London Circuit to be raised as Government moves ahead with light rail Stage 2A

Ian Bushnell 13 September 2019 64

Artist’s impression of the proposed City South station at London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue. Images: Supplied.

The ACT Government plans to kill two birds with one stone by incorporating the raising of London Circuit to connect with Commonwealth Avenue into the next stage of light rail to Commonwealth Park, as part of its ambition to bring the City to Lake Burley Griffin.

The Government announced on Tuesday that Cabinet had approved the business case for Stage 2A and it would now start one-on-one negotiations with the operator of Stage 1, Canberra Metro, for it to design and build the 1.7 km-long project, which remains subject to Commonwealth approval.

It said contracts could be signed as soon as the middle of next year, with construction starting in 2021 and the first passengers boarding in 2024.

But the Government is unable to provide any cost figures due to the coming commercial negotiations with Canberra Metro.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it made sense to continue with the existing operator, which had ‘skin in the game’ and was familiar with the environment.

Stage 2A, from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park, just north of Lake Burley Griffin, is seen as a springboard for the more challenging Stage 2B through the Parliamentary Zone and will include three new stations and add an estimated 2500 to 3000 passengers to the system.

City West, on the corner of Edinburgh Avenue and London Circuit near the ANU, is expected to be the most popular station, with City South servicing the new residential areas of West Basin, and the southern terminus important for major events in Commonwealth Park and by the lake.

The proposed Commonwealth Park Station.

The journey from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park is expected to take six minutes.

Mr Barr said including the raising of London Circuit to create a level intersection was a ‘clever sensible way to achieve two really good urban design outcomes’.

“This London Circuit project now will enable that southern part of the city to be more accessible to people and connect ultimately through a connection over Parkes Way to West Basin,” he said.

“This is bringing the City to the Lake, and also combines our thinking with improved public transport access by aligning the second stage of light rail with that project.”

Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel called it a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect London Circuit with Commonwealth Avenue at the same level to provide an access point for the light rail line but also better connections for walkers and cyclists through to the Acton waterfront.

City Renewal Authority chief Malcolm Snow said the idea, which has been in the National Capital Plan since 2007, had been an aspiration of Government for some time and talked about since the early 2000s.

“The road design dates back to a time when traffic engineers placed priority on cars,” he said. “Successful cities also place priority in the way in which other modes can negotiate and travel around the city, and that’s fundamental particularly to our active waterfront project but also to broader renewal effort for the city centre.”

Mr Steel said the light rail network would need extra rolling stock for the extra leg and the Government would be starting negotiations for four more light rail vehicles.

He said construction would mean disruption to businesses and commuters but the Government was working to minimise this. It has already been engaging with businesses along the route and would ensure that there would be access points for commuters into the city, such as extending Edinburgh Avenue from London Circuit through to Vernon circle.

The corner of Northbourne Avenue and London Circuit.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) referral for Stage 2A will be updated in coming weeks to include the London Circuit project but there had not been any response so far from the Commonwealth on both 2A and 2B.

The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) welcomed the Government’s decision to proceed with Stage 2A and the inclusion of the London Circuit project.

Interim chair Ryan Hemsley said it was good to see action being taken after a few too many delays.

“Commencing construction on the leg between Alinga Street and Commonwealth Park is the first important step towards bringing fast, frequent, reliable and attractive public transport to Canberra’s south, and will help retain the skilled workforce acquired during the construction of Stage One,” he said.

On the London Circuit plan, Mr Hemsley said it was good to see work planned over a decade ago was finally coming to fruition.

“This will be a really good addition to the urban amenity of the city and it finally closes the horseshoe of the city. No longer do you have to go all the way north to go all the way south,” he said.

“This is finally going to make that connection possible for pedestrians and motor vehicles and cyclists.”


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64 Responses to London Circuit to be raised as Government moves ahead with light rail Stage 2A
wottaway wottaway 12:00 am 13 Sep 19

How about killing three birds with the one stone and changing the name of the Circuit while they’re at it. When I first moved to Canberra in Feb. ’66 I couldn’t believe that the main thoroughfare in the centre of the capital city of my country was named London Circuit. And I still can’t. It’s an insult.

Nick Swain Nick Swain 4:36 pm 12 Sep 19

Did I read ‘wooden leg’ or was it Woden leg?

chewy14 chewy14 2:57 pm 12 Sep 19

It’s strange that the business case for this work has been approved but not released.

Oh wait, no it isn’t.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:37 pm 11 Sep 19

Anyone who has sat in Los Angeles traffic will know that people love their cars and had rather sit in their car for hours rather than catch public transport. So attempts to force Canberrans’ cars off Commonwealth Ave are probably doomed to fail.9

    bj_ACT bj_ACT 8:26 pm 12 Sep 19

    Especially when you make Bus network changes that make your trip even slower.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:21 pm 11 Sep 19

The ACT Governmnet has already heavily in debt:

Details of further borrowings raised following the Chief Minister’s recent global infrastructure funding tour are yet to surface. I think enough is enough and some consolidation should made before more vanity infrastructure is committed to.

DJA DJA 3:31 pm 11 Sep 19

Just like there is no stop at EPIC, the diagram above show there is no stop near the Convention Centre. Indeed, the proposed route veers away from the Convention Centre. I accept that a choice must be made, but the visitors to town (those least likely to have a vehicle and the least likely to understand how the bus routes work) perhaps could be serviced a little bit better.

    areaman areaman 10:39 am 12 Sep 19

    Just like there is no stop at EPIC, the diagram above show there is no stop near the Convention Centre

    What are you talking about, there is literally an “EPIC and Racecourse” stop right outside the front gate.

    There are a more people going to City West, New Acton and the ANU everyday than go to the convention centre in a month, hence the path it’s taking. Stage three will be belco to the airport and will go past the convention centre.

    JC JC 1:30 pm 12 Sep 19

    It’s not out the front gate it is 200m down the road! Which is by design of course. But doesn’t stop people lambasting it as being a stupid location for it.

Lyndon Zoukowski Lyndon Zoukowski 3:08 pm 11 Sep 19

Looks great, glad to see an infrastructure vision for the ACT. 🤫👍

JS9 JS9 9:52 am 11 Sep 19

I just don’t understand the need to raise London Circuit. Cutting through all the bull**** spin, all it seems to be about is opening up the current cloverleaf for development – at what cost I wonder…..

One could add 3 and 2 and get 32 and suggest that a buyer for that cloverleaf site is already sorted out… wouldn’t have anything to do with an unsolicited bid for a hotel that suddenly appeared out of the blue just a few weeks before this announcment would it…..

    JC JC 6:58 pm 13 Sep 19

    Yeah think you maths is out.

    The plan to raise the height was put out there some 6+ months back before the Hilton plan and was related to making better use of the adjacent block which is owned by Barry Morris.

Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:47 am 11 Sep 19

So Barr’s determined to lock ratepayers into another huge debt for a track to nowhere if stage 2B not approved weeks before going to a 2020 election? Another politician who should be in gaol like Napthine for signing Victoria up to a $3b contract weeks before an election. No wonder Barr’s dragging his feet on his promised ACT ICAC.

Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:10 am 11 Sep 19

I am surprised none of the haters have notice the overhead wires in the render and got their knickers in a knot over it.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 8:09 am 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright you didn’t notice the lack of traffic lights. Russian roulette for 3 lanes of traffic?

    PS - what a farce if overhead wires go to end of stage 2 and you then need to change Trams to go any further.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:44 am 11 Sep 19

    Colin Vivian there are traffic lights. Euro style.

    As for the overhead must admit it makes sense to run it on the north side of the lake.

    What I found interesting is talk has been is the next stage was meant to be wire free from the current terminus to Adelaide Ave bit the render shows wires.

    Now I am not silly enough to think the render is a reflection this has changed just thought it amusing.

    Ps regardless of where wire free starts there will be no need to change. The current trams are designed to have the battery pack simply dropped in.

    Colin Vivian Colin Vivian 9:26 am 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright I also found it amusing that they can suddenly paint the concrete green when it reaches Commonwealth Ave but Northbourne is an ugly concrete scar. Let’s just hope the artists rendering is more accurate than West Basin consultation that showed a grassed walkway over Parkes Way and Aquatic centre. Both of which have now disappeared.

    Does that explain the relative lack of space in the carriages? Floor raised for batteries? I’m also surprised as someone on the project team rang me early on to explain that the reason they couldn’t choose wireless Trams for stage 1 was that there was only one manufacturer and it wouldn’t be competitive if they specified that.

maxblues maxblues 1:13 am 11 Sep 19

Only 1.7km…no competitive process…and the ratepayers don’t need to know how much it will cost. Sounds like something a communist country would do.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:21 pm 10 Sep 19

Before they raise London Circuit they will have to raze London Circuit and judging by the report in Sunday’s Canberra Times that sales of Canberra apartments have collapsed 28% in the six months to June 2019 compared to the same time last year there simply won’t be any money for this or any further light rail expansion as revenue will dry up rapidly.

Strange how this damning report comes just one week after Standard and Poors gave another glowing AAA report to the ACT economy.

Larissa Watson Larissa Watson 8:37 pm 10 Sep 19

Brendan Bisa have fun 😏

Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 7:41 pm 10 Sep 19

This pic is rather confusing at the ramp to the parkway using visible, and the London Circuit ramp looks just the same as we have now, cannot see where they’ve raised it . . . Guess it’s all smoke and mirrors . . . 🤪😩🤪😩

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:09 am 11 Sep 19

    Denise Wilson either side of that ramp is where it is filled to bring the land up to the same height as the ramp. In the pic that land looks like grass with snow on it.

    Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 1:22 pm 11 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright interesting . . . From what I’ve read the grassy bits of the last two ramps have been earmarked for more apartments so not sure what raising London will do you those plans . . . Personally as a city apartment resident I’m not sure why we need more as the latest sales information suggests there has been a dramatic fall in sales of them . . .

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:22 pm 12 Sep 19

    Denise Wilson when you said ramp I thought you were talking about the one down from commonwealth Ave to London cct near the QT hotel. I believe the fill will basically follow the slope of that and fill in London cct under commonwealth Ave.

    You are right the clover leaf ramps are going and yes the plan was to build on them.

    Though just because they do this doesn’t mean the land needs to or will be built on soon. Who knows by the time it is all ready the market may have picked up again. Forward planning.

    Denise Wilson Denise Wilson 4:55 pm 12 Sep 19

    Ashley Wright your right, who knows how long it may take, but it feels like we live in a dust bowl with constant construction happening around our building and city, which is starting to affect our health and I’m not sure we want to be here when these new things commence. As a born and bred Canberran it’s hard to see the bush capital of old . . . I’m not sure we’d find a buyer for our place so we could leave either . . . .

gooterz gooterz 7:37 pm 10 Sep 19

Lack of competitive process. No guarantee this deal wasn’t worked out behind closed doors with stage one. (Build stage 1 cheap and we’ll just extend to stage 2.)

Lack of design for the rest of the woden leg and facing not winning government.
THe fact they are trying to rush this through shows they need to complete the deal and admit defeat at the next election.

The writing is on the wall. What will Barr do next?

    areaman areaman 10:46 pm 10 Sep 19

    Lack of design for the rest of the woden leg

    have you read the 2a business case? There’s plenty of detail about the design all the way out to Woden.

    JC JC 5:50 am 11 Sep 19

    Lack of competitive process? Have any contracts been let yet? No.

    Lack of designs for extension to Woden? You know that statement is not true. They exist and have been discussed on this forum many many times.

    Election coming yes, but does that mean the government just shuts up shop? No.

James Kidd James Kidd 7:12 pm 10 Sep 19

We will tell them what we want to do and they will do something different!

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 7:03 pm 10 Sep 19

“He said construction would mean disruption to businesses and commuters but the Government was working to minimise this. “

Similar assurances were doubtless given by the NSW Government before the business-killing construction started on their CBD tramline.

Anyway, what’s a bit of collateral damage to other people’s livelihoods when there’s a juicy pre-election gimmick in prospect – “It said contracts could be signed as soon as the middle of next year…”

    JC JC 5:53 am 11 Sep 19

    Look at where the route is going, hardly any business will be effected.

    The problem in Sydney was very narrow roads that relied on on street carparking, or in the CBD foot traffic. Hardly an issue on London circuit is it?

    JS9 JS9 9:59 am 11 Sep 19

    To be honest, there are very few people going to be impacted by this part of the build. There are a few businesses along the western side of London Circuit – but many of them are there to service the office buildings in the area (i.e. primarily cafes etc with a couple of pubs). The Eastern side of London circuit through there is car parking/the courts/the RBA and then the site for the Barracks development and that’s it.

    Compared to stage 1, there won’t be a lot of impact.

Evan Hawke Evan Hawke 6:48 pm 10 Sep 19

I just can’t figure out why Andrew Bar was all about making the link between Gungahlin and the city as fast as possible, and then for the tram from the city to Woden it’s a milk run picking up as many pearls as possibly along the way. It’s going to be faster to ride a bicycle from Woden to the city then catching the tram. Just imagine how much money the tax payer would save on stage two if the tram went around Vernon Circle and then continued along the current bus route to Woden. I’m guessing that the trip would be 15-20minutes faster.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:05 am 11 Sep 19

    Evan Hawke the trip to Gungahlin is not as fast as it could be. Light rail and the buses that replaced them have always been stop start services rather than express like to Woden. If a non stop service was run it could do it in the same time as Woden to City.

    What light rail did though was reduce the peak hour run time of those buses from 40-45 minutes to closer to 25.

    If you want a better analogy to Woden look to Belconnen. Years ago the then 333’s buses to the city took 15 minutes. Their subsequent replacements were then re-routed up College Street and Haydon Drive with extra stops. That change plus the changes in the city near the ANU have cost the service 10 minutes but as you put it it is now picking up and servicing as many pearls on the way as it can. Which for the most part is what public transport is meant to do.

    The changes to Woden will add about the same amount of time for city commuters but for those who work in the triangle it will be a big reduction in time.

    Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 7:46 am 11 Sep 19

    Evan Hawke he owed them for the decade long, single lane 1 road in and out

William William William William 6:44 pm 10 Sep 19

The government all ready has the money that is paid in land taxes has been for past 20 so years back in 1985 when Mitchell was being built they were going to include light rail but every elected party blackmailed the voters in believing they would get it but never ever did was only the get votes

Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 6:44 pm 10 Sep 19

Gawd. Two years of traffic chaos on some of the city's most crucial roads and intersections.

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