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Light rail extension routes identified

By Michael Reid - 21 July 2016 50

light rail artist impression

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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50 Responses to
Light rail extension routes identified
Keijidosha 8:51 pm 23 Jul 16

I notice the indicated routes are ‘preferred corridors’ – there’s no way the Belconnen route is feasible. The grade of College Street is too steep, and I’d almost wager the same for Barry Drive. The extension to Kippax also seems optimistic, and I shudder at the thought of the future West Belconnen development that will be required to justify the route.

Canberra: Going to the dogs since self government.

Arthur Davies 3:51 pm 23 Jul 16

The election is coming up & still the govt will not tell us where the next tram stage be, surely with good planning this should have been known long ago, or is this just more of the secrecy that surrounds their actions?

Some of these routes cross the lake, how is this to occur? I have checked & it is technically impossible to take heavy “light rail” vehicles over the existing bridges without closing a traffic lane each way, this will do wonders for movement over the bridges! But we have not been told this. Do we build more bridges? Where will the cost of these be covered? In the expanded tram budget or be tucked away in a separate item somewhere else?

There are newer faster, cheaper, technologies, coming on line soon, such as autonomous cars. These go door to door so they will serve all Canberrans, not just the 10% that Metro claims (optimistically) if the full system were to be implemented. i.e. everyone would pay for autonomous cars & everyone could use them. For trams everyone pays & 90% are too far from a route for it to be useful, hardly an equitable situation.

Autonomous cars would operate 24/7 “on demand” so time tables would be a thing of the past, they would go door to door & not follow a very restricted route.

The initial capital cost of the stage 1 tram system would pay for around 16,000 autonomous cars, give or take. The cost of a fully implemented system would cover something like 150,000 cars! Given that the cars are a shared asset & we don’t need one each under such a system, that is far more than we would ever need. Autonomous cars would be a cheaper alternative.

These autonomous cars will be operational long before the trams are fully implemented. People will opt for the more convenient system, the tram system will rapidly become a very large stranded asset (probably the only rapid thing about trams).

We surely have far better & more productive ways to spend our scarce money than on a neglected, rusting, redundant rail system, which it is going to become very quickly. The govt has a 20 year contract to run stage 1, it will not be useful for anything like that long, but I am sure the contractor has a clause that will keep us paying for it long after it has ceased to be useful & people no longer use it!

Masquara 3:30 pm 23 Jul 16

The light rail construction joy has begun. Traffic at a crawl down Northbourne today – backed up from the ABC to the traffic registry. Mind you, no warning that would have allowed drivers to take an alternative route. Meegan FitzHarris needs to improve her skills so that her department manage their project better. To have traffic banked up on a Saturday at the very beginning of the tram project is a very, very bad harbinger for the next five years!

gooterz 3:01 pm 23 Jul 16

Rachel Ziv said :

Doesn’t anyone in Tuggeranong need access to this public transport link too? Apparently only the needs of one half of the city are catered for with this plan.

Tuggeranong is in a city of its own. Totally unrelated to canberra.

sportsmum 11:15 am 23 Jul 16

Doesn’t anyone in Tuggeranong need access to this public transport link too? Apparently only the needs of one half of the city are catered for with this plan.

gooterz 12:29 am 23 Jul 16

BunLover said :

None of these will ever be built.

This is just a cynical manipulation of the 97% of Canberra missing out on the $1.1billion white elephant ride, with a dodgy promise that “one day, one day, just be patient and vote for us again…”

But that’s what Canberra thought at the last election where all we were going to do was peddle some money in setting up Captial metro, to do a cross Canberra Network, which then they said was mandated for stage 1.

“Fellas’ we just gotta have some rails down or we’ll get kicked out of office”

So either way you can’t trust the lie, and you can’t trust them not to build the whole network. Either way. The cost of the contract being torn up isn’t worth the cost of the whole network and not being able to afford to live in Canberra.

The thing about Canberra is that once we reach that magic tax mark people will start selling and moving elsewhere. At that point nothing will stop the collapse of the act market. Following that all the public servants will get up and leave as there wont be an employment market. Without the public service Canberra is a ghost town.

Much of Canberra’s income is from public service, we seem to be hedging our income with income derived from building and construction. However if the bottom falls out of the public service then there won’t be housing demand to support the construction industry.

It seems to be a race, either one of two things will happen. Sanity will prevail and we’ll get decent leadership, or the town will end up like Detroit. Population previously 1.6 million now only 0.6 Million.

ungruntled 10:31 pm 22 Jul 16

“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.

Get real Mr Gentleman, & get worthy of your name.

By the time these multi ton monsters make all those stops they’ll be slower than the current buses! Not only that, but the current buses will be being slowed down to try to give the trams space & right of way, & business vehicles (plumbers, builders, ambulances, delivery vans etc), not to mention private vehicles, will have no chance. Metro’s own Impact Statement attests to the fact that traffic will be slowed by the use of the trams.

BTW most of the tram passengers will be ex-bus passengers, not ex-car passengers. You do realise that don’t you? that’s where the tram numbers came from.

If the transport system that is instituted is to work, it has to be better than is currently availble, just as trams were better than horses when they were instituted.

Ian 10:11 pm 22 Jul 16

Masquara said :

From the OP – quoting Mick Gentleman, Labor MLA allegedly representing Tuggeranong :

” ……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. “

So, previously the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t said that Light Rail would extend to Tuggeranong.

It appears not for a long, long time – if ever.

Tuggeranong is just so well represented by its Labor MLAs – hopefully Gentleman will be voted out in October and that will send a message to future MLAs (of what ever persuasion) to properly and effectively represent their constituents,

I doubt that anyone in Tuggeranong who has voted for the current crop of MLA’s will be alive to see the tram get to them. Actually, I doubt it will go south of the lake, ever. The Russell bit might be built after the first stage but I can’t see it going any further.

ungruntled 10:08 pm 22 Jul 16

Kim Huynh said :

Most of these routes make more sense than stage one. However what are the prices?
Light rail would be too inefficient to service a stadium.

Well, we can guess about the prices. The 12km to Gungharlin has gone up to 1.8 Bil (according to the ACT Auditor) – that’s about double where the highest estimate began . . . so take it from there – just double the biggest number they give us & know it will be at LEAST that.

As for too inefficient to service the stadium? Maximum through-put 3,000 people per hour maximum. That’s 4 hours to fill & again to empty the stadium if there are 12,000 people at an event.
Too inefficient to service the Canberra community would state it a bit more accurately I think.

ungruntled 9:28 pm 22 Jul 16

Liberal Democrats said :

What is it about holes that makes some politicians keep digging?

Maybe it is hard for some of them to appreciate developments happening in the rest of the world, such as BMW, with Intel and Mobileye recently announcing they’ll operate a shared fleet of electric self-driving cars as a mobility service by 2021. [ http://bit.ly/29Vwbj7 ] BMW’s R and D budget is over 4 times that of the entire CSIRO, but it still not even in the ‘top 5’ automakers R and D budgets. The money and talent being thrown at commercialising 24×7 mobility-on-demand transport is mind-boggling, and will do for the physical movement of people and goods, what the internet did for ideas and information.

With great road infrastructure, Canberra is best placed of all Australian cities to take advantage of the opportunities for egalitarian, universal, cheap and safe transport, yet some are hell-bent on pursuing an inferior, slow, inconvenient approach completely unsuited to the urban form of Canberra.

Spot on!
Why do we have such uninspired & uninspiring bunch in government?

Masquara 6:13 pm 22 Jul 16

How many billions of dollars are we talking now?

A_Cog 4:37 pm 22 Jul 16

None of these will ever be built.

This is just a cynical manipulation of the 97% of Canberra missing out on the $1.1billion white elephant ride, with a dodgy promise that “one day, one day, just be patient and vote for us again…”

rommeldog56 9:25 am 22 Jul 16

From the OP – quoting Mick Gentleman, Labor MLA allegedly representing Tuggeranong :

” ……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. “

So, previously the ACT Labor/Greens Gov’t said that Light Rail would extend to Tuggeranong. It appears not for a long, long time – if ever.

Tuggeranong is just so well represented by its Labor MLAs – hopefully Gentleman will be voted out in October and that will send a message to future MLAs (of what ever persuasion) to properly and effectively represent their constituents,

gooterz 1:12 am 22 Jul 16

Most of these routes make more sense than stage one. However what are the prices?

Its still far too slow. Canberra should have a fast train to connect the town centres, that only stops at the town centres and maybe one stop halfway between.

Then transport just becomes a matter of getting yourself to a town centre and travelling from there.

Light rail would be too inefficient to service a stadium.

KentFitch 5:16 pm 21 Jul 16

What is it about holes that makes some politicians keep digging?

Maybe it is hard for some of them to appreciate developments happening in the rest of the world, such as BMW, with Intel and Mobileye recently announcing they’ll operate a shared fleet of electric self-driving cars as a mobility service by 2021. [ http://bit.ly/29Vwbj7 ] BMW’s R and D budget is over 4 times that of the entire CSIRO, but it still not even in the ‘top 5’ automakers R and D budgets. The money and talent being thrown at commercialising 24×7 mobility-on-demand transport is mind-boggling, and will do for the physical movement of people and goods, what the internet did for ideas and information.

With great road infrastructure, Canberra is best placed of all Australian cities to take advantage of the opportunities for egalitarian, universal, cheap and safe transport, yet some are hell-bent on pursuing an inferior, slow, inconvenient approach completely unsuited to the urban form of Canberra.

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