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Light rail to cross the lake to Woden next: Greens, ALP

Charlotte Harper 2 September 2016 102

Shane Rattenbury and Andrew Barr

Canberra’s light rail network will be extended by 11km from Civic to Parliament House and along Adelaide Avenue to Woden if Labor or a Labor-Greens coalition is re-elected next month.

Both Labor and the Greens have announced today that they will sign contracts during the next term of Government to extend the line, already slated to run from Gungahlin to Civic, to Woden in the key Legislative Assembly electorate of Murrumbidgee.

Neither Labor nor the Greens have a sitting member among their candidates for Murrumbidgee, though former Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur is running for the seat. The anti-light rail Canberra Liberals Leader Jeremy Hanson and his colleague Giulia Jones are the only sitting MLAs running in the electorate.

The other options previously under consideration for Stage two, Russell and the Canberra Airport, Civic to Belconnen, and Civic to a Parliamentary Triangle loop, remain in the works for the future.

Is Woden via Parliament and Adelaide Ave the right choice for Stage 2 of light rail?

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Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the route to Woden created “a north-south spine” for public transport in the ACT and was one of five priority stages of the planned light rail network, with Gungahlin to the city under construction and extensions to Belconnen, Canberra Airport and further into the Parliamentary Triangle to be built next.

He noted that stage two got the light rail project “across the lake”.

“Buses, bikes, and walking routes and later stages of light rail will feed into this spine, making it even easier for Canberrans to get where they need to go,” Mr Barr said.

Light rail Stage 2 to Woden

Mr Barr said announced recently that almost all ACT public servants working in health-related areas, some 1000 workers, would move to the Woden Town Centre given its proximity to The Canberra Hospital. The Federal Department of Health and Ageing’s central office is also in Woden, along with IP Australia and several smaller Federal agencies.

ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said the second stage to Woden would create a spine that connected the city’s north and south in line with the Greens’ commitment to deliver light rail right across the Territory.

“The Greens are already looking forward to future stages, including actively considering an extension into Mawson.

“There are great benefits in bringing light rail to the south of Canberra, including fantastic opportunities to revitalise the Woden town centre with vibrant urban development that comes with light rail.

“By 2040 we expect thousands more people travelling from Woden towards the City in the morning peak and employment in the Parliamentary Triangle is expected to dramatically increase between now and 2041. The Greens believe that every Canberran should be able to travel to and from work easily, affordably and without having to sit in traffic for hours.

Mr Rattenbury said light rail was about making life in Canberra better so that people didn’t end up stuck in traffic every day, and setting the growing city up for the future.

“The ACT Greens have campaigned for light rail for over ten years, and I am pleased that the Labor Party recognises the benefits that a Canberra-wide light rail network. And who knows, twenty years down the track the Liberals might just come out in support of it too,” the Greens Leader said.

Canberra Liberals transport spokesman Alistair Coe said the announcement today was “further proof” that Mr Barr and the rest of the ACT Labor government were out of touch with the priorities of Canberrans.

“Just like the current proposed route from Gungahlin to the City, this extension to Woden is the wrong direction for Canberra on so many fronts and will continue to drive rates through the roof,” Mr Coe said.

The Shadow Transport Minister noted the extension was “completely uncosted” and said “significant problems getting a tram over Commonwealth Avenue Bridge” were likely to blow out costs.

“Given Canberrans will have to pay $1.78 billion for stage one if ACT Labor is elected, this extension will further push the ACT into dangerous, unchartered financial waters. On a stroke of the pen by Andrew Barr, light rail costs could blow out by billions of dollars and residents will foot the bill,” Mr Coe said.

Pictured are Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury and Labor Leader and Chief Minister Andrew Barr at Majura Solar Farm last week and a map that shows Stage 2, and below, an earlier map showing the contenders for stage two and future potential extensions of the light rail network.

Light rail future


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102 Responses to Light rail to cross the lake to Woden next: Greens, ALP
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Mordd / Chris Richards Mordd / Chris Richards 5:14 pm 04 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

And how much extra fuel, generated using CO2 generating processes, will be required for them to drive all the way home and then back again.

With solar fuel? Zero I guess!

How long till all of Australia is 100% renewables energy only? This might be fine for Canberra, after 2020, but what about everywhere else? Not to mention places overseas. Not the magic bullet it is made out to be.

dungfungus dungfungus 4:53 pm 04 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

And how much extra fuel, generated using CO2 generating processes, will be required for them to drive all the way home and then back again.

With solar fuel? Zero I guess!

They will need a long extension cord for cloudy days and nigh time, then.

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 4:42 pm 04 Sep 16

Paul Costigan said :

Bring on the tram. Let there be loads more.
Yes to the tram to Woden – and elsewhere in good time.

I know people who bought a house near the proposed Woden line ages ago – as it was mentioned way back then as a possibility. Till this announcement they thought they would see the fast train and a have a jet pack well before they saw the tram near their house – so they are very happy about the prospect of the tram to Woden.

We also share the skeptical view that anything from a politician in election mode could be later a non-core promise. So fingers crossed that this was not another thought bubble and that we will see more trams across Canberra sooner rather than later.

Now about my Jet-pack? Who is going to make that an election promise?

Those Woden line folk might be wanting to re-cork the champagne when the “value capture” levies get added to their already rapidly growing rates:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/printArticle?id=1012899728

and when they find that the parkland/bushland/playing fields near them are replaced by five storey apartments, occupied by people who might, sometimes, use the tram, but more likely will be whizzing back and forth in their 4WDs to places that the tram will never take them.

KentFitch KentFitch 1:55 pm 04 Sep 16

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

Maya123 said :

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

That can be managed. Driverless cars don’t need metres in front and behind, and they will all take off from the lights at the same time. Driverless cars I would think would at least halve road space taken.

If they are privately owned they will still need areas to park. Okay, perhaps they could let the passengers off and then go park themselves very close to each other and so require less room each than present cars to park. But with the population continuing to increase this advantage will soon be negated and we will no doubt need more parking areas. Owners of the cars will also want them to park nearby so that when they decide they want their car they don’t have to wait for it to drive too far to them.
With the fast increasing population any advantage the cars have with being able to drive close to each other and so take up less room, will also be negated, whether the car is privately or publicly owned. I imagine most people will want their own car; not have to share.

This is 100% spot on. It is the same as adding more road lanes for existing cars, it doesn’t take long for the excess capacity to fill again and then we need more lanes, again, a never ending cycle.

Driverless cars are 1 part of an integrated solution, which also involves light rail and buses and better walkability and riding access in general for all. They are not the magic bullet some people make them out to be. 20-30 years is the more realistic estimate of mass adoption of driverless cars. Yes *some* will exist in 6 years from now, but they will be a tiny fraction overall. We will not have MASS adoption in 6 years, that’s pie in the sky dreaming right there. We need light rail AND driverless cars, they are not mutually exclusive in any way. Think CO2 generation, all those cars have to be powered somehow, and apparently we are going to have a lot more of them than current cars. Sure they will all run on electricity, produced using fossil fuels from dirty sources like coal mining. Light Rail massively reduces CO2 generation for moving the same amount of people the same distance. Thinking driverless cars will replace public transport is about as realistic as Mexico paying for Trump’s wall.

You may be right, but then an awful lot of transport experts (CEO’s of Ford, GM, Audi, Toyota, BMW, Daimler, Volvo, Tesla, Honda, plus transport analysts at bankers, management consultants, plus researchers at Columbia, MIT, Stanford, CMU, plus governments of Singapore, UK, USA, …) are all wrong. Even the ACT’s senior tram consultant, Parsons  Brinckerhoff, are busy telling UK authorities to start planning transport systems for autonomous cars now, to reap the benefits of much safer local roads”, “better quality of townscape with more space for pedestrian activity”, “less cluttered streets”, “enormous potential for land value uplift” and, with a shared fleet of autonomous vehicles, “much reduced congestion and smoother traffic flow”, all with “no need for major infrastructure investment”: http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf

For a bibliography see http://canberraautonomouscars.info/#related

I understand the rate of change is hard to understand: supercomputers in people’s pockets, usable video calling, on-demand streaming of TV, cloud computing – these were “pie in the sky” ten years ago, but here they are.

This is a long video, but it conveys the depth of work that has gone on to enable autonomous cars to get to where they are now, and the incredible progress that has been made in the last few years: https://vimeo.com/180667687

KentFitch KentFitch 1:42 pm 04 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Maya123 said :

Masquara said :

Curiouser and curiouser. One of the Labor candidates – a transport expert apparently – told me at the shops that she thinks “driverless cars” will probably be the norm within 15 years. I had nominated 6 years. Deferring to her expertise, that means that all that massive disruption for a static, inflexible light rail line may well be redundant just when we finish paying for the first stage. (Who is going to walk “last-mile” to a light rail station when we have the convenience of driverless cars?) It’s actually looking more and more as though the cost of letting the Liberals cancel the thing might end up looking like sensible expenditure. Her further argument to my cars speculation was that “poor people won’t be able to afford driverless cars, so we’ll need the light rail to look after them”. So it sounds as though Labor plan to rely on fares from “poor people who can’t afford a car” to maintain the cost of light rail in 15 years’ time. Furthermore (scrabbling for positives) the candidate said that light rail was more convenient for people in wheelchairs than buses are. I’m all for looking after the disabled – but seriously, surely we could provide ALL wheelchair-bound people in the ACT with their own modified cars without making a dent in the savings from cancelling the light rail.

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

I’m so glad you said that because I can’t see where the breakthrough or advantage is with this concept. I thought it was just me, already half senile.
Could someone please explain what the big deal is?

Sure DF: If, rather than driverless cars being privately owned, tax or other financial incentives strongly encourage use of a shared fleet of cars, and if those cars are shared in peak periods (that is, contain 2 or more people with common or on-route source and destination), then congestion is indeed greatly reduced, even in cities with strong “tidal” commuter flows (into city in AM, back to suburbs in the PM).

Yes, there is repositioning of empty cars (from city to suburbs in the AM to pick up the next wave of commuters), but they are only empty in proportion to the lack of demand for travel (traffic) on that back-route.

With each car in the peak flow carrying 2 or 3 people (rather than the typical 1.2 person occupancy), congestion on the peak route is reduced.

For a configurable web simulation of the operation of a shared fleet of autonomous cars in Canberra, see http://canberraautonomouscars.info/

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 1:05 pm 04 Sep 16

If the tram is going to service all the people along the line, from Woden to Civic, it has to stop every 500m or so to pick up and drop off passengers. This will make the trip take longer than an express bus or a private car. People will only take public transport if it gets them to and from work on time, we are an impatient bunch who can’t sit around all day waiting for stuff to happen, we want it now. So if buses are replaced by the tram and trams can’t overtake each other on the one line, then there will be no rapid transport anymore – except by private vehicle. Who is going to start their journey 30 minutes earlier thanks to the tram? Who is going to be able to make their work let them leave 30 minutes earlier so they can get home at the same time as they used to do via bus?
Trams are not a suitable transport solution for time-starved workers. They will ditch public transport for the convenience of a car, so they don’t have to walk so far to catch their public transport and regain those lost minutes stopping and starting to pick up and drop off other patrons. BRT seems like such a better option, plus transit lanes…but nobody in government is listening.

Masquara Masquara 10:46 am 04 Sep 16

Mordd / Chris Richards said :

And how much extra fuel, generated using CO2 generating processes, will be required for them to drive all the way home and then back again.

With solar fuel? Zero I guess!

Garfield Garfield 8:20 am 04 Sep 16

Paul Costigan said :

Bring on the tram. Let there be loads more.
Yes to the tram to Woden – and elsewhere in good time.

I know people who bought a house near the proposed Woden line ages ago – as it was mentioned way back then as a possibility. Till this announcement they thought they would see the fast train and a have a jet pack well before they saw the tram near their house – so they are very happy about the prospect of the tram to Woden.

We also share the skeptical view that anything from a politician in election mode could be later a non-core promise. So fingers crossed that this was not another thought bubble and that we will see more trams across Canberra sooner rather than later.

Now about my Jet-pack? Who is going to make that an election promise?

Jet Packs are coming – but probably not as election promises. Martin Jetpacks are scheduled to start selling first responder jetpacks around the end of this year and their first personal jetpacks around a year later. Another company I looked at seems to still be in development, but has a smaller & lighter jetpack that may be good for getting people to & from work. I expect price to be rather prohibitive at the moment, but as the technology matures, that will come down.

By the time light rail in Canberra is actually economically viable, there may be no need for it. As the government knew for certain back in 2013, rapid buses are a much better option, providing almost the same transport benefits for less than half the cost.

dungfungus dungfungus 7:59 am 04 Sep 16

Paul Costigan said :

Bring on the tram. Let there be loads more.
Yes to the tram to Woden – and elsewhere in good time.

I know people who bought a house near the proposed Woden line ages ago – as it was mentioned way back then as a possibility. Till this announcement they thought they would see the fast train and a have a jet pack well before they saw the tram near their house – so they are very happy about the prospect of the tram to Woden.

We also share the skeptical view that anything from a politician in election mode could be later a non-core promise. So fingers crossed that this was not another thought bubble and that we will see more trams across Canberra sooner rather than later.

Now about my Jet-pack? Who is going to make that an election promise?

Gee Paul, just when I thought you were getting through to me you have tramsmogrified into a transit hipster.

Paul Costigan Paul Costigan 10:59 pm 03 Sep 16

Bring on the tram. Let there be loads more.
Yes to the tram to Woden – and elsewhere in good time.

I know people who bought a house near the proposed Woden line ages ago – as it was mentioned way back then as a possibility. Till this announcement they thought they would see the fast train and a have a jet pack well before they saw the tram near their house – so they are very happy about the prospect of the tram to Woden.

We also share the skeptical view that anything from a politician in election mode could be later a non-core promise. So fingers crossed that this was not another thought bubble and that we will see more trams across Canberra sooner rather than later.

Now about my Jet-pack? Who is going to make that an election promise?

Mordd / Chris Richards Mordd / Chris Richards 8:32 pm 03 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

If they are privately owned they will still need areas to park. Okay, perhaps they could let the passengers off and then go park themselves very close to each other and so require less room each than present cars to park.

: ) They’ll be able to toddle off anywhere – even back home to park for the day. It will be so liberating to have the convenience of using a car door to door without threatening the environment … or paying for parking …

And how much extra fuel, generated using CO2 generating processes, will be required for them to drive all the way home and then back again. Who will wait 15-30 mins in peak traffic for their car to get back to them from home. All these extra trips will require way more fuel used. They need to park nearby or it doesn’t work. Yet another reason that driverless cars replacing all existing cars and public transport is a complete fallacy.

Mordd / Chris Richards Mordd / Chris Richards 8:28 pm 03 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

That can be managed. Driverless cars don’t need metres in front and behind, and they will all take off from the lights at the same time. Driverless cars I would think would at least halve road space taken.

If they are privately owned they will still need areas to park. Okay, perhaps they could let the passengers off and then go park themselves very close to each other and so require less room each than present cars to park. But with the population continuing to increase this advantage will soon be negated and we will no doubt need more parking areas. Owners of the cars will also want them to park nearby so that when they decide they want their car they don’t have to wait for it to drive too far to them.
With the fast increasing population any advantage the cars have with being able to drive close to each other and so take up less room, will also be negated, whether the car is privately or publicly owned. I imagine most people will want their own car; not have to share.

This is 100% spot on. It is the same as adding more road lanes for existing cars, it doesn’t take long for the excess capacity to fill again and then we need more lanes, again, a never ending cycle.

Driverless cars are 1 part of an integrated solution, which also involves light rail and buses and better walkability and riding access in general for all. They are not the magic bullet some people make them out to be. 20-30 years is the more realistic estimate of mass adoption of driverless cars. Yes *some* will exist in 6 years from now, but they will be a tiny fraction overall. We will not have MASS adoption in 6 years, that’s pie in the sky dreaming right there. We need light rail AND driverless cars, they are not mutually exclusive in any way. Think CO2 generation, all those cars have to be powered somehow, and apparently we are going to have a lot more of them than current cars. Sure they will all run on electricity, produced using fossil fuels from dirty sources like coal mining. Light Rail massively reduces CO2 generation for moving the same amount of people the same distance. Thinking driverless cars will replace public transport is about as realistic as Mexico paying for Trump’s wall.

TuggLife TuggLife 8:23 pm 03 Sep 16

chewy14 said :

TuggLife said :

This makes my head hurt. It terminates at Canberra Hospital, rather than the more populous town centre? Why? And it comes days after announcing a comprehensive bus network encompassing Woden. Why isn’t it a more integrated strategy?

I’m not 100% in agreement with the current works, but at least the current route links high density housing, a town centre that is otherwise poorly connected, and provides transport options to an industrial area.

We need a link between Civic and the Airport.

Where did you find that it stops at the hospital? There’s nothing in the article and the map shows it stopping at the town centre so it can eventually be extended down Athllon drive.

Whoops, my bad, I’m totally wrong.

rommeldog56 rommeldog56 7:56 pm 03 Sep 16

Masquara said :

We will all look back at the Labor expert contractors’ “Yeah but light rail is funky” rationale and wish we had voted Labor out an election prior

This is probably a water shed election for the ACT. If Labor/Greens arn’t shown the door in October – with their 13+ year track record including up to tripling Annual Rates. the new levies, hopeless fiscal priority setting, the worst hospital debacle, opposition to an ICAC, the Tram, etc, then it just isn’t going to happen after that. They will be in Government here forever.

Masquara Masquara 7:30 pm 03 Sep 16

Maya123 said :

If they are privately owned they will still need areas to park. Okay, perhaps they could let the passengers off and then go park themselves very close to each other and so require less room each than present cars to park.

: ) They’ll be able to toddle off anywhere – even back home to park for the day. It will be so liberating to have the convenience of using a car door to door without threatening the environment … or paying for parking …

Maya123 Maya123 7:15 pm 03 Sep 16

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

That can be managed. Driverless cars don’t need metres in front and behind, and they will all take off from the lights at the same time. Driverless cars I would think would at least halve road space taken.

The road rules regarding vehicle separation would have to change to allow that to happen.

Also to add and which I should have put in my last entry is that there will still be driver driven cars out there, so the distances between cars can’t change for safety’s sake.

gooterz gooterz 7:08 pm 03 Sep 16

Driverless cars. So startrek and all the delivery companies wont need drivers anymore. Itd be cheaper to order food online. Ready made meals delivered. No more cold chinese food. An automated uber network would be cheaper than the bus network.
Door to door automated from a phone.

Id rather act government invest 500 million in driverless car R&D than on light rail.

Make ACT the test zone for it. Were basically a perfect size and perfect fit for it.

Masquara Masquara 6:36 pm 03 Sep 16

HiddenDragon said :

The Labor/Green approach to rates and car registration will ensure a steady increase in the numbers of “poor people who can’t afford a car” – so that would help with tram patronage……..

And of course, after taking technological advancements into the equation too late, they will attempt to front-load the payments by charging an absolute faaaaartune in fares in the early stage, so that the hipster fares they will only get on board until driverless cars come in, will pay off as much of the debt as possible, before light rail becomes the “poor people’s option” rather than the “hipster cachet option”. Then, they’ll cut back on services, so that the “poor people who can’t afford driverless cars, and the people in wheelchairs” our goodly candidate referred to, will be waiting at the station for infrequent trains. We will all look back at the Labor expert contractors’ “Yeah but light rail is funky” rationale and wish we had voted Labor out an election prior. Furthermore, the Labor candidate/transport expert said she doesn’t think light rail is a priority at the airport “because there is already a bus service to the airport”. Huh????? There’s “already a bus service down Northbourne”, right? Labor are just plucking nonsense out of the air because they can’t tell us the truth: “stage 2 decision” is just a clumsy pork-barrelling attempt aimed at disenchanted Woden voters. (BTW – anyone remember Sydney’s Skyrail?)

dungfungus dungfungus 5:50 pm 03 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

That can be managed. Driverless cars don’t need metres in front and behind, and they will all take off from the lights at the same time. Driverless cars I would think would at least halve road space taken.

The road rules regarding vehicle separation would have to change to allow that to happen.

Maya123 Maya123 5:39 pm 03 Sep 16

Masquara said :

Maya123 said :

The problem with driverless cars is that they don’t take up any less road room than present day cars.

That can be managed. Driverless cars don’t need metres in front and behind, and they will all take off from the lights at the same time. Driverless cars I would think would at least halve road space taken.

If they are privately owned they will still need areas to park. Okay, perhaps they could let the passengers off and then go park themselves very close to each other and so require less room each than present cars to park. But with the population continuing to increase this advantage will soon be negated and we will no doubt need more parking areas. Owners of the cars will also want them to park nearby so that when they decide they want their car they don’t have to wait for it to drive too far to them.
With the fast increasing population any advantage the cars have with being able to drive close to each other and so take up less room, will also be negated, whether the car is privately or publicly owned. I imagine most people will want their own car; not have to share.

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