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PTCBR glad that community consultation on Woden light rail has commenced

By Damien Haas 4 May 2017 29

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The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) are pleased that community consultation on the second stage of Canberras light rail network has commenced. The second stage will run from Woden to Civic and provide a much-needed boost to public transport services to Woden residents, and to workers in the Parliamentary Triangle.

Damien Haas, PTCBR Chair said that:

“PTCBR urge the government to quickly proceed with a business case and final routes, taking into consideration the best options for Canberra, and Woden residents.”

“As well as addressing road congestion and providing better public transport options, Woden light rail stage two through the Parliamentary Triangle is a tremendous opportunity to provide easy tourist access to the national attractions.”

“We are pleased at the extensive consultation agenda that the ACT Government have set in motion, and are confident that the final route chosen will provide the best transport options for Canberra, and tourists that visit the national capital”.

“If all goes to plan, the construction of light rail from Civic through the Parliamentary Triangle and to Woden, could commence as soon as the first light rail from Gungahlin starts making its way to Civic in 2018”

“PTCBR urge all Canberrans, not just Woden residents to take part in this community consultation process, light rail will eventually stretch right across Canberra, and it is important that people have a say in how it is planned and delivered.”

Aware that the consultation process was to occur, PTCBR convened a meeting of its members in Woden in April to look at the issues around bringing light rail to Woden.
Initial results were posted to the PTCBR Facebook group, and further comments were provided that are incorporated in this summary.

The PTCBR consultation report contains key findings of participants views, light rail stop suggestions and general comments about Woden light rail stage two. As the first public meeting to discuss Woden light rail, it generated significant interest and some useful ideas were identified.

At the consultation session itself, and in the following days as the ideas were discussed among the PTCBR membership, some key themes emerged:

  • The route from Civic to Barton was straight forward, with a major stop at Albert Hall seen as logical.
  • No clear preference on light rail out of Civic via London Circuit or directly through Capital Hill was identified, although stops needed to be closer than a kilometer apart.
  • The route through the triangle to Adelaide Avenue had several different options, and really needed to be examined in an NCA and engineering context.
  • Any route needed to focus on the Barton workforce for light rail stops.
  • A route around the lake foreshore to Yarraumla and Cotter Road could be looked at.
  • A tunnel under Parliament House, with a light rail station there was suggested.
  • A direct route along Adelaide Avenue was preferred over a route through suburbs.
  • Going through/over/under the roundabout directly into Callam Street was preferred.
  • A light rail station at the bus interchange in the Woden Town Centre was preferred.
  • Major upgrades to cycling/walking paths near light rail stops would be needed.
  • Fewer light rail stops than the Gungahlin stage, but better integrated as bus stations with services.
  • Park and Ride with retail services would be needed.
  • Bike and Ride with secure bike lockers would be needed.
  • Linking cycle paths with light rail stations was a priority.
  • More frequent local bus services, especially linking the hospitals (Deakin based private and Canberra Hospital) and TAFE with light rail.
  • Express services from Woden stopping at Parliament would be a good idea.

All comments made, including initial ideas for stop locations are included in the full report downloadable from this link or at its website.


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29 Responses to
PTCBR glad that community consultation on Woden light rail has commenced
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ChrisinTurner 10:25 am 26 May 17

The ongoing Light Rail Stage 2 public consultations are being hampered by the reluctance of Transport Canberra to disclose travel time estimates for the government’s four route options. This is frustrating as transit popularity is very dependent on speed and frequency. For example, the Minister’s policy report “Transport For Canberra 2012-2031” mentions the word ‘rapid’ 70 times and defines ‘rapid’ as a target of 40 km/hr average operating speed (AOS).

The Blue Rapid bus currently takes 12 minutes between Civic and Woden (60 km/hr AOS) using a dedicated transit lane. If the tram replacement matches the optimistic average speeds announced for Gungahlin Stage 1 (32 km/hr AOS), the most direct (1b) route should take the tram about 22 minutes. The longer (2b) route proposal, that people are apparently preferring, through Parkes, Barton and Forrest, could add a further 10 minutes, depending on the number of stops, tight corners and street-car operation along National Circuit and King George Terrace.

Passengers currently travelling between Civic and Woden/Tuggeranong by public transport face a possible 20 minutes increase in travel time, which they may solve by either moving back to car travel or by demanding retention of the Blue Rapid bus along the existing route.

Garfield 1:02 pm 09 May 17

Damien Haas said :

JC said :

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

No they don’t. There is this amazing effect that some RiotAct commenters experience – a complete absence of acknowledging reality.

Pot calling the kettle black – you are irrationally wedded to light rail, just as the government is, whereas I have at least considered the other major option. Earlier you claimed that triple bottom line analysis was good and you were happy that the government used it, but you’re now effectively claiming the government’s analysis in 2012 didn’t factor in environmental and social gains? That analysis had LR at 2.34 while the final business case reduced it to 1.20, so it had to include those factors. That means that the BRT analysis also included those factors, and so by your own measure, BRT would have been better value for the community than LR.

Earlier you also claimed that LR would be a more attractive form of transport. Try telling that to people who live in the far south of Tuggeranong. I know someone who lived down there and they caught an express bus direct to the city every day for work. Once the LR network is complete, people there will have to catch a bus to the town centre, then get on LR that winds its way to Woden with stops on the way, then winds its way to the city via Barton with more stops on the way before finally reaching the destination. It is going to significantly increase travel times and so encourage more people to use their cars instead of public transport. Its fixed lines mitigate against flexibility, but that’s exactly what’s needed with our population so spread out.

chewy14 1:00 pm 09 May 17

JC said :

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

Why would we mention them when they were specifically excluded from the full business case assessment? It seems the government doesn’t really want to consider them systematically in their decision making process either.

Although the previous options study did talk about environmental and social benefits but didn’t really find much difference between BRT or LRT options. I’m wondering what these benefits are that exceed the many hundreds of millions of dollars in upfront cost differences between buses and light rail? Or is it just the “vibe”?

bj_ACT 12:10 pm 09 May 17

Damien Haas said :

JC said :

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

No they don’t. There is this amazing effect that some RiotAct commenters experience – a complete absence of acknowledging reality.

But Damien’s response demonstrates exactly the same amazing effect that also frustrates some people on the Riotact. Just last week he argued that residents and building owners close to the tram lines shouldn’t be hit with additional rates charges to balance out the huge growth in property values they will gain due to the project. (before anyone claims that Annual Rates will eventually catch up with increased land values please understand there is not a 1 to 1 relationship to land growth value and increased rates paid).

Back to the core issue… Damien himself doesn’t ‘acknowledge reality’ for the poorer homeowners and renters in outer Canberra Suburbs who have been hit by large annual Rates increases to help cover the additional cost of Light Rail over the higher return on investment BRT.

When the ACT Government took whole Bus routes away from Wanniassa and Kambah residents not that long ago, we didn’t hear boo from Damien in his role as a lobbyist for Public Transport in Canberra. When Public Transport use dropped in Tuggeranong instead of increasing as promised by ACT Government, we didn’t hear any proposals to improve the situation or increase public transport use.

I hope for the day that the politicians and lobbyist in ACT are able to undertake proper evidence based policy analysis, evidence based program implementation and evidence based infrastructure investment. But I am afraid see no sign of this from local Labor, Liberal, Greens or lobbyists for any cause or sector.

Damien Haas 10:23 am 09 May 17

JC said :

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

No they don’t. There is this amazing effect that some RiotAct commenters experience – a complete absence of acknowledging reality.

devils_advocate 9:51 am 09 May 17

JC said :

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

Unless it were feasible for busses to eventually not emit carbon (e.g. run of electric motors and charged from renewable electricity), and therefore have all the environmental benefits of the tram but without being locked into a specific route and with no rolling stock/track interface.

JC 11:42 pm 08 May 17

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Come on Damian. Those things don’t matter to the anti brigade!

JC 11:41 pm 08 May 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

I was going to participate in the government’s “consultative” process by going online to make a submission on the “yoursay” website. Unfortunately, it is not a proper consultative process at all. There is no option to voice opposition to the project, but only choices on the route, alignment and stops locations. How is that consultation? It is a survey that implies the project already has the go ahead and the only details to be worked out are how it will be implemented. It is like having an election with only one party to vote for and your only input is on who will be the prime minister.
What if Canberrans do not want this to go ahead at all? What if we want it to go to Belconnen or the airport next, not Woden? Where was the consultation when this decision was made? I hope nobody says “at the last election”, because that is bollocks. There were no commitments by Labor that the second stage would be definitely going to Woden. They are an out of control government that has been let off the leash and something needs to be done to rein in their spending whims, before the budget becomes irrecoverable.

Why would you be given a choice to oppose the line? That time has come and gone. Or do you want thinks caught up in endless debate?

dungfungus 10:42 pm 08 May 17

bigred said :

The really good thing about light rail is the route certainty it provides. Once laid it will be there for 40, 50 years or even a century. This provides a certainty when choosing where to live, work, be educated or set up a business. It also allows the government and courts a flexibility when dealing with people who have never driven, or just should not be allowed to drive. Also, those who cannot use the light rail due to family commitments, need to carry tools of trade of their own inertia should see freer flowing traffic, Sounds like win:win!

There are tram and rail lines all over Australia that have been in place for 70 odd years but no trains/trams have run on them for 30 or more years.

In our region there is the Queanbeyan – Bombala line which hasn’t carried any traffic for some 20 years but most of the tracks are still there.

In Sydney, workmen are uncovering tram tracks that were simply tarred over in the 1960s when the trams stopped running to be replaced by the more modern, flexible and efficient busses.

Yes, the routes do provide certainty that they won’t be there for ever.

wildturkeycanoe 10:05 pm 08 May 17

bigred said :

The really good thing about light rail is the route certainty it provides. Once laid it will be there for 40, 50 years or even a century.

It also means that in 5 years time when newer technology has made it completely obsolete, it will become a sore reminder to future generations of how poorly governments thought through transport planning in the past. There are already viable alternatives being developed and trialled, so why are we even considering a mode of transport whose days are numbered?

bigred said :

Sounds like win:win!

Ratepayers certainly don’t feel that way.

bigred 8:35 pm 08 May 17

The really good thing about light rail is the route certainty it provides. Once laid it will be there for 40, 50 years or even a century. This provides a certainty when choosing where to live, work, be educated or set up a business. It also allows the government and courts a flexibility when dealing with people who have never driven, or just should not be allowed to drive. Also, those who cannot use the light rail due to family commitments, need to carry tools of trade of their own inertia should see freer flowing traffic, Sounds like win:win!

bj_ACT 5:59 pm 08 May 17

devils_advocate said :

I live a few streets away from the proposed light rail stage 2 route, and will never use it. Nor will anyone near me. Our incomes are too high. Everyone in my neighbourhood has at least 2 cars. Most expensive and/or European. Canberrans value their own comfort far above anything public transport may have to offer. The light rail corridor traverses high-income areas. Any low-income people that may remain will be progressively squeezed out by the attempts to ‘value-capture’ along the route (which the light rail cost-benefit “analysis” depends on).

It’s a good point and this is going to be one of the key challenges for public transport in Canberra where there are wealthy workers unlike public transport users in most other cities. I work with a person in Civic who could easily get the Number 10 Bus in Campbell, just 75m walk from their house, but instead they will happily pay $15 parking and usual car costs.

My step mother works in a department store in Civic and takes over an hour in her daily Action Bus trip from Calwell so her and my Dad only require one car for the household. On the other hand my brother in law drives and parks his car from Braddon to Civic to save maybe 5-7 minutes in commuting times (between walking or a catching bus).

The Light Rail development in Civic and now Woden is taking away housing from the unemployed by getting rid of their public houses and the LR is also increasing annual rates from poorer homeowners in outer Canberra to help pay for it. Unfortunately Light Rail won’t help these poorer people in the outer suburbs but will instead benefit wealthy inner city homeowners who don’t need and won’t use the Light Rail, but will enjoy their house values increasing by over $1,000 a week because they live near the new line.

dungfungus 5:52 pm 08 May 17

devils_advocate said :

I live a few streets away from the proposed light rail stage 2 route, and will never use it. Nor will anyone near me. Our incomes are too high. Everyone in my neighbourhood has at least 2 cars. Most expensive and/or European. Canberrans value their own comfort far above anything public transport may have to offer. The light rail corridor traverses high-income areas. Any low-income people that may remain will be progressively squeezed out by the attempts to ‘value-capture’ along the route (which the light rail cost-benefit “analysis” depends on).

“Everyone in my neighbourhood has at least 2 cars. “

We should celebrate this unique advantage we have every day.

We are probably the only city in the world that was planned for the prime transport mode to be by private motor cars and now a handful of tram enthusiasts and Euro-phobes want to turn Canberra into one of those cities in France that has to have trams because cars weren’t around 150 years ago when they randomly built roads.

devils_advocate 3:49 pm 08 May 17

I live a few streets away from the proposed light rail stage 2 route, and will never use it. Nor will anyone near me. Our incomes are too high. Everyone in my neighbourhood has at least 2 cars. Most expensive and/or European. Canberrans value their own comfort far above anything public transport may have to offer. The light rail corridor traverses high-income areas. Any low-income people that may remain will be progressively squeezed out by the attempts to ‘value-capture’ along the route (which the light rail cost-benefit “analysis” depends on).

wildturkeycanoe 2:26 pm 08 May 17

Damien Haas said :

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Buses can offer exactly the same service that a tram can and with more flexibility. All you need to do is have a dedicated bus lane, just as a tram has it’s dedicated tram line. Signalling for priority can be achieved exactly the same way also. Further, if patronage is insufficient for a tram vehicle to be cost effective there is nothing that can be done but lose money. If a bus timetable has buses running empty, you simply have fewer buses on that route. If there are more passengers, you can add another bus, or even two or three to the same route for the peak period. Then when it is quiet you go back to just one bus and reduce running costs.
The flexibility of a bus far outweighs the benefits of a tram which is stuck to one track and one track only. A bus can be re-routed through detours if there are problems in the area, but a tram will stop dead in its tracks. Buses don’t need overhead caternary cables, electrical sub-stations or a path several metres wide that will only ever be used for a tram and nothing else. The roads that buses use, if not exclusively designated bus lanes, can accomodate other vehicles such as emergency services. Imagine how much quicker the fire, ambulance and police will arrive at your place when they can take a practically empty bus lane most of the way to your burning house/crashed car/burgled property. Trams can’t do this.
Buses also travel much faster and can have express services. Express trams are stuck waiting for their 12 stop pickup in front to get out of the way, which is impossible with only one track and the inability to deviate from it.

Honestly, I can see no benefits related to trams that buses can’t do better. Unfortunately it is a pointless argument with the government, because you can’t argue against stupid. And yes, that is my honest view of trams. Even calling them “light rail” changes nothing about their shortcomings, they are still so last century.

Mark_Dando 1:28 pm 08 May 17

Damien Haas said :

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

Given that stage 1 of the light rail has been locked in, I think stage 2 has to happen (stages 1 and 2 together being IMO the minimum for an effective, usable network for Canberra). However, I was a sceptic about stage 1, believing that the same scale of investment in bus rapid transit (BRT) would have given us better value for money across the city.

Some of the arguments put by the pro light rail camp are nonsensical — for example that BRT equals road congestion. Not so, BRT means buses on a right of way (that’s why it’s called rapid transit). Anywhere a light rail track can go so can a dedicated busway. Similarly, with the argument that BRT is necessarily more polluting. Buses can be powered electrically just like trams.

And the great advantage of a BRT system such as Adelaide’s O-bahn is that the vehicles don’t have to stick to the tracks. Some feeder services can run through lower density areas (such as Hackett to Dickson) and then turn onto a spinal busway such as along Northborne Ave, potentially reducing the need for people to change.

Unfortunately, BRT wasn’t seriously considered — even as a transitional system (with the busways reserving the right of way for possible future light rail). But rightly on wrongly, the debate has (or should have) moved on. We need to make light rail work.

Damien Haas 12:27 pm 08 May 17

Garfield said :

The 2012 government business case specified the cost benefit for light rail as 1.02 and that of BRT as 1.98, if the corridor remained the same. Under the higher density scenario, which is surely what we’re pursuing, rail increased to 2.34 while buses increased to 4.78. In other words the government analysis showed that buses would be even more cost effective than light rail with the redevelopment that’s planned. That makes light rail a vanity project for which the residents of the ACT will be paying for decades to come.

You so neatly ignore the environmental and social benefits of light rail that make up the business case. Building further road based public transport, and increasing road congestion, makes bus only public transport a losing option all round.

What is the cost to us all from that?

chewy14 9:42 am 08 May 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

I was going to participate in the government’s “consultative” process by going online to make a submission on the “yoursay” website. Unfortunately, it is not a proper consultative process at all. There is no option to voice opposition to the project, but only choices on the route, alignment and stops locations. How is that consultation? It is a survey that implies the project already has the go ahead and the only details to be worked out are how it will be implemented. It is like having an election with only one party to vote for and your only input is on who will be the prime minister.
What if Canberrans do not want this to go ahead at all? What if we want it to go to Belconnen or the airport next, not Woden? Where was the consultation when this decision was made? I hope nobody says “at the last election”, because that is bollocks. There were no commitments by Labor that the second stage would be definitely going to Woden. They are an out of control government that has been let off the leash and something needs to be done to rein in their spending whims, before the budget becomes irrecoverable.

Whilst I agree with some of your points, the ALP went to the last election with the Woden route decided as the second stage. It was announced a month before the election, so it was well and truly decided and announced before we voted.
There were three other options that were considered included Belconnen, the airport and parliamentary triangle but Woden was chosen.

Although interestingly, the route that was shown on those announcements didn’t include the potential meandering through Barton/Parkes etc that has been proposed as an option now, it was shown as a north-south spine connecting Woden and Gungahlin through the City on the most direct route.

wildturkeycanoe 8:19 am 08 May 17

I was going to participate in the government’s “consultative” process by going online to make a submission on the “yoursay” website. Unfortunately, it is not a proper consultative process at all. There is no option to voice opposition to the project, but only choices on the route, alignment and stops locations. How is that consultation? It is a survey that implies the project already has the go ahead and the only details to be worked out are how it will be implemented. It is like having an election with only one party to vote for and your only input is on who will be the prime minister.
What if Canberrans do not want this to go ahead at all? What if we want it to go to Belconnen or the airport next, not Woden? Where was the consultation when this decision was made? I hope nobody says “at the last election”, because that is bollocks. There were no commitments by Labor that the second stage would be definitely going to Woden. They are an out of control government that has been let off the leash and something needs to be done to rein in their spending whims, before the budget becomes irrecoverable.

rommeldog56 1:45 pm 06 May 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

Perhaps I should start my own group – TACTGELBOC or The Australian Capital Territory Government Expenditure Logic Based Oversight Committee, or LOCST – Let Our Common Sense Triumph. It seems we have a need for some cool heads to prevent some very costly mistakes being made in the future.

Yep – great idea. But there seems little point in reaching out to ACT voters & Ratepayers anymore. After all, it was they who voted back in an ACT labor/Greens Govt that changed tram stage 2 route from the airport to Woden, close to the election and didnt reveal route nor costings, engineering studies nor impact in Annual Rates. So, unfortunately no point in establishing a TACTGELBOC or a LOCST I’m afraid. Those “costly mistakes” have already been made by ACT voters..

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