 7:08 pm 18 Apr 12

damien haas said :

Everything I post is under my own name. Its my right to be critical of any policy or action i dont agree with. Some people whine anonymously on the internet, other people seek like minded individuals and take action.

If youre going to misquote selectively, at least cut and paste properly and dont insert random words.

If you would like to attend a meeting, contact me and I will add you to the mailing list.

Its a self funded organisation. Members pay for all costs out of their own pocket. We havent received a cracker from any government body or political party. I am not a member of any political party. To my knowledge there are no commercial conflicts. We are advocating for improved public transport – its pretty hard to winkle a conspiracy out of that, but you go right ahead and keep digging.

Anything else ?

You present yourself as Chair of the peak light rail lobby group in the ACT. I have never heard of your group and your reply to my first question was so juvenile and didn’t answer my questions properly. I thought I would look at your website. The website was so vague. I was interested and asked legitimate questions – Who is this peak light rail lobby group that you represent? Who are its members who you claim come from Community Councils, all political parties, environmental groups and the general public and, Does your organisation have any clout?
And yes, everyone has the right to question government policy. I support better transport options in Canberra particularly along Northbourne Avenue, one of the most congested roads in Canberra. As a Canberran I am also interested in Canberra’s development. The Canberra Liberals offer no alternative and the Greens just think money grows on trees. Everyone complains that the government doesn’t consult. Well they are consulting, asking for community feedback before they release the final report in a couple of months time. I don’t know of any other ACT local government that has consulted they way this government has. Your post just sounded like one big whinge.

Sgt.Bungers 7:07 pm 18 Apr 12

Pandy said :

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

You do the math.

The Perth to Mandurah railway line cost 1.66 billion by the time it was finished 5 years ago, (approx 1.86 billion today adjusting for inflation). That is a 70 kilometre railway line, including 10 new stations, 15 new bridges, new rolling stock, new railcar storage, electrical infrastructure… the list goes on.

How have we arrived at an estimate of nearly half that cost, for well under a quarter of the distance… for light rail.

geni_lou 6:30 pm 18 Apr 12

Pandy said :

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

You do the math.

With far more capital works than would be required anywhere in Canberra

wildturkeycanoe 6:17 pm 18 Apr 12

Meanwhile, we have now slowed the trip from West Belconnen to City along William Hovell Dr. by 25 seconds with the sly reduction of the speed limit to 80km/h just the other day. I mean, where is the consistency!!
“$400 million for a 2 minute reduction in travel time?”. The increase in travel from West Belco by 25 seconds cost them about $85,000. Whether it gets quicker or slower it seems to just eat up more of our money.

damien haas 6:15 pm 18 Apr 12

Everything I post is under my own name. Its my right to be critical of any policy or action i dont agree with. Some people whine anonymously on the internet, other people seek like minded individuals and take action.

If youre going to misquote selectively, at least cut and paste properly and dont insert random words.

If you would like to attend a meeting, contact me and I will add you to the mailing list.

Its a self funded organisation. Members pay for all costs out of their own pocket. We havent received a cracker from any government body or political party. I am not a member of any political party. To my knowledge there are no commercial conflicts. We are advocating for improved public transport – its pretty hard to winkle a conspiracy out of that, but you go right ahead and keep digging.

Anything else ?

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