15 May 2018

Residents groups launch survey on Stage 2 of light rail

| Ian Bushnell
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The survey’s results will be presented to the Parliamentary inquiry into Stage 2 of light rail. Photo: Supplied.

Inner South residents groups have launched a detailed survey to gauge community views on the proposed Stage 2 of light rail from Civic to Woden.

The 23-question survey has been prepared by the Deakin Residents Association with assistance from the Yarralumla Residents Association and the Inner South Canberra Community Council.

The results of the survey will be used to compile submissions to the recently announced Parliamentary inquiry into light rail and the ACT Government’s proposed consultation into the next stage.

The survey includes questions on the siting of the track on Adelaide Avenue, the potential use of light rail, the impact on bus services, the cost, infill opportunities and visual impact on landscape, including loss of trees.

DRA President George Wilson said this survey had been adapted to take into account the Parliamentary inquiry, which the Association welcomed.

“We think it is a matter of major significance and something that the National Capital Authority and Parliament should take very seriously,” Mr Wilson said.

He said the questions about the costs/benefits of the project were particularly important, with concerns that the cost will blow out, particularly with the route going through Parkes and Barton and the NCA’s conditions such as no overhead wires on national land.

“Going that route means that any chance it ever had of competing with the existing express bus is finished. It looks as if it will take twice as long as the express bus currently does,” he said.

Light rail will likely run between the two existing Commonwealth Ave bridges crossing the lake.

Mr Wilson said the project would also require not just one new bridge to cross the lake but also structures so it could get across Parkes Way and London Circuit.

Then there were the impacts on the amenity and landscape of the Parliamentary zone.

He said a track in between the existing bridges would ruin the aesthetics of that whole vista. “What’s the future for all the trees in front of the Hyatt and the Albert Hall?” he said.

Mr Wilson was in Seville last year where light rail using the same Spanish vehicle runs through the city’s World Heritage Area without overhead wires using a charging station.

“My understanding is it couldn’t do that for the full length of the NCA area which includes the whole of Adelaide Avenue and over the bridges. There’s going to have to be a charging station along the way presumably in Barton,” he said.

While Stage 1 presented obvious development opportunities along Northbourne Avenue, land use along Adelaide Avenue could not be varied, with the Curtin horse paddocks providing the only infill potential.

The survey will run for about two weeks and the results collated for a submission to the Parliamentary inquiry, which is taking submissions until June 15.

The survey can be found here.

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Capital Retro2:57 pm 21 May 18

I wish you wouldn’t patronise me by suggesting I try riding on a tram (or light rail). I have probably been on more tram trips that you will ever do. These include the Sydney trams in the 1950s, the Melbourne trams (among the slowest in the world) and many in Europe. The only possible “advantage” the Stage 1 Canberra trams will have is an exclusive right of way – the same could have been extended to a BRT which was recommended by several studies and it could have established at a fraction of the cost without those ugly poles and wires. Even with this yet to be proven advantage the running time of the trams will be less than that of the existing busses. And the new busses will be electric (already confirmed by Transport Canberra) so that makes them as clean as trams.

Stage 2 of the tram (City to Woden) will not have exclusive right of way on most of the journey so it will be even slower than the trams on the City to Gungahlin route.
And as for comfort, I would rather be on a bus any day, sitting or standing. Pneumatic rubber tyres and superior suspension beat steel wheels on steel rails any day as riders on the Paris Metro know.

Hi Capital Retro, wasn’t intending to patronise, just suggesting that, as the project is going ahead, it may be worthwhile to try it out. Your experience in travelling on other light rail systems will be a good reference point. whilst there have been a lot of studies of other modes of transport it appears that the light rail has won the day and voters did return the government that proposed it. Whether or not light rail will be faster, slower or more or less comfortable is something that can be tested when the service commences. My experience is that, generally, light rail is quite, faster and more comfortable. Buses can get held up by traffic more readily even allowing for dedicated lanes. However having a light rail system does not mean that you won’t be able to catch a bus or drive a car (or cycle or walk).

Capital Retro9:16 am 22 May 18

How can trams with 70kmh top speed be faster than busses which regularly do 90kmh from Woden to State Circle?

Depends on surrounding traffic. Most delays currently in the Woden/City bus are due to traffic on the approach to Civic. Light rail won’t have the same problem and can also carry more passengers.

Capital Retro7:29 am 23 May 18

I specifically said “between Woden and State Circle”.

There is no guarantee that the proposed Stage 2 tram will have an exclusive thoroughfare across LBG and it will most likely share a traffic lane that busses now use so the situation will remain the same.

Have you any idea how much a new bridge for a tram across LBG would cost?

Yes Capital I know you did but there is no stop on State Circle and the route travels express Woden to Civic so therefore the timing has to take into account the approach to Civic. This where the delays are occurring.
Whilst the exact route and crossings have yet to be announced it is certain that light rail has advantages over buses due to having a dedicated rail whereas buses are held up by road traffic generally.

Bus systems can have exactly the same right of way provisions as light rail, so that point fails instantly.

And the preferred stage 2 light rail route now passes through Parkes/Barton so if that is implemented it is 100% certain that Buses would be significantly faster than the proposed light rail.

It won’t be even close to similar and the Woden/Civic buses would almost certainly be required to be maintained for any kind of reasonable transport times.

Capital Retro10:16 am 23 May 18

I didn’t mention anything about a stop at State Circle either. State circle is where the T2 lane that the buses use starts and stops both ways.

I suggest that until the tram route across LBG is announced (hopefully that will be never) you reserve further comments on defending the indefensible.

Theoretically they could but in practice that’s not what happens. Buses and cars both use the same roads and crossing the bridge there are currently delays caused by traffic. I doubt whether you could be “100% certain” buses would be faster than light rail as you would need to factor in a number of variables into the trip. Certainly there has been a lot of comment about the proposed route and whether it should stop at Parkes/Barton or not. It depends on current and future demand for services along that route and in the Parliamentary Triangle. It would be nice to see a better transport service nearby Parliament House, particularly in regards to future tourism needs. Light rail will probably be easier for visitors to get around on as many comment that the current bus system is confusing. It’s often not clear in which direction the bus is heading whereas light rail is a clearer travelling route. Although this isn’t a fault of buses per se.

You didn’t mention anything about a stop at State Circle but you used it as a timing point for that route. I was just pointing out that the current Woden to City express isn’t timed from Woden to State Circle. So the actual trip time is measured from Woden to City Interchange. By reflecting that you hope that the announcement of a Stage Two City to Woden light rail will be “hopefully never” you appear to be nailing your colours to the mast. Also “defending the indefensible” suggests you are taking a strong oppositional stance. Perhaps it would be useful to start from a more neutral position and look at the transport issue more objectively. There will be further opportunities for consultation as more routes are developed and rolled out. There has been some constructive discussion on this article and where there may be advantages or disadvantages in placement of stops and route connections.

What they speed? The speed limit along Adelaide Ave is only 80 and then 70 on Commonwealthe Ave. and besides the average speed a bus does between the city and Woden (based on distance between city and Woden and the timetabled time) is about 40-45km/h.

Now I am not going to say trams would be faster or slower but need to remember that speed is a minor thing when it comes to time it takes to get from a to b over short distances. Acceleration, deceleration, number of stops, dwell time all have a role.

Tram wins on acceleration and deceleration every time.

So capital you want people to stop defending the indefensible until a route is announced, but it is fine for you to can the unknown? Hmmm

Capital Retro12:05 pm 24 May 18

I see you are rostered on today JC to defend the not-needed project that has already been approved.

Perhaps try applying your “cost-benefit” ratio to a future dominated by congested roads due to over-reliance on privately-owned cars and see what you come up with. You’ll probably arrive at the same logic that the Government has in choosing to improve public transport. (And, in doing so, make improvements to urban infrastructure and lifestyle.) It’s called a ‘win-win’ and solves the cost-benefit rationale.

The cost benefit analysis already incorporates the future demand, so I won’t probably arrive at the same result the government has.
Particularly when their own investigation showed that the same public transport benefits could be delivered for a third of the cost with a bus system.

It’s ok to admit that you want light rail for illogical reasons though, sometimes emotion is more powerful a motivator than logical reasoning.

Capital Retro11:18 am 21 May 18

How is public transport going to be improved? Replacing the existing main bus routes with trams will increase elapsed times between main terminals with more people standing than sitting. How is that an “improvement”?

It’s pretty clear your cost-benefit and the Government’s are poles apart. The debate about bus versus light rail has already been settled with a comprehensive network using both types of transport. There aren’t many capital cities in Australia today that rely one only. The logic behind this is that the light rail covers the major arteries and the bus system picks up the remainder. The figures seem to show this is workable. Also cost estimates into the future, taking into account increased population of Canberra. It seems that those still opposing light rail want to develop their own “logic”. Thankfully Governments operate in the real world. Perhaps you could try using the system when it is rolled out?

Public transport will be improved with light rail covering main routes and buses covering the remainder. Light rail for these routes is a far superior method of mass transit than buses. Buses along these routes are already finding it difficult to cope in peak periods. This is evidenced by overcrowded buses with people standing instead of sitting. Hence the detailed studies and conclusion into future transport needs for Canberra. Light rail is also a quiet clean and smooth trip – you should try it sometimes. Other areas using this system don’t have any complaints.

My cost benefit IS the government’s cost benefit, so they aren’t poles apart, they are the exact same thing. And you seem to have still not read any of the reports, so this is getting a pointless, when you’ve been provided with the facts but are ignoring them because they don’t support your argument.

My logic is simple, the government should deliver infrastructure that meets the needs of the populace in the most cost effective manner over the entire project lifecycle. Where large private benefits accrue from public spending, the people benefitting should directly contribute proportionally to that benefit. Light rail constructed now, clearly fails this test.

Once again, you can support light rail because you like pretty things (or you’re a landholder along the route and like free money) but you can’t support it because you think it’s the government delivering an essential public transport project. The government may get its “legacy”, but we’ll be the ones paying for it for decades.

You do realise that the light rail is predicted and designed to be more crowded than the current buses right?

The trams can fit 200 odd people, 66 seated 140 standing.

It really does seem that you haven’t looked into this issue at all……..

Hi Chewy, I have’t seen any government report that states “The light rail project is not viable”. It appears that this is your interpretation. However as the original source of this string was about the Deakin Residents’ Survey and submissions to a Parliamentary Inquiry then you may, if you are convinced of your evidence, put forward a submission (or you could join up with the Deakin Residents’ Association to put something in with them. The Inquiry may be interested in what you have to say. Or maybe not. Anyway it’s another opportunity to put your case forward. Other residents who support light rail (and these appear to be in the majority) may still consider that the Government is putting forward a plan for a better transport system in Canberra. And I think we both agree that a good transport system is essential to a modern city.

Hi Chewy, I think you really need to start fact-checking a little more rigorously if you’re wanting to put forward a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry. I’d leave some of the more fanciful “predictions” to Nostradamus and stick a little closer to established facts. Perhaps also a little more life experience in using public transport may help. Ten minutes standing on a frequent light rail service doesn’t hurt, really. So suggesting that the Government is designing the light rail to be “more crowded” is being a little hyperbolic. A light rail carriage which can accommodate 200 people is a lot more than a bus. could I’m not sure if you quite understand how light rail works.

There’s no need to submit anything to the residents association because they are focused on stage 2, which at present is uncosted and largely unscoped.

You’ve not seen the evidence showing that the project is not viable as a public transport project because you seemingly refuse to read the government reports showing it clearly to be the case.

And yes people are free to vote for non viable projects, particularly when they’re personally set to gain financially from public funds. But that doesn’t change the viability of the project.

this is getting funny now.

People standing on buses instead of sitting….a horrible sign of overcrowding.

Far more people standing on light rail by design……doesn’t hurt at all and in fact is a good thing.

There’s clearly one of us who doesn’t understand public transport systems and as someone who utilises public transport every day, perhaps take some of your own advice and get out some more. Perhaps actually reading about the issues you’re commenting on might help also.

Capital Retro1:43 pm 22 May 18

Actually, the CAF Urbos trams being delivered to Canberra are made up of 5 modules which are equivalent of 2 1/2 bendy busses long and they will carry a maximum of 276 thin passengers.

For the readers who demand a “fact checking” link try: http://www.caf.net/en/productos-servicios/proyectos/proyecto-detalle.php?p=282

Note the spelling “Sidney” in the blurb. If this is the standard we may end up with terminal trams instead of tram terminals.

Light rail carries a lot more passengers than a bus. It is indeed funny how so many anti-light-railers have discovered a hitherto unexpressed passion for the bus system. i’m not being overly critical of it. And obviously there is still a place for buses. However the major transport routes are more suited to light rail. However if you feel otherwise I’m sure there;s a Parliamentary Inquiry who are keen to hear from you. It will give your ‘facts’ a workout.

I catch the bus every day so despite your continued attempts to portray people who disagree with you as anti public transport, it simply isn’t the case. The facts are all that matter.

“Light rail carries a lot more passengers than a bus.”

Of course they do, who said they didn’t? The issue is simply that we don’t have the demand for that extra capacity and won’t for at least a few decades even on the Northbourne route. High speed rail has even more capacity, if that’s the main driver why aren’t you promoting that for Canberra?

The issue is matching services to demand in the most cost efficient manner.

You claimed that buses having standing passengers was somehow representative of them being overcrowded or unable to meet demand, I’ve simply pointed out that the trams are designed to have far more people standing, it’s actually part of their design and one of the reasons for that increased capacity.

“However the major transport routes are more suited to light rail. “

Yet you’ve so far failed to provide a single shred of evidence to show this is the case and in fact evidence doesn’t even exist for the majority of the planned light rail network because the modelling, detailed planning and business cases havent been done yet for anything post stage 1.

It must be the vibe.

” However if you feel otherwise I’m sure there;s a Parliamentary Inquiry who are keen to hear from you”

There is no parliamentary inquiry looking at the feasibility of the light rail so I have no idea what you’re referencing. The federal inquiry is focused on the approvals issues that will be required to gain federal government approval for the parts of the system within the parliamentary triangle and designated land.

Hi chewy, Yes, I’m aware of the TORs for the Inquiry. I was referencing it as the article that we’ve been providing comments on is about residents launching a survey from which they were proposing a submission on stage 2 of the light rail. I’m also aware that despite all the evidence behind the choice of a light rail system for the ACT, and there is plenty of it, I don’t need to supply all this to you as the Government has already done this and made a decision based on the the evidence with which you disagree. I’ve not made any suggestions on your personal use of transport and you will still be able to use buses when the light rail is rolled out. If you still wanted to express opinions on light rail, specifically on Stage 2, then you may wish to avail yourself of the opportunity. It may at least provide you with an opportunity to further comment on light rail, which you appear to enjoy doing, although perhaps a little negatively.

Yes, I do enjoy pointing out facts and identifying clear logical failings in the arguments presented by light rail supporters.
Particularly when you could say those arguments presented align so rigidly with the government’s stated position, they might as well be getting paid for continually presenting them…

Thanks for the discussion, I’ve rarely seen such dedication, have you ever thought about a career in communications?

No worries Chewy, I’ve enjoyed it too. You may like to try the survey and further put forward your strong position on the issue. I wish you the best in future endeavours as each of the light rail sectors is rolled out. It may be beneficial to apply your endeavours to specific elements of the routes and stops rather than light rail itself which appears at this point in time to have been decided.

Capital Retro12:08 pm 24 May 18

I would love to hear astro2 and JC try and defend trams on talk-back radio.

Dorinda Lillington9:14 pm 16 May 18

I am totally against the light rail and would have preferred to see a better rapid bus transit system implemented. Along the GDE to Tuggeranong would have been a good start. Also what happens when self driving cars become popular. What is going to happen to the light rail then. All that money. Why not wait for technology to see what pans out.
As to the trees outside the Hyatt. Why would anyone think that they are safe. Where are our design professionals?

You think self driving cars will be cheap enough to compete with bus or light rail?

Capital Retro1:29 pm 17 May 18

If they get the same ratepayer subsidies they will be competitive. Even more so if they run on “renewable” electricity.

jamesblake29081:45 pm 17 May 18

I don’t get why people think self driving cars and light rail are in total opposition. The CBD will always have a limited road capacity. Even if self-driving cars are more efficient, one day we will still reach this limit.

The town centre model of Canberra offers a unique opportunity to have high capacity transit between the town centres, and then hubs for self driving cars to complete the final leg of the trip to homes. There’s much more room in the town centres to build self-driving car storage than there is in the CBD

bringontheevidence2:52 pm 17 May 18

Or that self driving cars will magically use less road space at peak times?

Store them? If you read the writings of Kent finch who appears here to comment on lightrail stories and who has helped write some computer modeling program (as a hobby he says not business) the self driving cars don’t need to park up or run empty contra flow. They will be in constant use 24×7.

But light rail running down the centre of a main road will somehow make traffic on the parallel road worse.

jamesblake29082:48 pm 18 May 18

Is the 24×7 figure taking into account peak flows? To cater for peak, you’ll need a certain amount of self driving cars. At 3am in the morning, demand is going to be much lower than the amount of cars you’ll need for peak. So most will need to be stored

JamesBlake2908, the reason I modelled Canberra (with peak tidal flows) was to see if results from other studies in cities with less dramatic tidal flows would apply here. They do, but only if people are willing to share cars during the peak periods (cars travelling from the same suburb to the same destination, eg, from Kambah to Parkes in the AM peak, or ANU to Franklin in the PM peak). Under these conditions, a fleet of 23,000 4-seater cars can service 750K trips per day (almost all private car and public bus trips, but not specialist vehicles, tradie utes etc), with over 98% of trips starting within 1 minute of being requested. Using the model’s default financing (10%) and cost assumptions (including $40K/car, $0 value after 3 years) a typical 13.4km door-to-door commute costs the traveller $3.80 in peak. Off peak (non-shared) travel costs 20c/km. The service generates an annual surplus of around $75m. The model allows you to change all cost assumptions and run it yourself: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/index.html
During peak, the average car occupancy to popular destinations is around 2 people, compared to about 1.1 now: this is why congestion drops – half the commuter vehicles are removed from the road. Since this model was created, the default assumptions have become even more conservative: by 2021, such vehicles will be cheaper and have greater range (see also https://static1.squarespace.com/static/585c3439be65942f022bbf9b/t/591a2e4be6f2e1c13df930c5/1494888038959/RethinkX+Report_051517.pdf )

bringontheevidence, there is no magic. If self-driving cars are not shared during peak, the minor gains they may offer through platooning and closer headway with other self-driving cars will likely be more than offset by more cars, as travellers in self-driving cars suffer less costs attributable to congestion (because they can use their travel time to read/work/send-emails or doze in comfort).

Self-driving cars are coming, and very soon, regardless. If we stick our heads in the sand and try to ignore them, a large adoption of non-shared, privately-owned self driving cars will make many things about cities much worse. However, if we plan to deploy them as a shared fleet and focus on using them to improve mobility for everyone, reduce congestion, return parking lots and deserts of asphalt to better uses then our city could become much better. Just one example: the median strip of Northbourne is wide enough for peak-hour traffic if average car occupancy doubles from the current 1.1 to 2. That is, the current 3 lanes in each direction can be repurposed – bike paths, parkland, cafes… what’s that worth?

“But people won’t share, even in peak!” We all share commercial aircraft, restaurants, even (serially) hotel beds and bathrooms. The social and financial incentive to share peak commutes can be made very strong. It takes leadership and design. Renault plan to overcome resistance to shared commuting with clever design by 2022: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/06/renault-ez-go-concept-ridesharing-ev/

Would an ACT Government ever decide to operate a fleet of self-driving cars, to provide universal and cheap mobility and reduce spending on road construction? Hard to imagine. But as they showed with their Uber enthusiasm, they will be a soft touch for some carpet-bagger to talk them into the concession to run the service and make a fortune.

Not in all cities, Jack, but in Canberra, yes. The “all up” average financial cost per km of an ACTION passenger bus trip in 2013-14 was around 70 – 75 cents (excluding the cost for “special needs” transport).

Some *shared fleet* AV cost predictions (on demand, door-to-door, 24×7): ($A1= $US0.75)

Patrick Bösch, Felix Becker, Henrik Becker and Kay W. Axhausen (2017), Cost-based Analysis of Autonomous
Mobility Services, Working Paper 1225, Institute for Transport Planning and Systems,
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology http://www.ivt.ethz.ch/institut/vpl/publikationen/papers/1225.html : $A0.17 – 0.33/km

Lawrence D. Burns et al (2013), Transforming Personal Mobility, Earth Institute, Columbia University http://sustainablemobility.ei.columbia.edu/files/2012/12/Transforming-Personal-Mobility-Jan-27-20132.pdf : $A0.09 – 0.22/km

Charlie Johnson and Jonathan Walker (2017), Peak Car Ownership: the market opportunity of electric automated mobility services, Rocky Mountains Institute https://www.rmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Mobility_PeakCarOwnership_Report2017.pdf : $A0.29/km

Scott Corwin et al (2015), The future of mobility – How transportation technology and social trends are creating a new business ecosystem, Deloitte https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/focus/future-of-mobility/transportation-technology.html : $A0.26/km

Tasha Keeney (2017), Mobility-As-A-Service: Why Self-Driving Cars Could Change Everything, ARC
Investment Research http://bit.ly/2xz6PNV : $A0.29/km

Irem Kok, et al. (2017), Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the
Collapse of the Internal-Combustion Vehicle and Oil Industries, RethinkX http://bit.ly/2pL0cZV. : $A0.09/km

Brian Johnson (2015), Disruptive Mobility: AV Deployment Risks and Possibilities, Barclays https://orfe.princeton.edu/~alaink/SmartDrivingCars/PDFs/Brian_Johnson_DisruptiveMobility.072015.pdf : $A0.18/km

bringontheevidence8:12 pm 18 May 18

Kentfitch, a while back I actually wasted some time looking through your numbers.

Certainly all of the numbers add up, but by failing to incorporate human preferences and Irrationality into your calculations you’ve fallen into the same trap many quant/engineering types do when modelling systems dependent on human behaviour.

Self driving cars and ride sharing will certainly have a huge impact on transport in the future, but to assume they’ll reduce congestion or eliminate the need for public transport is a bit naive.

Yes, there will be benefits in road space utilisation per vehicle, and yes there will be some cost savings available for people who choose to ride share, but unfortunately these efficiency savings are likely to be outweighed by the increase in traffic self-driving cars will generate.

For a very large proportion of households (especially in Canberra), car ownership costs are actually pretty low as a proportion of income and dropping fast. These people will not choose to share just to save a couple of bucks a day. Similarly, tradespeople and delivery drivers can’t share, nor will anyone who uses their car to store tools or other belongings during the day, or parents dropping off kids, or shy people, or anyone who just likes silence….

I mean, sharing a car would be like a lift ride with a stranger that lasts 20 minutes. It wouldn’t have the collective anonymity of busses or trains.

Your own models show that ride sharing won’t work unless the majority of people share for most trips, and that is simply not a credible assumption.

I wonder if rather than evaluating evidence, Bringontheevidence is projecting his/her own biases towards anonymity (fairly obvious!) and against sharing, which fair-enough, may well be a generational thing:

“The success of ridesharing and carpooling systems is largely dependent on the insurgence of phenomena that lowered some psychological barriers preventing ridesharing between strangers during the early years of the industry. For instance, people that have profiles on social networking websites have greater risk taking attitudes, therefore are less affected by trust issues when it comes to sharing a ride with people they have never met.”

Eleonora Gargiulob et al “Dynamic ride sharing service: are users ready to adopt it?” in “Procedia Manufacturing” as part of a special issue for the 6th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2015), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2015.07.329

Renault’s focus with their EZ-GO concept planned for commercialisation in 2022 is to make everyone comfortable, even if they feel vulnerable or struggle to use traditional shared transport.

From https://cleantechnica.com/2018/03/09/ez-go-electric-self-driving-mobility-thing-renault/ :

The large expanse of glass on all sides is there for a reason. Surveys done by the company indicate people are not comfortable being in a closed vehicle with strangers. They want those outside to be able to see in and they want to be able to see out.

“For the shared pool mode, you might not always feel comfortable when you are in a normal car and passengers you don’t know are behind you,” Janin explains. “That’s why we decided to make this U-shape. People are more or less facing each other, so they can see everyone and say hello.”

“If you’re a woman and it’s late, you could ask for girls-only service. Then it becomes a riding pool with no driver and only women in the vehicle so that they will feel safe”

Capital Retro9:53 pm 15 May 18

“The original projections for the Gold Coast light rail had forecast that daily transit ridership in the Gold Coast region would increase by 59 per cent with the introduction of light rail, and that the trams & wider public transit network would reduce congestion by removing 40,000 car trips. By far, in the 3 years that the G:Link light rail system has been operating, this outcome has not been achieved.

The problem? While the daily ridership count on the light rail system had reportedly surpassed the initial projections for the line, it was found that most of this ridership was riders that may have already commuting by public transit on buses, before the light rail was introduced.”

This was quoted from a RMIT study done last year. It was also found that the Gold Coast ratepayers are subsidising the operation to the tune of $40 million a year.

It is important that the second stage of the trolley folly does not get any more oxygen.

Dorinda Lillington9:18 pm 16 May 18

We are going to have the same problem. I think that the user should pay but given that rates have gone up to pay for this mess I guess that wont be happening.

It’s good to see the Deakin Residents Association tackling the real issues faced by Deakin residents, such as the trees in front of Albert Hall (that aren’t in any danger, as was made clear last year: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/canberra-light-rail-options-for-stage-two-route-to-woden-revealed-20170501-gvw0by.html) bridges across London Circuit (that don’t need to be built, because the route doesn’t cross into Vernon Circle) and the location of charging stations in the Parliamentary Zone (that would obviously be included at every stop, as they are in Seville). Quality stuff.

bringontheevidence3:11 pm 15 May 18

“While Stage 1 presented obvious development opportunities along Northbourne Avenue, land use along Adelaide Avenue could not be varied, with the Curtin horse paddocks providing the only infill potential.“

Oh dear, I think Mr Wilson may have a shock coming.

He’s in for a surprise if he honestly thinks the ACT Government isn’t going to rezone all of the residential blocks within walking distance of the route as RZ3 or RZ4 medium density (as in Dickson), rezone the commercial areas and shops in Deakin as high density mixed use, infill the open space between the Adelaide and Denison (I think this has already been flagged, and probably realign the Yamba/Yarra Glen roundabout to free up some development space on the Hughes side.

And let’s not even start with how long he thinks the Feds will sit on land worth potentially hundreds of millions currently allocated to very low value uses (the Mint precinct and future embassy area).

I’m sure he’s also confident the Presbyterian church is going to turn up its nose at an 8 figure windfall profit for moving St Andrews and selling the land!

Lets say all that happened can you comment on how it would be a bad thing? Or why what is happening on Northbourne Ave is bad?

Fact is we need higher density housing and one would think roads like Northbourne and possibly Adelaide Ave would be the ideal candidates. Though personally I do think Adelaide Ave is stretching it a little bit the area the route takes through Barton and Forrest would be logical. Maybe that’s why they have decided to go that way.

And as usual I will state I don’t actually support stage 2. I think it should have went to Kingston instead of Woden due to the high density housing in that area.

There’s so many things wrong with this. Firstly, the reason why people object to high density housing is the appalling precedence set by the appalling developments in Combs, Wright and Flemington Road. Secondly, the direct monetary cost and opportunity cost to the ACT will far outweigh any benefits the light rail will provide. The project was only approved on the spurious “value capture” metric which means we all pay to subsidise the light rail users. Not happy. Thirdly, the destruction along Northbourne Ave is unforgivable. It matches Barr’s sterile industrial view for Canberra. The best thing to do is to scrap Stage 2, build a decent bus network and sink the remaining money to upgrading schools on the south side, preventing our hospital from being deregistered and looking after our suburbs.

Good grief, do you think people in the ’60s complained this much when the Government “destroyed” the Molonglo River to build Lake Burley Griffin? I imagine the complete obliteration of the natural riverside vegetation and massive earthworks (see: http://www.randomkaos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/LakeBurleyGriffin4.png) were far more confronting than the temporary absence of trees along Northbourne.

bringontheevidence11:22 pm 15 May 18

I actually think it would be a great thing, but I was trying to channel my inner nimby so I could empathise with the brutally oppressed residents of the inner south.

Hi Wing Nut, If the objection is to the quality of high density housing then the solution would be to improve building standards. This doesn’t have anything to do with light rail. Secondly. the “we all pay” argument applies to schools, hospitals and, yes, roads as well. “We all pay” for all the new roads in Gungahlin. Thirdly, the so-called destruction along Northbourne Ave is part of building infrastructure. There was a lot of “destruction” in Sydney Harbour when they built that pesky Bridge too.

the government has been advertising the densification strategy for at least the last 6-7 years and have won two elections through that period.

If people don’t like this version of land development and planning, then they should stop voting the government into power. The objections here seem decidedly of the Nimby kind.

The “we all pay” argument would hold water if we were talking about an essential public transport project that would be comparable to hospitals and the like.

But as the first stage has shown, the light rail is primarily a land development project, where a large proportion of the benefits are accrued by private landholders. The fact that “we all pay” for this private benefit is decidedly unfair.

chewy14, Canberra voters don’t agree with your opinion that light rail is not an essential public service. Maybe it isn’t to you but that doesn’t mean many other Canberrans won’t use and benefit from a comprehensive public transport system which includes light rail. Land development occurs alongside most transport corridors so it’s nothing new. Apart from benefits to developers it also benefits people who want to live near public transport.

Firstly Canberrans have never voted on whether light rail is an essential public transport service, so I dont know how you can claim voter support for such a notion.

Secondly, the government’s own figures showed that the cost benefit ratio for light rail was only 0.3 for the transport part of the project, meaning that it couldn’t be justified as a public transport project. So your argument falls apart.

The government’s own figures also showed a bus rapid transport system was far more cost effective on those grounds. If it was an essential public transport project, light rail wouldn’t have been chosen for implementation.

So the idea that this light rail is an essential public transport service that can be compared to hospitals or schools is simply wrong. A massive amount of the publically funded benefits accrue to private land holders and developers along the route, it’s decidedly unfair to those footing the bill.

Hi chewy14, the last election showed clear support for the light rail as it was a central plank of Labor Policy. That is how our system works. It would be unrealistic and unaffordable to have a referendum on every single issue that the Government deals with. Transport, education and health are all part of essential public services. This is the case whether a single individual uses them or not. We all pay for them. if you want to talk about cost-benefit ratio you may like to consider the cost of roads in Canberra. (However anti-light-rail folk rarely discuss this issue, probably because they like roads.) You seem to be having an argument about development along rail corridors however the development occurring along these corridors helps fund essential public transport. Buses are still a useful part of the mix but it is simply not possible for buses to maintain the entire public transport network. As in most growing cities, a comprehensive network is needed to cover increased population growth and density. Light rail fits the bill and this is why the government has chosen it and the voters supported that choice at the last election.

the election showed an overall level of support (mainly in the areas that would benefit from light rail).
It didn’t show anything about the project being an essential service, they basically pork barrelled votes in affected areas.

If you want to talk about the cost of roads, that’s fine I have no problem with valuing them in the same way. In general roads clearly are an essential service, but if the government started planning road infrastructure that clearly had cheaper options available for the same benefits then they would be in the same place.

There’s also clearly room for toll roads, congestion charging and the like to reduce costs in areas where road infrastructure clearly has high private benefits that aren’t hugely exceeded by public benefits. The Majura Parkway would have been a good recent candidate.

I have no problem with development along the main transport corridors, I have problems with the funding methods for a land development project (once again, the government’s own figures show it’s not transport based), that is publically funded but delivers such large private benefits to mostly already well off landholders.

If the government wanted to move forward with such a project, a direct levy on landholders along the route should have been charged. They didn’t do this for the simple reason that it would have cost them votes and would have provided a far more objective analysis as to how valuable the electorate actually believed the project to be. Offering “free” stuff paid for by others is far easier to sell.

The government’s own analysis showed BRT was far cheaper and delivered almost identical benefits. When capacity demanded it, Light rail could have been looked at in a few decades but it’s likely the preferred transport modes will change considerably in that time.

Both roads and rail are essential to moving people around a modern city Chewy. People voted not just for the Gungahlin line, but for the project as a whole. The network design was transparent at the time of the last election. It’s a bit of a pipe dream to think direct levies would be feasible with major projects, such as hospitals and transport. It would be impossible to administer effectively and, frankly, there is little support for such a proposal. I don’t think you need fear the loss of the bus system as it is pretty clear how it will fit into the transport network. There will still definitely be a major focus on buses but for major transport corridors they are becoming overloaded. This is why a light rail network was chosen. Governments need to make decisions to meet future, as well as current, needs.

Any transport mode should have benefits that significantly outweigh the costs.

Should Queanbeyan have a rail system to move people around a “modern” city or is their size and population density too small to support such a system with the cost too great?

The idea that we voted for an uncosted and unscoped project at the last election is laughable.

And a direct levy would be simple to administer, a sliding additional payment would simply be added to the rates payments of those who lived within a certain distance on the route over the next few years. 1km would suffice, and it was even proposed before the govenrnment realised how politically unpalatable it would be to actually accurately gauge support for the project.

I don’t fear a loss of the bus system (or any system), I want the government to use their taxation revenue in the most efficient manner. And if the government was actually planning for the future needs of the city, they wouldn’t have installed light rail now because of the expense and the opportunity cost of doing so.

The light rail is a massive white elephant that supports politician’s egos far more than it does any transport need.

Capital Retro11:54 am 18 May 18

People in Canberra have always lived near public transport and in fact, the modal change to a slower tram service will mean more people will be further from public transport because of the withdrawal of existing bus services.

There is already a rail link between Queanbeyan and Canberra, although not light rail. If the service were to be improved in future years, also possibly taking Goulburn into account, there would be benefits in people being able to commute to Canberra. However as to whether or not Queanbeyan should have its own light rail system is up to a different jurisdiction of government. You might ask the same question of Tamworth, Wagga or Dubbo. Generally there needs to be a reasonable population level for light rail, which is why it is mainly being implemented in capital cities. There were detailed scoping studies proving the suitability of Canberra for such a system. The least efficient system of transport would be private motor vehicles carrying one person only, which leads to traffic congestion. Whichever way you look at it Chewy, the light rail system has been chosen and voted upon and is being implemented. Maybe best to just give it a try. “Massive white elephant” phrases don’t really add much to the debate and have been around since the Opera House was built in Sydney (gosh what a massive white elephant!) and probably go back to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“There were detailed scoping studies proving the suitability of Canberra for such a system”

Are you seriously trying to quote the studies that I’ve been referencing that shows it was specifically NOT viable as a transport project, in support of your position?

I don’t care what the least efficient system is, I care what the most efficient is and the government’s own figures shows that light rail wasn’t it. Their own figures that shows that the project is predominantly a land development project, not a transport one.

And the fact that it has been voted on doesn’t suddenly make it more viable or efficient, it simply means that people’s votes are relatively easy to bribe when they think they’re getting “free” stuff that they’re too ignorant to actually be able to assess the value of.

“Massive white elephant” phrases don’t really add much to the debate “

Which is why I’ve provided you with factual information as to why the project is not an essential public transport project and why it should have been funded in an alternative manner if the government wanted to push forward on its implementation now.

Capital Retro2:07 pm 18 May 18

“The least efficient system of transport would be private motor vehicles carrying one person only, which leads to traffic congestion. “

It’s totally disingenuous to say that because you are aware, but may choose to deny, that Canberra was designed for motor vehicles to be the main method of transport.

Most of the time, one person driving one car is the only way (and the guaranteed way) to get business done and partake in recreational activities. That’s why 93% of us choose to do it by car.

While I respect your knowledge on contemporary Canberra I don’t need the excessive spin you are putting on some of your responses and I am sure I speak for a lot of others following this thread.

By the way, the Sydney Opera House is a good analogy to use in this argument in that its construction was largely funded by voluntary lotteries; not so for our light rail in Canberra. Maybe it could have been done that way?

In conclusion, I believe that while it is a bit harsh for our light rail to be called “a white elephant” there are some common threads with the lottery concept namely the Sydney Opera House was funded by lotteries and the Canberra light rail is one.

Capital retro your points are valid re the car. But that doesn’t change the fact that it IS the most inefficient mode of transport and the fact it has always been that way is not a reason to look to other ways to skin the cat.

Capital which buses are being withdrawn as a result of light rail that will make people further away from existing bus services? Curious as not seen any plan.

Hi Retro, actually Canberra was not “designed for cars” – it was designed for people; it just happened to be designed at a time when motor cars were the new transport technology. You should also note that a light rail or ‘tram’ system was built in to the original design. My point about pmv use being the most expensive and inefficient transport system reflects upon the way modern cities operate and the need to move a large number of people around. This is why the light rail network is being developed and implemented. For your own personal use, sure, a pmv trip is convenient (as long as lots of other people don’t think the same way – resulting in congestion.) You don’t need to speak for others on this thread, they can speak for themselves. However the majority of Canberrans appear to have spoken in favour of a light rail, whilst still retaining bus and pmv use, in addition to walking and cycling of course. As you can see, there are a number of ways to get around and it’s great to have the choice.

Chewy I’m afraid you haven’t actually provided any figures from the ACT Government which say “Actually the light rail isn’t viable”..It would be very surprising if such statements existed. I certainly don’t consider that our fellow Canberrans are being “bribed” to vote in a certain way. It’s tempting of course to define “essential” to one’s own personal lifestyle, however governments have to govern for everyone.

I said not viable as a transport project because it is a land development project.

Seeing as you were apparently referencing the scoping studies that show the “suitability” of light rail, I assumed you’d actually read them and the associated cost benefit analysis.
If you want an easy link, read the auditors report on the initiation of the project for an overview. If you actually want to be informed, read the investigation and planning reports.


And I think you’d really struggle to define something as “essential” when it costs three times as much as equivalent alternatives.

Define “efficiency”?

A car can deliver you from your own house to any destination you choose, in a far quicker timeframe than all public transport modes in this city.

Efficiency depends on what you value, if flexibility, speed and factors like comfort are what you value, a car is far more efficient.

Capital Retro8:18 am 19 May 18

As the car is the only way, it can’t be called it the most inefficient way because there is nothing else available to compare it with. Autonomous trams have yet to be invented.

At the end of the day common sense beats spin, every time.

Capital Retro8:20 am 19 May 18

It happens everywhere else where trams are introduced so watch this space.

Capital Retro8:27 am 19 May 18

Where is the future growth and demand coming from that will need all this new high density housing?

Canberra has no heavy industry, the public service is likely to shrink through technology and decentralisation and the education sector is vulnerable to global competition. Tourism certainly will not mop it up either.

I’d like to hear your ideas on where Canberra is going in the medium term.

However by that reckoning Chewy no transport is essential. You seem to be caught up in a definition of “essential’. For those people who rely on pubic transport, whether rail, bus or ferry, to get to work, then it certainly is an essential service. If you rely on a private motor vehicle to get to work, then all the infrastructure associated with that form of transport is an essential service. Your claims about the supposed unaffordability of light rail appear to be wrong in that it is less than 1% of the Territory Budget. As to viability, the associated land development around light rail corridors certainly prove the project’s viability.

Ah so no actual evidence that people will be further away from bus stops except the vibe and experience elsewhere. I am curious though where this elsewhere experience is?

So now you agree with me that it’s a land development project (and an extremely marginal one at that).

“However by that reckoning Chewy no transport is essential”

Most transport project have benefits that far outweigh costs so I’m unsure of what you’re talking about?

And 1% of the total budget is actually a huge amount for a territory whose revenue is largely provided by fixed federal grants and whose expenditure is also largely recurrent on health, education and the like. For a project that will barely service 10% of the population.

Seems like this conversation is coming to an end as all do around this project. I’ve provided the evidence, sourced from the government’s own figures and your argument ignores them to prefer emotion over facts.

It’s OK to say you want light rail despite the facts, but you should at least acknowledge that the evidence doesn’t support it.

Hi Chewy, I think you understand that a major infrastructure project such as light rail can have multiple benefits; this is what the land development attests to. You may think it to be a marginal benefit but the growth along rail corridors (not just in Canberra but in other cities as well) disproves your theory. Less than 1% isn’t a huge amount of the budget unless you are already predisposed against light rail. If that is the case then any amount of budgetary spending will upset you. I have yet to see any Government documents stating that light rail is not viable, rather this appears to be something extrapolated from those opposing light rail. If you are talking about who benefits from the project by just using the sample of Gungahlin then it’s a false assumption as the light rail services North Canberra as well. I doubt whether any amount of logic will sway those who have set their minds against any type of light rail system.

Yes, there can be multiple benefits. But as a transport project with a cost benefit ratio of 1.2, the majority of which comes from land development and a large proportion of which is extremely questionable, I have my very real doubts.

Logic would sway me to the viability of the project if you or anyone else could have provided some.

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