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.
“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.
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.