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Libs propose added lanes on Northbourne, plus cycleways

By Charlotte Harper - 21 September 2016 8

Liberals' Northbourne plan

The Canberra Liberals have announced a plan to add additional road capacity on Northbourne Avenue, the Federal Highway and Flemington Road to deliver a rapid transit corridor that its transport spokesman says will be faster than light rail at a fraction of the cost, but Labor says the plan would create “an eight-lane gridlocked highway”.

Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe said today that the plan consisted of dedicated bus infrastructure, safe cycle lanes and additional road lanes.

“With the infrastructure we’re proposing, express buses will travel from Gungahlin to the City in 17 minutes, almost 10 minutes faster than trams,” Mr Coe said.

He said a Liberal government would create a dedicated southbound bus lane from Harrison to the city, a dedicated northbound bus lane from Barry Drive to Antill Street and an additional traffic lane then on to the Barton Highway.

There would be north/south cycle paths in the median strip for 12 m between Gungahlin and the City; duplication of single lane stretches of Flemington Road to ease bottlenecks; and measures to allow buses to bypass the Federal-Barton Highway intersection.

“Our current plan is for the bus lanes on Northbourne Avenue to be kerbside; however, a Canberra Liberals Government will seek expert engineering advice as to whether a median aligned bus lane would be a better option,” Mr Coe said.

Regardless of the alignment, he said the dedicated bus lanes would allow for less than 30 minute commutes by bus at peak hour from every Gungahlin suburb.

“The Canberra Liberals would seek to task the Canberra Metro Consortium to undertake this work, rather than a tram. We’re budgeting $58 million for these works, which includes a significant contingency.

“This comprehensive infrastructure plan for the Northbourne corridor will save the ACT over a billion dollars and provide a better transport solution.”

Labor transport spokeswoman Meegan Fitzharris has in a statement described the Liberals’ proposal as a “plan to concrete Northbourne Avenue” that will turn it into “an eight-lane gridlocked highway, at a cost of hundreds of millions”.

“The plan announced today would allow for nothing more than a conga line of buses clogging up the city’s main entry road, which won’t even stop to pick up passengers along the route,” she said.

“The proposal is poorly thought through, massively underfunded and excludes the $300 million cost to rip up the existing light rail contract.

“The travel times floated are simply impossible, especially when the extra lane runs out at Flemington Road.”

She is also derisive at “the ridiculous notion that an international light rail consortium would agree to lay concrete and build bike paths instead”.

“It is like asking someone who is building your house to build you a car instead,” she said.

Both Labor and the Greens have called on the Canberra Liberals to submit details of their plan to Treasury for independent costing.

“They must also confirm that they have received NCA approval to concrete Northbourne Ave, with no hope of replanting any of the trees that would have to be removed,” the Labor statement said.

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8 Responses to
Libs propose added lanes on Northbourne, plus cycleways
Leon Arundell 10:20 am 24 Sep 16

The Liberal plan will provide about three quarters of the benefits of Capital Metro. I suspect it will cost about $250 million.

It’s essentially the kerbside version of Bus Rapid Transit from Gungahlin to Civic and from Civic to Dickson. The other section, from Dickson to Gungahlin, is the least congested because (1) most of the traffic is between Civic and Dickson, and (2) the afternoon work peak doesn’t coincide with the afternoon school peak.

The Government’s 2012 Submission to Infrastructure Australia estimated that a complete $250 million Bus Rapid Transit system would provide more than 90% of the benefits of a $524 million light rail system.

nothappyjan 9:26 pm 22 Sep 16

Liberals – “[Groan] Hope Canberrans aren’t dumb enough to keep these guys at the wheel.”

History shows most voters actually are dumb enough to keep them in power and making very poor decisions.

wildturkeycanoe 3:01 pm 22 Sep 16

Anne Treasure said :

Isn’t the cycle path that is planned along with the Light Rail better than this proposal? It is covered almost the whole way – after the spring weather we’ve had, that seems more appealing than a three lane cycle highway in the rain.

When has a covered cycle path been part of the Labor promises? Are cyclists now so deserving that on top of having right of way over every other transport mode including walking, they now want a roof over their heads so they don’t get wet? This is the most absurd thing I have heard today!

1967 1:54 pm 22 Sep 16

I’ll declare myself a regular cyclist, and southside resident before I start in on an argument that’s not really going to effect my life too much, but he’s a thought.

How will all the busy the intersections along Northbourne work for cyclists if they’re trying get from one median strip island to the next?
Presumably there’ll need to be a break in the operation of the traffic lights just for cyclists?

Have a train, Don’t have a train, I just don’t think putting bikes in the median strip is a good idea.

bj_ACT 12:13 pm 22 Sep 16

Anne Treasure said :

Isn’t the cycle path that is planned along with the Light Rail better than this proposal? It is covered almost the whole way – after the spring weather we’ve had, that seems more appealing than a three lane cycle highway in the rain.

I didn’t know we were getting a covered bike path next to the Light Rail. That will look a bit ugly won’t it? and surely there would be better infrastructure to put that money into?

Anne Treasure 8:19 am 22 Sep 16

Isn’t the cycle path that is planned along with the Light Rail better than this proposal? It is covered almost the whole way – after the spring weather we’ve had, that seems more appealing than a three lane cycle highway in the rain.

wildturkeycanoe 7:01 am 22 Sep 16

Labor – “We’re going to build a light rail system for 600 million dollars”
Liberals – “How are you going to pay for it? BTW, it’s more like a billion.”
Labor – “It’s going to benefit the whole community, be a boom for development, make us a progressive, futuristic city.”
Liberals – “How much is the relocation of underground services going to cost?”
Labor – “We will expand it to the airport too!”
Liberals – “Bus Rapid Transport is faster and more cost effective, so how do you justify the tram expenditure?”
Labor – “We will revitalize Northbourne Avenue and plant new trees.”
Liberals – “Where’s that underground services survey?”
Labor – “Instead of the airport, we’ll now build another tram link to Woden, maybe even Mawson!”
Liberals – “And how much is that gong to cost?”
Labor – “Melbourne, Sydney and even the Gold Coast has one, why can’t we?”
Liberals – “What about the increased vehicle congestion and travel times?”
Labor – “People can take the tram and ride their bikes!!”
Liberals – “We’d rather spend the money on hospitals and education.”
Labor – “We’ll spend more on hospitals and look how well we’ve done on education already. We’re even giving away free tablets to high schoolers.”
Liberals – “Choke, Snort, cough…..you just slashed $98 million of funding for the Canberra Hospital and how many schools have you closed in the last 10 years?”
Labor – “The tram is going to expand to all of Canberra though.”
Liberals – “In fifty years time maybe. How are you going to pay for it? Rates are already looking to triple, you’ve hit Canberrans with new levies and taxes, increased parking fees, made them pay for their own electricity meters, increased the cost of trade licensing and generally made everything more difficult and more expensive.”
Labor – “But it’s a tram! And it has free wi fi!”
Liberals – “[Groan] Hope Canberrans aren’t dumb enough to keep these guys at the wheel.”

rommeldog56 5:09 pm 21 Sep 16

From the OP : “Both Labor and the Greens have called on the Canberra Liberals to submit details of their plan to Treasury for independent costing.”

This is totally laughable and shows just how arrogant and blinkered ACT Labor/Greens have become. I challenge ACT labor/Greens to submit their costings for tram stage 2 from Civic to Woden, to the “Treasury” for independent costing (independent, but by the ACT Gov’t 1).

Oh, that’s right, silly me. There is no costing for tram stage 2, is there…….

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