23 August 2019

No footpath from Mitchell light rail stop leaves pedestrians stranded

| Lachlan Roberts
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Flemington Road

Pedestrians are being forced to walk along the side of Flemington Road. Photo: Daniel Livesay.

Pedestrians are being forced to walk along the on-road bike paths down Flemington Road during peak hour traffic to get to their workplace in Mitchell, as the industrial suburb waits for its own light rail stop.

Daniel Livesey rides the light rail to and from his workplace in Mitchell each weekday, hopping off at the nearest stop at Well Station Drive, which is 1.2 kilometres from his place of work on Flemington Road.

With no nearer light rail stop, he is forced to wait for a bus to take him into Mitchell or walk a kilometre down Flemington Road. But with no footpath down Flemington Road since the construction of the light rail route, he and other pedestrians are forced to use on-road bike paths to make their way to Mitchell.

Mr Livesay said the 1.2-kilometre trek during peak hour traffic is inconvenient and at times dangerous.

“Since the light rail began operating in April, Transport Canberra has not provided safe access from the EPIC and Racecourse stop and Well Station Drive stop into Mitchell,” Mr Livesay said.

“This means people have to walk from the stations using the on-road bike paths to make their way into Mitchell.

Mr Livesay does not understand why there is no temporary path. Photo: Lachlan Roberts.

“They have not made it accessible for people to get to Mitchell from either light rail stop. There is no doubt this is unsafe but pedestrians have been left with no alternative.”

Mr Livesay said he has witnessed people of all ages, including parents with prams and young kids, walking on the bike paths against the flow of oncoming morning traffic.

Even when Mr Livesay puts his journey into Transport Canberra’s journey planner, it directs him to get off at Well Station Drive stop and walk down Flemington Road.

“This is the route they are telling people to take on their website,” Mr Livesay said. “I believe it’s only a matter of time until someone is injured due to this situation created by the ACT Government’s poor planning around the light rail project.

“There are people walking in front of me and behind me every morning. There are 400 businesses in Mitchell and they have left us without a light rail stop. All we are asking for is some temporary pathway along that dirt track.”

Mr Livesay wrote to the Transport Minister’s Office in June to highlight the potentially dangerous situation.

The response, by then acting Transport Minister Mick Gentleman, said Transport Canberra and City Services are “currently reviewing the design and construction requirements for a suitable path” on Flemington Road.

This is the route Transport Canberra’s Journey Planner suggests Mr Livesay takes. Photo: Supplied.

Mr Livesay said the response angered him. “When they do this in the city, they put in temporary pathways but Mitchell does not seem to get the same respect,” he said.

“One of the things that makes my blood boil is that they celebrated Rail Safety Week, but they don’t care about people’s safety once they hop off the service.”

A Transport Canberra and City Services spokesperson said the 2019-20 ACT Budget included funding to design and construct a two-kilometre cycling and walking path between Well Station Drive and Randwick Road in Mitchell where the temporary path was installed during light rail construction.

“Design work will commence in the coming months, and we expect construction to begin in mid-2020,” the spokesperson said.

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There seems to be a cycle path. I understand that cycle paths are able to be used by pedestrians.

It’s mentioned in the article: “But with no footpath down Flemington Road since the construction of the light rail route, he and other pedestrians are forced to use on-road bike paths to make their way to Mitchell.”

The point is really safety; as with Heysen Street, there should really be footpaths to ensure safety for pedestrians. But, as always, those on foot are an afterthought to all other transport options.

Shared paths are dual use for cyclists and pedestrians. On road cycle lanes, like these, are for bikes only (road rule 239 refers).

We’ve lived in Weston for almost 49 years and we still do not have a footpath on Heyson Street from Hilder Street to Lyons. It is not unusual to see pedestrians, including many school children, walking up the hill. With people from Wright and Coombs using this route to drive to Woden this road has become quite busy.

ChrisinTurner9:28 am 26 Aug 19

If they forgot to recruit enough bus drivers for the new network you can’t expect them to remember pedestrian access to stations.

Those that are berating the government for not including a stop at Mitchell may wish to do a fact check on their own comments. Apparently the government proposed a Mitchell stop but received flak from Mitchell business owners about having a stop. (not all of them apparently but a significant number). Perhaps the business owners didn’t see themselves using a light rail service and didn’t see the benefit for staff and customers. Bit short sighted of them.

Zoe Morrison11:58 am 28 Aug 19

Actually when the fist plan for the light rail was released Mitchell workers and businesses owners were quick to point out that there was no proposed stop in Mitchell, so the Mitchell Traders Association got together and protested so loudly that the government conceded and added promised to add Mitchell to the planned stops.
Except when the construction was running behind they decided to remove 7 rail stops to speed up the building process…
Theres no prize winners for guessing which was the first stop to quietly be removed from that plan.

On top of that, when the bus system was changed along side the new rail system they removed most of the bus routes that went through Mitchell and now there is NO WAY TO GET TO CIVIC DIRECTLY FROM MITCHELL.
I am not joking. You now have to catch the new Mitchell Bus Loop, which goes from Gungahlin to Mitchell, turns around and goes back to Gungahlin.
So for instance, you drop your car in Mitchell for a service and want to take public transport to Civic, you have one of two options now:
1) Catch the bus in the Wrong Direction back to Gungahlin and THEN take the light rail to Civic
2) Walk the 1.2 kilometres to the nearest light rail stop, to then catch the rail to the city.

Most people don’t live in the city however and will need to catch another one or two busses to get home on top of that.

If you want to try and say they the workers in Mitchell asked for this then YOU might need to be the one to check your facts.

UNBELIEVABLE that Mitchell doesn’t have a rail station. What MASSIVE STUPIDLY led to that. I still can’t believe that happened.
The same that EPIC doesn’t have one. Maybe not stupidly on the same scale, but still really, really stupid.

HiddenDragon5:44 pm 25 Aug 19

Interesting to consider whether this shambles puts the ACT Government in breach of the principles of its own Discrimination Act – particularly section 20 of that Act.

Yep, would love to know the moronic rationale which decided Mitchell shouldn’t have a tram stop.

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