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National Arboretum Very Bicycle Unfriendly

gasman 4 February 2013 46

Beautiful weather, last days of the school holidays, decided to take Junior Gasman (aged 9) to the opening weekend of the National Arboretum.

With consideration to health, environment, carbon and fun, we decided to ride our bicycles. From Belconnen to the front gate of the Arboretum, we had bicycle paths and lanes. At the main entrance to the Arboretum, the bike paths and all other bicycle facilities ended.

Junior Gasman managed to ride his bike all the way to the top of the lookout without stopping once. He was very proud of himself – its a steep climb! We had to share to road with cars all the way. There is no bike lane and no bike path. It was somewhat dangerous for us, and very annoying for the cars. There is a thin crumbling shoulder along the road that is not designated as a bike lane, and would not comply with Australian Standards for a bike lane.

At the top, and at the Visitors Centre, there is parking for hundreds of cars, but not a single bike rack. We and the dozens of other cyclists already there had to lean our bikes agains the walls of the Visitors Centre.

Here’s the thing: The Arboretum is the latest and greatest of Canberra’s tourist attractions. It is an outdoor recreation area, perfectly suited to a day’s family cycling. As a society, we are getting fatter, and spewing more carbon into the atmosphere. One simple, healthy and inexpensive way to counter this is to get more people riding bikes. But the planners did not think to make the road just a meter wider and make a proper bike lane. I am hoping that the bike racks are planned, but they haven’t yet been installed.

Lest this become another car vs bike thread, let me point out that for a very inexpensive outlay of a bike lane, the entire complex would benefit both cyclists AND car drivers. It would be better for everybody.

Let me propose a solution, for the cost of just a few signs. By my rough count, about 90% of the cars were choosing to do the 1km loop in an anti-clockwise direction – its the quickest and most direct route to the Visitors Centre. Why not make the loop road clockwise only for cars and anti-clockwise for bikes. That way, cars and bikes have their own lanes, without slowing or being a danger to each other, and still everybody gets to go where they want.

Or is that too simple?


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46 Responses to National Arboretum Very Bicycle Unfriendly
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gasman gasman 7:30 pm 04 Feb 13

gazket said :

I didn’t know the Arboretum was built for cyclists to lap around. what was I thinking.

Either cyclists can’t read, think everyday is Sunday or just don’t give a hoot and think the world revolves around them. I seen many cyclists up there before the opening when there was a sign on the entrance clearly saying NO PUBLIC ENTRY EXCEPT FOR SUNDAY’S.

I’m pretty sure people were told to take the bus to the opening.

That was for Saturday. On Sunday, it was open for all vehicles.

puggy puggy 5:08 pm 04 Feb 13

Antagonist said :

If there is a need for a bike path anywhere in Canberra, it would one that runs from the Botanic Gardens up to the carpark at the base of Telstrayama. Fun for everyone, and a much better chance that some lycra wearing wankers will remove themselves from the gene pool along the way 🙂

Well, there is a path up to the top. It’s called a road! And, there’s more bicycles on it than cars of a weekday lunchtime.

Antagonist Antagonist 4:44 pm 04 Feb 13

Sandman said :

You’ve got Stromlo, Kowen and Majura already. Can’t we have somewhere that I can let my 3 year old run free without worrying about a wanna be Lance Armstrong taking her out?

You said that the bike paths and lanes lead to the main entrance. Lock your bike up there and enjoy walking amongst the trees.

+1. If there is a need for a bike path anywhere in Canberra, it would one that runs from the Botanic Gardens up to the carpark at the base of Telstrayama. Fun for everyone, and a much better chance that some lycra wearing wankers will remove themselves from the gene pool along the way 🙂

dpm dpm 4:39 pm 04 Feb 13

gazket said :

I didn’t know the Arboretum was built for cyclists to lap around. what was I thinking.

Either cyclists can’t read, think everyday is Sunday or just don’t give a hoot and think the world revolves around them. I seen many cyclists up there before the opening when there was a sign on the entrance clearly saying NO PUBLIC ENTRY EXCEPT FOR SUNDAY’S.

I’m pretty sure people were told to take the bus to the opening.

Gee, don’t blow a gasket! Hahahaha!
Serioulsy though, I too hate any group of people that does an activity that I don’t. Ice skaters, hot air balloonists, bungee jumpers, latte drinkers…. They all think the world revolves around them [shakes fist]! If i’m not doing it too, then they’re a menace to my way of life! 🙂

thebrownstreak69 thebrownstreak69 4:39 pm 04 Feb 13

gazket said :

I didn’t know the Arboretum was built for cyclists to lap around. what was I thinking.

Either cyclists can’t read, think everyday is Sunday or just don’t give a hoot and think the world revolves around them. I seen many cyclists up there before the opening when there was a sign on the entrance clearly saying NO PUBLIC ENTRY EXCEPT FOR SUNDAY’S.

I’m pretty sure people were told to take the bus to the opening.

APOSTROPHE ERROR!!!

DCoop DCoop 4:28 pm 04 Feb 13

Sorry Gasman, despite your best intentions, it has unfortunately turned into yet another chance for the bike haters out there to have a grumble.

gazket gazket 4:16 pm 04 Feb 13

I didn’t know the Arboretum was built for cyclists to lap around. what was I thinking.

Either cyclists can’t read, think everyday is Sunday or just don’t give a hoot and think the world revolves around them. I seen many cyclists up there before the opening when there was a sign on the entrance clearly saying NO PUBLIC ENTRY EXCEPT FOR SUNDAY’S.

I’m pretty sure people were told to take the bus to the opening.

Dork Dork 4:05 pm 04 Feb 13

I completely agree Sandman. It also horrifies me a bit that you let your 9 year old ride along the road Gasman.

Sandman Sandman 3:46 pm 04 Feb 13

You’ve got Stromlo, Kowen and Majura already. Can’t we have somewhere that I can let my 3 year old run free without worrying about a wanna be Lance Armstrong taking her out?

You said that the bike paths and lanes lead to the main entrance. Lock your bike up there and enjoy walking amongst the trees.

DCoop DCoop 3:35 pm 04 Feb 13

My partner and I also rode up around the Aboretum on Sunday and it wasn’t a great experience, given the potential it has to be such a great facility for bikes (and everyone else!). It is really unfortunate (and potentially dangerous) that the cycling infrastructure just suddenly disappears on the Aboretum’s doorstep.

I think the one-way traffic is a great idea, for cars and bikes going the same direction though, just widen the driving lane and have a big cycle lane as well (reduces the risk of a nasty head-on collission for any of the steep decents). Mt Annan Botanice Gardens, despite being much larger, is like this and it seems to work well.

Speed limit should be slower too, 20k/h – otherwsie you’re driving to quickly to enjoy the view!

p1 p1 2:51 pm 04 Feb 13

We had to share to road with cars all the way.

Really? I thought I read on the other Arboretum thread that private cars wouldn’t be allowed up there? Surely you were only sharing with infrequent ACTION shuttle buses?

switch switch 2:17 pm 04 Feb 13

Snarky said :

What in god’s name possessed them not to put in a decent width road

Didn’t we all say that about the GDE?

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 1:34 pm 04 Feb 13

Somewhere likely to stay free of the cycle nazi hordes? I may visit after all!

dungfungus dungfungus 12:38 pm 04 Feb 13

tim_c said :

It already cost as much as the budget for the Cotter Dam enlargement!!

Surely it would make more sense for all the traffic to be travelling in the same direction?

I would like to know exactly where you got any costings – the only figures available are that it has cost $67 million and it will cost $3 million a year to maintain. I would estimate that at least double that figure has already been spent. It would be nice to see some details of income and expenditure for the concerts that have been held there as well.
Some people may think I don’t like arboretums. This is not the case as whenever I travel I make it my business to see them and to date, none have been like the concept for the Canberra one. The next arboretum I am planning to see is the one in Devenport, Tasmania.
The point I am making is that the national arboretum was thrust upon us by the whims of a few high powered Canberrans who are not known for being successful in previous ventures that have all been underwritten 100% by ACT ratepayers. Already, it is clear that its design and purpose is not to a lot of people’s liking (it is turning into a theme park) so let’s see some accountability and figures please.

dungfungus dungfungus 12:06 pm 04 Feb 13

Stand by for Pedal Power to get thrown more millions to build bike paths through the arboretum. Soon the trees will have to go to make way for all the facilities and bike paths. When is the five star resort and conference centre going to be built?

Snarky Snarky 11:52 am 04 Feb 13

Totally agree with Gasman.

I’d actually ridden up the top a few times before the opening – in my innocence I attributed the complete lack of bicycling infrastructure to the fact it wasn’t yet ready and open to the public. Yet on a ride up on Sunday – nothing’s changed. What in god’s name possessed them not to put in a decent width road with a bike lane when they were building the friggin’ thing? On Sunday there were at least 18 bikes propped up along the Village Centre entry wall – no provision there or in the car park (the obvious wide open space) for a bike rack or two.

I’ve emailed canberraconnect asking if there will actually be something put in and will report back with their response. Fair dinkum – the arboretum itself is great and the Village Centre is a stunning building. I’d love to know who the clown was that signed off on the road plan.

dpm dpm 11:45 am 04 Feb 13

tim_c said :

It already cost as much as the budget for the Cotter Dam enlargement!!

Cotter dam enlargement > $400m:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-12-14/cotter-dam-reaches-high-heights/4429052

Arboretum: ~67m:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/insurance-policy-leaves-arboretums-star-attractions-exposed-20130130-2dlk4.html

?

tim_c tim_c 11:29 am 04 Feb 13

It already cost as much as the budget for the Cotter Dam enlargement!!

Surely it would make more sense for all the traffic to be travelling in the same direction?

Kim F Kim F 11:19 am 04 Feb 13

I walked there from the other Arboretum. It isn’t very pedestrian friendly either.

grump grump 11:02 am 04 Feb 13

yes

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