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Light rail extension routes identified

By Michael Reid - 21 July 2016 50

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Canberrans have identified four key routes for the next stage of the light rail network, according to the ACT government.

These were contained in Keeping Canberra Moving: What you have told us, a report from new transport agency Transport Canberra that took feedback from 6,000 residents on the future public transport needs in the ACT.

Planning and land management minister Mick Gentleman, who released the report with Transport and city services minister Meegan Fitzharris on Thursday, said the government had identified the four most popular extension routes based on community consultations:

  • City to the airport along Constitution Avenue then Parkes Way
  • City to the Belconnen town centre along Barry Drive and past Calvary Hospital and the University of Canberra
  • City to the Parliamentary Triangle along either Commonwealth Avenue or Kings Avenue bride
  • City to Mawson via Woden

Labor is aiming to start construction on stage two as soon as work on stage one is finished. The first stage, the 12km line from Gungahlin to the city, is scheduled to be finished by early 2019.

“All four routes would take advantage of key landmarks, cultural institutions, education and health services and increased tourism from international flights, which start in September,” Gentleman said.

“The Woden corridor provides the opportunity to create a north-south ‘spine’ for the city’s transport, and plans released today will look at extending this corridor to the Mawson Group Centre.

“While community consultation examined the corridor to Woden, a short extension to Mawson would provide a great link for the Tuggeranong community to utilise the popular Mawson Park and Ride facility on their daily commute.

“Community consultation also looked at a potential network extension from the city to Kippax. At present the government is investigating the city to the Belconnen town centre section of that corridor, in response to strong support for a route linking two universities, CIT and two hospitals.

“There is an opportunity to extend light rail to Kippax over the longer term, especially when demand in the area grows through developments in West Belconnen.

The minster said the ACT government would undertake a more detailed analysis of all four preferred routes, before making an announcement later this year on the next steps in “developing a city-wide light rail network, with the community’s chosen routes at its core”.

Fitzharris said the message from Canberrans was that they wanted a quicker, more frequent public transport system, and that an expanded light rail network, integrated with more frequent buses and the capital’s walking and cycling network, would make public transport a genuine alternative to driving.

“Whether they’re taking the bus, riding their bike or hopping on the light rail network, every Canberran on public transport takes one more car off the road. This eases congestion and means we don’t become gridlocked like Sydney.

“By the end of this year there will be 400,000 living in Canberra, and in the next 20 years our population is set to increase by a third, with almost 500,000 people to call Canberra home by 2035. We need to start planning now for that future growth, which is why now is the right time to start our light rail network, and look to where it can go next.

“Transport Canberra has now been established to integrate our public transport system. The agency will consider the findings from this report and work with the community to ensure our public transport system meets the needs of our growing city.”

For more information visit: www.transport.act.gov.au

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