Transport study for Northbourne Avenue

johnboy 11 March 2011 50
Northbourne Avenue

Chief Minister Stanhope has announced a study into sorting out the ever more congested Northbourne Avenue.

He seems to be leaning towards a major bus station (and one imagines car park) in Dickson to shuttle people into the City.

Consulting firm URS has been appointed to conduct the study, which will cover the section of Northbourne Avenue from Flemington Road to the City. Also included in the study is an investigation of a bus station in Dickson to increase the uptake of public transport.

Mr Stanhope said URS would work closely with the National Capital Authority to identify the nationally significant characteristics of the corridor. The study will protect and enhance these characteristics while delivering improved reliability, more efficient bus services and a dedicated cycling route.

“The study is due for completion in the third quarter of this year and will involve targeted consultation with community representatives, community councils and key interest groups,” Mr Stanhope said.


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Watson Watson 3:07 pm 22 Mar 11

Gungahlin Al said :

No-one is talking about shutting down a lane of Northbourne, but rather adding a lane to the outside each way.

I am. Building an extra lane is way too expensive and there wouldn’t be enough room left for bikes and pedestrians.

Lots here don’t seem to realise what a luxury it is to be able to drive everywhere. In European cities where road expansion is even more limted due to a medieval desigh and heritate listed buildings and streets, they gave up on trying to cater for the ever increasing number of cars long time ago. Their strategy for the past decades has been: reduce car parking in city centre or make them prohibitively expensive and reduce lanes available to cars on roads into the city by making more bike lanes, bus lanes and tramways. Thus creating more and more incentives for people to leave the car at home.

Mind you, they also gave up on trying to make a profit of public transport a long time ago. What they save on having to build new or repair old roads and carparks, the spend on funding public transport.

Innovation Innovation 8:42 pm 13 Mar 11

I’m having trouble posting so if this appears three times – sorry.

Google Maps says that Northbourne Avenue (from Barton Highway to London Circuit) is 4.5 km and should take .. cough cough.. 7 minutes. I know it’s not up there with Sydney congestion but “20 minutes” (and I’m pretty sure some trips take me longer) is pretty poor for Canberra (and I have to do it four times a day!).

After reading other posts is there space on the median strip (amongst the cabling) for one transit (eg bus + T3) lane? Useage of that lane could alternate for am or pm traffic.

I love shadowboxer’s idea of banning East-West through traffic and right hand turns at some intersections in peak hour but how would pedestrians get across? If it wasn’t for pedestrians, I would suggest implementing this for five lights at Alinga, Rudd/Bunda, Gould/Elouera, Masson/Girrawheen, Condamine/Ipima. It could even be done at London Circuit if people do the loop. That would leave 7 lights at Barry/Cooyong, Wakefield/Macarthur, the pedestrian lights near Morphett St, Mouatt/Antill, Barton Highway, Phillip Avenue and Flemington Rd. Some of these might even warrant overpasses.

Another option might be to turn some intersections into traffic light controlled roundabouts (eg, Northbound traffic could go simultaneously with Westbound traffic and Southbound traffic could go simultaneously with Eastbound traffic).

farnarkler farnarkler 4:37 pm 13 Mar 11

Athryn said :

LIGHT RAIL!!!!!!! FFS Give us light rail!!

Athryn please emlighten us on how is this light rail going to be funded? Have you looked at the cost of the Gold Coast light rail? I can’t imagine one here is going to be any cheaper than the close to $1 billion theirs cost.

bigfeet bigfeet 3:14 pm 13 Mar 11

I travel down Northbourne every weekday at about 7.30am. From Flemington Rd to Commonwealth Avenue Bridge rarely takes more than about 15 minutes.

Even if I start work later and go down Northbourne at 8.30am it only adds about 5 minutes to the trip.

I really don’t see this congestion that people complain about.

ML-585 ML-585 2:10 pm 13 Mar 11

Gungahlin Al said :

Tony Gill [said they] can’t put a bus lane there because the brainwaves in the NCA over the years (and even just last year) allowed the spooks, telcos and ever other mob with a backhoe to lay cables and other crap down the middle.

Can’t see how this precludes a median bus lane – just makes it more expensive. A transit lane subject to the same traffic lights as all other traffic will not help matters much. Best option is to put buses into their own reserve and give them traffic light priority.

Buzz2600 said :

A bus station in Dickson will require a major upgrade to parking/traffic improvement etc for an already car-saturated disaster zone.

In the meantime, why not utilise the parking available in the Exhibition Park/Racecourse areas and have the park & ride start there? Free parking might encourage people to ditch the car. Nothing else will entice people onto buses in Canberra.

The Dickson Bus Station is NOT intended as a Park n Ride station, just a single point where all Dickson/Northbourne services connect. It would be essential if a median bus lane were built as it would allow passengers to swap between the limited stop (express) services and those which would use all Northbourne stops.

shadow boxer shadow boxer 1:08 pm 13 Mar 11

So are these magic buses going to stop for traffic lights ?. Are they all express or do they stop at the bus stops ?

If the proposal is seriously an extra lane then i’m a big supporter as the white elephant at epic wont matter, somehow I doubt it though, I also don’t see any need for more than 3 cross streets during peak hour, Antill, Wakefield and Bunda should do, the rest of lights should be green during peak hour

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 11:14 am 13 Mar 11

shadow boxer said :

thy_dungeonman said :

To everyone who complains about buses holding up traffic, I should point out that if the same number of people on that bus (50) were each driving a car then they would be holding you up for a lot longer. Car users should be thankful that others are not using the roads in such an inefficient manner and leaving them and the car-parks clearer. As for transport solutions I really think that cycle paths are a low hanging fruit that the government ignores, build a 2m path that is direct, connected and well maintained (far cheaper than a road) and people will have greater incentive to cycle than if they have to ride alongside angry motorists or ride on cracked, overgrown footpaths that lead nowhere.

Rubbish, 50 cars travelling unimpeded down northbourne is much faster than bus stopping to let people on and off. Even an express bus will only get there seconds faster. Remove the buses from northbourne (and 5 sets of traffic lights during peak hour and everyone gets there faster.

Closing a lane of northbourne to traffic with crace and bonner about to come on line is insane. Running all the buses from epic to dickson, down cowper and through braddon to the interchange makes a lot of sense

“50 more cars travelling unimpeded down Northbourne”? You so crack me up. In what dream world would that be? Take out the buses and throw all those people into a car each and you could forget “unimpeded” until maybe 11am every weekday!

And perhaps a re-read of the earlier comments is in order? No-one is talking about shutting down a lane of Northbourne, but rather adding a lane to the outside each way.

For those discussing free parking at EPIC, agreed – this is what GCC has been proposing since 2008. And there’s is no need to ‘plonk down a new carpark’ there – it already exists. EPIC supports the idea (I’ve discussed it with the manager), and the Gov’t could progressively seals section of the carpark as usage increases (in a good permeable surface!). It only needs better lighting, security cameras, and a good setdown area. Because once this is in place, then the Gungahlin suburban routes could all terminate at EPIC. Then shuttle buses could run every 5 minutes for the rest of the trip. And that would fix the stupid conga lines that happen, and by so doing, further free up congestion on Northbourne and in the city bus interchange.

And when Morriset Rd is built soon, it will be able to cut off NSW commuters who currently rat run through Watson, Hackett and Ainslie.

You know it makes sense…

Deref Deref 10:26 am 13 Mar 11

All they need to do to fix Northbourne Ave is to complete the GDE an synchronise the traffic lights.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:26 am 13 Mar 11

I have conducted my own transport study for Northbourne Ave.

The results were conclusive.

Avoid at all costs.

Innovation Innovation 9:32 am 13 Mar 11

Free parking at EPIC, regular busses, a transit lane, priority for transit lanes at synchronised traffic lights and discounted (eg $2.00) bus fares would more than make up for the time busses spend stopping regularly to pick up passengers and possibly even be cheaper for some individuals than the cost of fuel used in their car let alone parking in the city.

On the southside some people obviously already can justify free parking near the Albert Hall and full bus fare to travel to and from the city. In the same vein, any improvement on the Southside surely would help to increase ACTION patronage.

Also, I suspect some traffic lights at least in the city centre are already synchronised but assume an average speed of around 60km/h which is pointless in stop start traffic or for anyone who starts from a red light and doesn’t exceed the speed limit at some point.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:27 pm 12 Mar 11

What about making parking at EPIC free, and running buses to the city every 5-10 minutes from there? That would surely reduce congestion from the north. Then think about an area where you get southsiders heading to the city to park, and offer the same service. I think there’d be far more incentive to get onto public transport if you could find a way to fit in with those who have to drop kids at school, then head to the city.

Shadow Boxer raises a good point – are people really going to go through several steps taking time and effort rather than drive? Maybe, but only we if make it work for them.

Getting cars out of the city to reduce congestion and hassle is a great idea, it just requires some sensible thinking to go with it.

thy_dungeonman thy_dungeonman 6:05 pm 12 Mar 11

shadow boxer said :

Rubbish, 50 cars travelling unimpeded down northbourne is much faster than bus stopping to let people on and off. Even an express bus will only get there seconds faster. Remove the buses from northbourne (and 5 sets of traffic lights during peak hour and everyone gets there faster.

Closing a lane of northbourne to traffic with crace and bonner about to come on line is insane. Running all the buses from epic to dickson, down cowper and through braddon to the interchange makes a lot of sense

Except those 50 cars are impeded by another 50 cars which are impeded by another 50 etc. The road can only handle so many cars. Having more buses, although it impedes cars, reduces the potential amount of cars on the road out-ways the inconvenience caused by the speed of the buses, a bus can’t block as much traffic as 50 cars waiting for another 50 cars etc. Also with buses contribute less to road wear than the equivalent volume of cars, and it’s road works that really seem to be holding up the traffic recently.

farnarkler farnarkler 4:16 pm 12 Mar 11

Why bother using Northbourne when there are viable alternatives driving through Lyneham/O’Connor/Turner or Dickson/Braddon/Reid?

shadow boxer shadow boxer 4:12 pm 12 Mar 11

thy_dungeonman said :

To everyone who complains about buses holding up traffic, I should point out that if the same number of people on that bus (50) were each driving a car then they would be holding you up for a lot longer. Car users should be thankful that others are not using the roads in such an inefficient manner and leaving them and the car-parks clearer. As for transport solutions I really think that cycle paths are a low hanging fruit that the government ignores, build a 2m path that is direct, connected and well maintained (far cheaper than a road) and people will have greater incentive to cycle than if they have to ride alongside angry motorists or ride on cracked, overgrown footpaths that lead nowhere.

Rubbish, 50 cars travelling unimpeded down northbourne is much faster than bus stopping to let people on and off. Even an express bus will only get there seconds faster. Remove the buses from northbourne (and 5 sets of traffic lights during peak hour and everyone gets there faster.

Closing a lane of northbourne to traffic with crace and bonner about to come on line is insane. Running all the buses from epic to dickson, down cowper and through braddon to the interchange makes a lot of sense

thy_dungeonman thy_dungeonman 11:57 am 12 Mar 11

To everyone who complains about buses holding up traffic, I should point out that if the same number of people on that bus (50) were each driving a car then they would be holding you up for a lot longer. Car users should be thankful that others are not using the roads in such an inefficient manner and leaving them and the car-parks clearer. As for transport solutions I really think that cycle paths are a low hanging fruit that the government ignores, build a 2m path that is direct, connected and well maintained (far cheaper than a road) and people will have greater incentive to cycle than if they have to ride alongside angry motorists or ride on cracked, overgrown footpaths that lead nowhere.

Innovation Innovation 9:09 am 12 Mar 11

Great photo. Was it peak hour? I think I can see a bicycle in the distance….. Great to see that bicycles are using the lane so heavily.

My suggestions for some options are:
1/ Allow motorcycles to use the bicycle lanes but speed limit them to 30km/h ( many bicycles easily exceed this speed, it is not viable for everyone to ride bicycles and more motorbikes mean less cars)
2/ Convert a lane to a dedicated transit lane and allow T2 or T3 in the lane (they do work as well as any other road rule and don’t require an increased police presence)
3/ Get EPIC parking working, make it free (at least initally) irrespective of whether the driver catches a bus, and introduce regular eg 5 minute busses down Northbourne Avenue. The frequency and speed with which busses and car pools could get to the city down express lanes would get a lot more than a couple of hundred off the road;
4/ Introduce a discounted (eg, $2.00) bus fair for the EPIC to city run. This would create a greater incentive to use busses, should be easy to implement with the new smartcard system and would better reflect the cost of running busses at high passenger load over a short distance (ie it stops ACTION using profits from this run to subsidise losses incurred from other runs);
5/ Consider introducing a small (nominal) congestion fee at peak times on Northbourne Avenue and the city (this should be easy to administer with the use of Etags).
6/ Abandon the idea of light rail (unless it is possible to run light rail down the middle over all of that cabling). It is rigid, requires expensive additional infrastructure and Canberra doesn’t have the population to sustain it.

buzz819 buzz819 8:25 am 12 Mar 11

I think everyone should use public transport, go on, everyone use it. Because then when I drive to work, I wont have to look for a car park, or get held up by traffic, GLORIOUS!

You want another reason? How about we make it so places the Canberra Centre and other “Public car parks” have to compete for business by lowering there fee’s, not by raising them steadily because people have to use them.

Light Rail would be good, using it to run between the major centres, Gungahlin to Civic, Belconnen to Civic, Belconnen to Gungahlin, Woden to Tuggeranong etc. Then ACTION could focus on just running people from the suburbs to the rail stations, they couldn’t stuff that up much. Plenty of roads where light rail will fit aswell, Northbourne, Belconnen Way, Adelaide Ave, Athllon Drive, Flemington Road….

But then we don’t really have any money…

shadow boxer shadow boxer 11:11 pm 11 Mar 11

You need the benefits of a public transport solution explained to you? Here goes:
The ACTION Redex service already goes from EPIC to Barton without changeover. At present it is crippled by the traffic on Northbourne. Construct a dedicated transport corridor and the trip would take about 15-20 minutes, tops. Plonk a football field-size carpark near Mitchell and connect it to some major arterial roads to avoid congestion. Make parking free for bus users or package it into a discounted payment structure.
Whether you feel such a service would be worth $5.50 a day is up to you, but it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Well you do need to apply a bit of brain power.

The busses already have a dedicated lane, they pull in and out of the bus stops with a total right of way, the only people inconvenienced are the traffic chaos behind them. Even a dedicated commute lane would be lucky to make 4 or 5 minutes difference and would still have to stop at every traffic light and for every bus that stops in front of it.

You might be lucky and pull a couple of hundred people onto the busses, but the traffic remaining will now be funneled down two lanes. More rat running, more congestion, better to just get rid of them off the main road and onto the back streets.

Most people having made it as far as epic will just continue to rat run Ainslie.

Aeek Aeek 10:15 pm 11 Mar 11

That’s a great photo for showing that removing the bike lane would do nothing – still 3 lanes.

arescarti42 arescarti42 9:29 pm 11 Mar 11

Better public transport really is the only solution to this problem. Even if you were to magically build an elevated express road above Northbourne that was 8 lanes wide and ran at freeway speeds straight from Gungahlin through to the city, it still doesn’t fix the parking problems or the fact that the streets in the city centre are pretty clogged with cars as it is.

As Keijidosha points out, the experience of the Americans (who have a lot more money to spend on road infrastructure than Australia by the way) is that more roads just encourages more people to drive, and you end up with horrible congestion anyway.

Dedicated bus lanes with a park and ride facility at EPIC sounds excellent to me, I’m not sure why you’d locate it at Dickson. Of course a rail based system is really what we should be aiming for.

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