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Northbourne does not need to be completely dug up

By johnboy 12 July 2013 31

This morning the Canberra Times had a story so reeking of the pungent stench of BS that it didn’t seem to even warrant a reply:

The construction of the first stage of the Capital Metro light rail network will require all of the road surface on Northbourne Avenue to be dug up and replaced.

The project would also require the installation of new electricity substations every 2 kilometres along the 12-kilometre route from Civic to Hibberson Street in Gungahlin.

Sadly for Shane Rattenbury he feels the need to respond:

Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, has confirmed that the Capital Metro light rail project will not “require all of the road surface on Northbourne Avenue to be dug up and replaced”.

“Today’s media commentary on light rail and Northbourne Avenue referred to a transport options study from over a year ago. The project update released by the Government in September last year presented a revised proposal that did not require the complete digging up of Northbourne Avenue,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“The revised proposal changed the design, reduced the costs and retained the existing road and verge widths. The median alignment will minimise traffic disruption.


UPDATE: Meanwhile Alistair Coe is concerned about the lack of detail surrounding the wild election promise:

“The Government claims to have based its decision to construct light rail on a Concept Report produced last year.

“However, the Concept Report is very light on details and by no means comprehensive enough to justify spending ‘$700 – $860 million’ on light rail.

“The Government is treating the Concept Report as a ‘tick of approval’ for light rail.

“However, even the report’s assessment of light rail is ‘…there is no benefit or harm.’ (URS Australia, page 30)

“If the Government has based their decision to build light rail on this report, then taxpayers should be very concerned.

“The Government should release the scope of the report given to the authors and any other documents used to influence their decision to spend so much money on light rail,” concluded Mr Coe.

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
Northbourne does not need to be completely dug up
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davo101 12:30 pm 16 Jul 13

dungfungus said :

If LRT or BRT is chosen for the median strips, major excavation and relocation of utilities and data services will be required. As admitted by Capital Metro, the cost will be in the vicinity of $200m for the Northbourne Avenue section alone.
Axle loadings for a typical LRT tram are simlar to those on an ACTION bus so both will require a new road built to the required specification (for the entire length of the proposed track).

Still doesn’t change the fact that the LRT option is $340 million dollars more expensive than the BRT option or the fact that the BRT option has a BCR more than twice that of the LRT option.

dungfungus 5:44 pm 15 Jul 13

Thumper said :

Frankly, I’d rather see light rail go out to the airport rather than Gungahlin. I mean, seriously, what sort of hick town do we live in when there is no public transport going to and from the airport to the CBD?

And besides, there still remains the extremely valid question, what about the rest of Canberra?

Have you ever tried to carry a couple of suitcases on and of a tram or train that is predominantly full of commuters? It isn’t practical, besides if you are arriving in Canberra and you need to go anywhere but the city you will need a taxi.
Trams are for commuters, not travellers.

JC 5:42 pm 15 Jul 13

Thumper said :

Frankly, I’d rather see light rail go out to the airport rather than Gungahlin. I mean, seriously, what sort of hick town do we live in when there is no public transport going to and from the airport to the CBD?

And besides, there still remains the extremely valid question, what about the rest of Canberra?

The reason there is no Action bus service to the airport, or more correctly to the airport terminal (because there are buses to the office area) is because the airport owner won’t allow it, because he has no way of making money of it. Instead he allows some private bus company to run a premium cost service, taking his cut of course and Action are banned from the terminal. No doubt light rail would be the same, unless of course he got his way and had a fast train terminal to go with light rail.

As for light rail and the rest of Canberra, you need to start somewhere and frankly the Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road corridor is the most densely populated corridor in Canberra. So why would you start somewhere else?

What I think a lot of people fail to grasp is light rail is not designed like the old 333 buses where you get a feeder bus to the interchange and then an express, light rail in this case to town, the light rail is designed to service those that live along the route. So if you live in Bonner (for example) or any of the suburbs not along the route, light rail offers very little, unless of course they build a big park and ride somewhere near Mitchell and you choose to drive to there rather than drive to the city or get a slow bus to the town centre and change.

So put that into the wider perspective the route from the City to Belconnen has next to zero in terms of human population along the route, it has lots of roos thanks to all that bushland. Now yeah it does have the bit of Bruce near the hospital and of course the students, but they would generate bugger all traffic in the grand scheme of things. There is also no development options to increase that density either.

Going to Woden there is Commonwealth Ave, sure it is a major work and tourist destination but zero residential. It may make sense to run the Northborne Ave line over the bridge then towards Barton, but only for the worker traffic. But going towards Woden the route then flows onto Adelaide Ave, which may well have some houses on the route, but the number in walking distance is bugger all.

Then from Woden to Tuggeranong exactly the same, a few house close, but no where near the density to justify frequent light rail.

Other than Northborne/Flemmington Road corridor the only other corridor that will have the population density to support something like light rail is through Molonglo, though I have noticed unlike Flemmington Road the median strip along John Gorton Drive has been built very narrow, so looks like they haven’t really allowed for light rail in the future, which is a shame for a green fields development. Though of course the issue for Molonglo with light rail is where would you take it? Maybe a bit far from the City, so that leaves Woden and in the future Belconnen, in which case buses may be the better option there anyway.

dungfungus 5:39 pm 15 Jul 13

davo101 said :

damien haas said :

dungfungus said :

So far, Labor’s investigations are clearly showing light rail is not viable. The options won’t even need to be considered. Labor deserve to be “shit canned” for their poor handling of this fiasco.

You may find your spare time usefully employed reading the reports. They show the opposite of what you claim. The URS report states quite clearly that ‘Light rail transit generates the best overall outcome for Canberra’.

I think you’re suffering from Corbell Coe syndrome where the afflicted fails to use complete quotes from documents. The URS report does conclude that “BRT is a cost-effective option, whilst LRT generates the best overall outcome for Canberra”, but if you look at the detail this is referring to the kerbside LRT option which they rate as +6 stars. However the median LRT option is rated 0 stars and is described as “therefore no overall benefit or harm” and is beaten by the BRT option which has a score of +5 stars.

If LRT or BRT is chosen for the median strips, major excavation and relocation of utilities and data services will be required. As admitted by Capital Metro, the cost will be in the vicinity of $200m for the Northbourne Avenue section alone.
Axle loadings for a typical LRT tram are simlar to those on an ACTION bus so both will require a new road built to the required specification (for the entire length of the proposed track).

watto23 4:37 pm 15 Jul 13

My concern with the proposed light rail is that I suspect many users are expecting different things from the system. Some will want direct non stop runs from Gungahlin to the City and others will want regular stops, eg, approx 1 or 2km spacing (my preference) and others will want something in between.

I agree, i still believe the biggest reason people don’t catch public transport, is because it takes too long. Just look at the idiots in cars to realise some people want to save 2 minutes a day by driving fast.
The design appears to be a replacement for the bus, which IMO is not the issue. I’d be happy if we had rapid bus lanes that bypassed lights and intersections. The light rail proposal doesn’t address this and unless lights are synced to allow trams through (I don’t mean go first after a red light), i can’t see this being a huge improvement.

Thumper 3:43 pm 15 Jul 13

Frankly, I’d rather see light rail go out to the airport rather than Gungahlin. I mean, seriously, what sort of hick town do we live in when there is no public transport going to and from the airport to the CBD?

And besides, there still remains the extremely valid question, what about the rest of Canberra?

davo101 3:19 pm 15 Jul 13

damien haas said :

dungfungus said :

So far, Labor’s investigations are clearly showing light rail is not viable. The options won’t even need to be considered. Labor deserve to be “shit canned” for their poor handling of this fiasco.

You may find your spare time usefully employed reading the reports. They show the opposite of what you claim. The URS report states quite clearly that ‘Light rail transit generates the best overall outcome for Canberra’.

I think you’re suffering from Corbell Coe syndrome where the afflicted fails to use complete quotes from documents. The URS report does conclude that “BRT is a cost-effective option, whilst LRT generates the best overall outcome for Canberra”, but if you look at the detail this is referring to the kerbside LRT option which they rate as +6 stars. However the median LRT option is rated 0 stars and is described as “therefore no overall benefit or harm” and is beaten by the BRT option which has a score of +5 stars.

gungsuperstar 5:38 pm 13 Jul 13

dungfungus said :

gungsuperstar said :

dungfungus said :

damien haas said :

http://www.actlightrail.info/2013/07/alistair-coe-on-wrong-track.html

ACT Light Rail would ask the Canberra Liberals “What is your alternative public transport policy?”

With respect Damien you are starting to sound like a federal Labor politician saying to the opposition “show us yer policies, duh”.

Your parody of a conservative is coming along quite nicely.

How dare citizens want the alternate government to have alternate policies that they will tell us about!

dungfungus said :

(it got Labor returned even though the Liberals got more votes)

This is my favourite stupid line repeated by conservatives (or those doing a parody of them) – across the ACT the Libs got 41 more votes than Labor. 41.

http://www.elections.act.gov.au/elections_and_voting/past_act_legislative_assembly_elections/2012_act_legislative_assembly_election/2012_election_results2/2012_results_by_electorate_and_by_party

And guess what? We live in a democracy operating under a Westminster system where total votes don’t matter!

If you want Government, negotiate to get it. Almost 500 pieces of legislation passed in the past 3 years of minority Federal Government, a record, proves that you can actually use cross benchers to get better policy!

It’s worth noting that in this Federal example, the LNP have voted with the government on about 85% of legislation.

If you want to use total votes as being any sort of measure of validity, I would note that in Gininderra and Molonglo, the electorates affected by the light rail project, the Labor party got about 8000 more votes than the Libs.

So what if I am a conservative?
There a very few of us on this blog which raises an interesting point namely, how come there is an overwhelmingly negative opinion on light rail seen here when by your own admission there were 8000 more ACT election votes for Labor in the electorates affected by the light rail?
It seems all the light rail bitching on this blog comes from Labor voters in those electorates.
It is democratic that voters outside these electorates have their say as well seeing as they will be paying for a light rail without having access to same (if if ever goes ahead that is).
If Labor doesn’t go ahead with light rail are you all going to vote against them? No, I doubt it.

I especially like it when you just make s*** up to support your ridiculous, false claims.

c_c™ 3:46 pm 13 Jul 13

HiddenDragon said :

If/when it actually happens, it will be the usual shemozzle, with major cost overruns, delays, stuff-ups, accidents etc!

That’s how construction works. At least in Canberra’s case, provision was made from the very beginning for extra traffic lanes and alternate transport corridors so the disruption is less than in just about any other city.

damien haas 3:11 pm 13 Jul 13

Antagonist said :

damien haas said :

It is indeed a fortunate occurrence that the agreement to govern has hastened light rail construction, that is a good thing. The ALP had flirted with light rail at elections several times, including 2012 (with a vague study and future build promised IF they were returned in 2016 as well as 2012).

Damo, your blind faith in the government is bordering on delusional. I am neither for, nor against the light rail. But if you seriously think it is going to happen, then I enter into evidence the promised dragstrip. The dragstrip remains a pipe dream and the same will happen to your train set. Just give it time.

It’s not blind faith.

I am observing very closely what is occurring and have spoken to people at government and departmental level to determine what is and what isn’t occurring.

If we receive information, from sources that have proved reliable in the past, that the Capital Metro project is not proceeding I’ll make that known publicly. I have learnt from many years of dealing with politicians that it is not so much what they say to you, it’s what they actually do.

I’d say Alistair Coe and myself are neck and neck in the Capital Metro observation race.

dungfungus said :

So far, Labor’s investigations are clearly showing light rail is not viable. The options won’t even need to be considered. Labor deserve to be “shit canned” for their poor handling of this fiasco.

You may find your spare time usefully employed reading the reports. They show the opposite of what you claim. The URS report states quite clearly that ‘Light rail transit generates the best overall outcome for Canberra’.

Apart from an incredibly slow establishment period, i’m not sure what the fiasco you claim they should be shitcanned over is. Enlighten us. I did a bit of research into the senior bureaucrat responsible for the project. he does not have a record of failure.

There are milestone dates in the ALP/Greens agreement to govern concerning light rail. If they aren’t met that would be concerning.

I’m also yet to see a coherent argument on why PT infrastructure is a right/left issue.

HiddenDragon 11:58 am 13 Jul 13

If/when it actually happens, it will be the usual shemozzle, with major cost overruns, delays, stuff-ups, accidents etc., all wrapped-up in a rich layer of feel-good spin and denial – a small, bite-sized taste of things to come when the tunnelling under Mount Ainslie starts for the big toot! toot!

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