The ACT Government has released two options for the planned light rail link between Civic and Woden for consultation, but only one of them seems likely to be a serious contender.
The major distinction between the two options is whether the network stops outside the public entrance of Parliament House or winds through Parkes and Barton before turning onto Adelaide Avenue.
See full map here.
There are two other choices to be made: whether it should travel around London Circuit on the eastern or western side of City Hill before crossing the lake, and whether to continue on from Woden to the Canberra Hospital.
But are these really choices, or have they only been offered up to make Canberrans feel as though they’re having a say?
Surely there’s only one sensible option here: to travel west from Alinga Street, servicing the ANU, the legal precinct and New Acton and leaving the western side of London Circuit for a later stage heading to the Canberra Airport, then heading over Commonwealth Avenue Bridge (whether on existing infrastructure or an additional central lane) and on to collect and deliver passengers visiting national institutions in Parkes then those living and working in the high density Federal Government office and residential precinct of Barton before joining Adelaide Avenue and travelling through to Woden and onwards to the Hospital.
Another benefit of the Barton option is that it passes through the intersection of Adelaide Avenue and Canberra Avenue, leaving open the possibility of a future stage connecting Manuka, Kingston, Fyshwick and Queanbeyan.
Perhaps the Parliament House option is designed specifically to woo Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, given Federal funding will likely be required to get the project over the line. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr appeared confident yesterday that Mr Turnbull would support the project.
“This prime minister can’t go on a piece of public transport without a taking a selfie so I’m pretty confident that he supports the objective of better public transport in Australian cities,” he told the ABC.
As for whether the network should continue through to the Canberra Hospital, this is another no-brainer. Parking remains a headache at the hospital. A light rail connection would be attractive to the huge staff that work on site as well as to patients and visitors.
Given its position at the intersection of Hindmarsh Drive and Yamba Drive, such a stop would allow for a future extension to Tuggeranong along Yamba Drive, Erindale Drive, Ashley Drive and Isabella Drive … though Tuggeranong residents be warned: Mr Barr made it clear yesterday that the next stage of the light rail network was most likely to be an east-west link on the northern side of the lake, running from Belconnen through the CBD and on to Russell.
What is clear based on these options is that a City to Woden stage of light rail would service the the West Basin waterfront/Commonwealth Park, the Deakin shops area, the Deakin West area and Yarralumla near its shops, the Curtin shops area and the Phillip Oval precinct near Launceston Street as well as Woden itself.
The ACT Government has invited Canberrans to have their say on the proposals via an online survey, by providing video feedback or by commenting on an interactive map (see below). There are also 14 public consultation sessions to be held across Canberra this month, starting with tomorrow night’s Woden Community Council meeting. Details of all sessions and more information about the options are on the Government’s Your Say site.
What do you think of the options the Government has put forward? Are they actually options, or is the New Acton, Parkes, Barton, Hospital version the only way forward?