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Property Council joins fray against Barton light rail route

Ian Bushnell 16 July 2018 80

An artist’s impression of Windsor Walk, Barton, as part of the Stage 2 light rail route. Photo: Transport Canberra.

One of the biggest supporters of the light rail project in Canberra has joined a chorus of concerns about the Government’s preferred route for Stage 2 to Woden though Parkes and Barton in order to service their tourism and employment centres.

While acknowledging that the Parliamentary Triangle is at the centre of Canberra’s public transport system, the ACT Property Council argues in a submission to the Federal Parliamentary inquiry into Stage 2 that the Government should stick with the 2015 Light Rail Master Plan and maintain the integrity of the north-south corridor.

“Providing a frequent and accessible service to Barton is important but it should be done in a way that doesn’t negatively impact on the overall performance of the network,” it says.

The Property Council says that diverting away from the corridor and the Light Rail Master Plan to service employment at Barton, removes the route’s effectiveness as a rapid intertown public transport system but does offer alternatives with a branch line.

Journey times between Woden and the city are expected to be 25-30 minutes compared with the current Blue Rapid bus services trip of 13-16 minutes.

“For residents of Woden this will be a slower service than the current express bus service currently operating or driving a car. As a result, it is likely that express buses will continue to operate along Adelaide Avenue which will undermine the viability of light rail,” the submission says.

The Property Council says a diversion from the most direct and legible route at Barton would penalise many kilometres of route to and beyond Woden Town Centre, which is in urgent need of investment and renewal.

“This should be a prioritised with public transport that is competitive with the private car both in travel time and frequency,” it says.

“It is essential that passengers from Woden can expect to board, interchange and alight with ease and speed. A diversion from the primary spine would likely reduce both the incentive and the real-world ability to interchange as future stages of light rail come on-line, for example Woden to Russell/Airport or to Kingston/Fyshwick/Queanbeyan or to Belconnen.”

The Property Council says these interchanges will most readily occur at Capital Circle and at London Circuit in the City Centre, and the preferred route removes a potentially significant interchange that will penalise the system overall.

“It highlights a lack of alignment between strategic planning and infrastructure planning,” it says.

It provides options in its submission including a direct route via Capital Circle.

Located on the eastern side of Capital Circle, this route would have a stop serving both Parliament House and the Barton office precinct, and be 1.12km shorter than the preferred Barton diversion route.

Another option is a direct route via Capital Circle plus a branch from the Canberra Avenue line to Manuka, which is 0.20km shorter than the preferred route.

The Property Council’s final option is a direct route via Capital Circle plus a branch line to Kingston Railway Station via  Brisbane Avenue Barton, 1.88km longer than the preferred route.

Should the Government review its preferred route? Does the Barton deviation undermine the efficiency of the public transport network?

What's Your Opinion?

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80 Responses to Property Council joins fray against Barton light rail route
Alan James Alan James 11:36 am 16 Jul 18

The cheaper the better, taxpayers cannot afford to invest in a Tram system using ancient technology. Trams on rails are uneconomical there are more efficient ways of achieving the same result even with Trams using magnetic guidance buried cable where Tram run on normally rubber wheels.

    Alex Thomson Alex Thomson 1:46 pm 16 Jul 18

    You mean a bus? Oh yeah, so modern

    Alan James Alan James 1:48 pm 16 Jul 18

    Not a bus, a tram that runs over a buried magnetic cable, no tracks and can be autonomous. The idea is to move people efficiently and not to utilise and expensive and outdated technology.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:03 pm 16 Jul 18

    Alan James so where is this in use?

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 4:20 pm 16 Jul 18

    Alex Thomson

    Went way over your head

    Alan James Alan James 5:51 pm 16 Jul 18

    Ashley Wright

    And in South Korea

    Ric Hingee Ric Hingee 4:48 pm 19 Jul 18

    Ashley Wright Try reading today's paper with an open mind.

Jenni Zimoch Jenni Zimoch 12:32 pm 16 Jul 18

Is the public transport service efficient though?

Meg Joy Meg Joy 1:21 pm 16 Jul 18

No point taking the tram to work if it doesn’t go near your work! Classic argument for keeping the buses that actually get us to our workplaces

Geoffrey John Randal Geoffrey John Randal 1:49 pm 16 Jul 18

Trim stage 2 into the most direct shape and accelerate the next phases including lines through Barton to Kingston Narrabundah Fyshwick and Queanbeyan

Jennifer Jones Jennifer Jones 2:18 pm 16 Jul 18

Much more sense and economy of linking the North side comprehensively with a good network, the expense of crossing the lake to meet an election sweetener defies good sense. ACT seems too cash strapped to have a properly resourced health system (people being rushed through palliative care!), but we are getting a gold plated tram to Woden that will be slower than the bus.

    Scott Welsh Scott Welsh 4:58 pm 16 Jul 18

    They have middle income earners (read voters) to please. 😉

Stephen Hood Stephen Hood 2:20 pm 16 Jul 18

Stage 2 should always have been Civic-Campbell Park-Airport-Fyshwick-Queanbeyan to be like a big city should. But of course the taxi industry would have to be managed properly through such a transition.

Oh, and have a high speed rail link from Sydney terminating at Queanbeyan to be a stop on the light rail line.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 4:05 pm 16 Jul 18

    High speed rail stop on QBN? Lost me there. If you are gonna have high speed rail why would it not go to Canberra city which is about as close to the centre of the ACT as you can get.

    Stephen Hood Stephen Hood 4:46 pm 16 Jul 18

    Ashley Wright Not sure if the room is at Civic so maybe at the airport itself. I was only thinking Queanbeyan in 40 years time as Canberra and Queanbeyan expand and the station is actually quite close to Civic anyway if linked by a fast tram.

    I rule Canberra station out based on the Kingston foreshore redevelopment, which has shown the ACT will want to maximise apartment revenue from and not lock land up in transport infrastructure.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 5:55 pm 16 Jul 18

    Stephen Hood if there is money to build a high speed line to Canberra there would be money to put the station underground in the city!

gooterz gooterz 3:31 pm 16 Jul 18

Well light rail was never mass transit.
Light rail is slower than bus.
The idea is to slow down traffic along the route to meet with the tram. Current 80 will turn into 60 along the route.

No doubt the route was chosen as it avoids the grade issues around the hill.
How much is a tunnel boring machine these days. Could just tunnel from Belconnen to Tuggeranong and throw a high speed train in there. Belconnen to Tuggeranong in 10 minutes. Everyone would want that!

David Brown David Brown 5:25 pm 16 Jul 18

I think they should build a tunnel under the lake.

Peter Drady Dradrach Peter Drady Dradrach 5:50 pm 16 Jul 18

how about just putting that money into the hospital network - holy cow priorities - lets see what stage one brings.

Mat Barber Mat Barber 6:08 pm 16 Jul 18

Just send it straight down Adelaide Avenue, they can run rapid shuttle buses from Albert hall via the parliamentary triangle to the City instead

    Lara Zangl Lara Zangl 8:07 am 20 Jul 18

    My thoughts exactly

    Lara Zangl Lara Zangl 8:09 am 20 Jul 18

    Or a separate tramline doing that same rapid shuttle Albert hall to Kingston.

John Brown John Brown 6:36 pm 16 Jul 18

Yes Peter what with people left in the hallways of hospitals and schools with no flashing lights but then children don't vote

Warwick Penn Bradly Warwick Penn Bradly 6:49 pm 16 Jul 18

The amount proposed for stage 2 would go a long way toward free renewable electricity for all Canberrans. Think about that!

Caroline Le Couteur Caroline Le Couteur 9:23 pm 16 Jul 18

Its important the the light rail is a good outcome for the people of Canberra who want to travel around Canberra. I'm not sure why the light rail needs to be significantly slower than the bus.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:40 pm 16 Jul 18

Is Caroline Le Couteur serious? How can someone “travel around Canberra” on something that goes virtually nowhere?

Ben Gray Ben Gray 2:21 am 17 Jul 18

I think the best outcome for stage 2 would be a direct north-south link, with a branch from the parliamentary triangle through Barton and onto Wentworth Avenue, terminating on Wentworth Avenue opposite the train station. This would allow a quicker service from Woden to the CBD while also servicing the Barton and parliamentary triangle employment area, as well as giving the government the option to head out to Fyshwick at a later stage while linking another high-density residential area.

Kay de Vogel Kay de Vogel 3:46 pm 17 Jul 18

Does the Property Council have the best interests of the Canberra residents at heart or those of property developers and landlords? Maybe I'm just cynical, but.....

Wing Nut Wing Nut 6:32 pm 17 Jul 18

Well there you go. I always thought the Property Council and the ACT Government were one of the same thing.

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:14 pm 17 Jul 18

This “light rail” is of course going to be a billion-dollar white elephant as soon as driverless cars (quite possibly solar) can drive us to work and then go off home for the day, then pick us up after work.

    astro2 astro2 10:32 pm 18 Jul 18

    Even if “driverless cars” were soon to be implemented (and there are no signs of this happening for quite some time yet) that would still not solve the problem of peak hour traffic and wouldn’t operate all that efficiently in capital cities and other large cities.

    JC JC 8:12 am 21 Jul 18

    It’s interesting to see our autonomous car man who said we had no need for buses as cars would solve it all is now on the autonomous bus/tram wagon. Even got mentioned in a news paper article.

    Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 7:28 pm 21 Jul 18

    Canberra barely has a peak hour. In any case, it’s easy to stagger work transport …

    astro2 astro2 9:08 pm 21 Jul 18

    Hmm yes ‘barely has a peak hour’ so no need to plan for the future as it will always be like this? Do you really think so? And as to the ease of staggering work transport, that doesn’t seem to have worked in other cities so perhaps not as easy as it may first appear.

    JC JC 8:11 am 22 Jul 18

    Lucy whilst Canberra peak is no where near as bad as Sydney, there can be no doubt what so ever that as the city grows “peak hour” traffic is increasingly getting worse.

    And a prime example the bus from the city to Belconnen. 30 years ago it used to take 15 minutes. It was re-routed that changed that to 20 and now it can take 25-30 minutes. What do you think is causing that? Increased congestion. And interestgly this example was for Belconnen where the amount of growth in number of dwellings as been minor compared to the growth in Gungahlin.

Nicole Fitzgerald Nicole Fitzgerald 6:58 am 18 Jul 18

If the goal is for it be be a time efficient network send it direct and get on with it!

Chris Emery Chris Emery 4:52 pm 18 Jul 18

Stage 1 of LR is planned to take twice the journey time of the rapid bus so it should be no surprise that stage 2 will be the same. For a start the buses have a top speed of 100km/hr while the LRV are 70km/hr. Then the LRV are much heavier, affecting acceleration and braking distances. Explains why journey times for Stage 2 were never disclosed during the route consultation stages, despite numerous requests.

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