The ACT Liberal Opposition has today proposed three alternatives to light rail on the Northbourne Avenue corridor based on ideas provided by the community.
Canberrans can read the 19-page paper outlining the alternatives on Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe’s website here.
Until today, the Liberals’ anti-light rail campaign had focused on criticizing the transport plan without offering up alternatives.
Mr Coe said the options paper was designed to show that the debate should not be light rail or nothing.
“There are other infrastructure options using the existing bus network, that can improve public and private transport on Northbourne Avenue,” he said.
Option 1 would involve moving the cycle lane into the median strip on Northbourne, with bus priority measures added along the corridor.
Option 2 would see a bus lane built inthe Northbourne Avenue median, with the cycle lane remaining as is. The bus lane would be one-way, and would transport people into the City in the morning and away from the City in the afternoon.
Under Option 3, government would build a bus lane in the Northbourne Avenue median with cycle lanes on either side.
“Options 2 and 3 will save bus users 10 minutes at peak time and deliver a faster service than light rail at a fraction of the cost,” Mr Coe said.
“These options will be further explored by the Opposition, along with ideas to improve the operation of the bus network.”
A Belconnen-Civic busway, which included a bus lane down the Northbourne median strip, was Labor’s preferred option over light rail for some years. It was included in the ACT Government’s 2010 Infrastructure Plan, under “future directions”.
The Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell himself appears to have favoured the bus lane option over light rail back in 2012, as this earlier RiotACT article indicates. It also includes a light rail timeline opening with the fact that the 1994 Canberra Light Rail Implementation Study found that light rail was feasible for the territory.