9 November 2023

Public transport lobby attacks hidden changes to Woden Interchange

| Ian Bushnell
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Bus and light rail interchange

An artist’s impression of the proposed Woden Interchange design. Image: ACT Government.

Canberra’s public transport lobby is not on board with some of the proposed changes to the design of the new Woden Interchange.

While the Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) welcomed the addition of canopies to the interchange to give passengers better protection from the ACT’s weather extremes, it has criticised other less visible proposals that it says will create a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Our representation to the original DA202138251 requested modified bus shelters to provide passengers with better protection from the harsh Canberra elements. We are pleased to see this recommendation actioned in this S197G amendment,” PTCBR says.

“We are, however, concerned about several proposed changes to the design of the new interchange that have not been identified.”

It accuses the government of deviating significantly from the original approved DA.

PTCBR’s submission to the amended development application says the government’s proposal to cut the number of trees originally planned for the interchange appeared to clash with the conditions of approval.

According to the amended DA, fewer trees are to be planted in the verges and median of Callam Street, as shown in the two figures from PTCBR’s submission.

Original and amanded DAs.

Extracts fro the original and amended DAs show fewer trees in the later version. Images: ACT Government.

PTCBR says the project had aimed to increase the amount of tree canopy cover by 30 per cent.

The government also proposes to remove the southern pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Bradley and Callam Streets and the demarcated cycle path on the eastern verge of Callam Street.

PTCBR says a change in the paving will also downgrade the quality of the public realm for large sections of Callam Street.

It says locally sourced stone paving with a bespoke pattern appears to have been replaced with plain concrete.

“PTCBR does not support these changes, which will produce a less accessible and pedestrian-friendly interchange,” the submission says.

“If the proponent wishes to make these changes, they should be required to lodge a separate DA amendment, containing detailed justifications for these substantial departures from the original approved DA.”

The amended DA also included new bike enclosures and toilets, plans to modify the bus platforms and replace eucalypts with deciduous trees.

Comment on the amended DA is open until 22 November.

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I assume you refer to the Transport Minister who told us we would be travelling by light rail to Woden before the 2024 Election. With that estimate would be unlikely to come into being, the route not certain, even a decision to go ahead being subject to another election outcome, I wouldn’t say anything is close to certain. But it is a free country and the opponents of this important project are free to spread their hysteria. The thought of the big red electric powered vehicle sure fans up the irrational.

If they want to increase the canopy. just plant some blackberries.

ChrisinTurner6:49 pm 10 Nov 23

Our planning people will not miss an opportunity to remove street trees. Just look at Cooyong Street in Civic.

What BJ said. I still can’t see any sense in spending billions on slower public transport. And now they’re cutting pedestrians and cyclists out of the interchange too. It’s so dumb.

As usual with the ACT Government, the sales pitch for projects overstates what is going to be delivered as the goals get down graded as projects proceed. Maybe the should promise low and deliver more.

Good to see at least one community group is delving into the details of these DAs and providing constructive comments.

I think the public transport lobby should be more worried about the trip from Woden to Civic taking almost twice as long as the current Rapid bus than worried about the look of using stone or concrete.

Canberra’s public transport association is totally disconnected from the city’s bus users and completely misrepresents them.

The article is about the design of the new interchange and how one community group has noticed that an amendment to the DA has downgraded a few features. Surely other relevant community groups should also be commenting on this as well? Is WVCC hiding away in their Lovett Tower bunker having drinks and an art show, and again missing in action.

On the LR stage 2b alluded to, bit hard to make any judgement seeing it has yet to be finalised. But let us not let the facts get in the way of the fiction.

The only fiction are light rail stage 2 supporters who ignore facts and claim the route to Woden can travel much the same distance as stage 1 with much the same number of stops in a much faster travel time than stage 1 from Gungahlin to civic.
Finalisation of the route and stop sitings will only either save or add a few minutes.

Disappointingly there is no DA or Works Approval documentation lodged, no Cabinet decision to proceed, no funds appropriated and no route decision taken. At best construction will commence around 2028 or later.

A lot of people are very afraid of something that may be constructed.

Facts are: 1. No Route decision taken, 2. No design, 3. no DA lodged, 4. No Cabinet decision, 5. No plans prepared, 6. No chance of riding the thing in most opponents lifetimes.

But there is a government proposed route in place along the shortest conceivable path from Civic to Woden and the Transport Minister already said that path was about the same distance and would take about the same travel time as stage 1.

Are you now saying we can never estimate infrastructure projects until everything is locked in place?

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