28 July 2021

What kind of density will work along light rail to Woden?

| Ian Bushnell
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Light rail render

Light rail on Adelaide Avenue. The southern corridor will provide different development challenges from the north. Images: ACT Government.

Development along the light rail route to Woden is likely to include apartments of some kind but not to the same density as on Northbourne Avenue.

Planning Institute of Australia ACT Division Vice-President Imogen Featherstone says the journey to Woden probably requires any new development to be considered in a different context to Northbourne where the tone had already been set by established multi-storey buildings in the approach to the city.

“It’s built form was already established and it was very clear that it would continue in that fashion,” she said.

But the run to Woden will provide different challenges.

“That’s the next thing that the community needs to consider thoughtfully: what is the response that actually makes sense for the people to use it [light rail] but is sympathetic to the national significance within the landscape?”

READ ALSO Study to identify potential urban infill along light rail Stage 2B

That doesn’t rule out high density at some points because Ms Featherstone argues that there was not much point in having a line to Woden if there aren’t people living along the expensive bit of infrastructure to support it.

But the levels of density and building types will have to be appropriate for their proposed location and environment. That will mean considering the views and vistas that are very much a part of the national capital.

“We need to be mindful of those national significant areas while ensuring we have a city for now and into the future and for future generations,” she said.

Ms Featherstone was responding to news that the ACT Government had contracted a consultant to identify potential urban infill along the route.

The North Curtin Horse Paddocks

The North Curtin Horse Paddocks. The area in pink is now national land, but the unmarked strip next to Yarra Glen is ACT land earmarked for future development as part of the light rail corridor.

She said the Planning Institute supported density that creates a more compact interconnected equitable city – and that meant density connected to hubs and transport routes.

Bad density was putting people where they don’t have access to services, schools, employment opportunities and they became more reliant on their cars, she said.

Ms Featherstone said there was likely to be a mix of building types, including multi-storey apartments, on the ACT-owned horse paddock land on Yarra Glen, given Curtin was closer to the city than other suburbs further out that do have apartments.

But the area should be developed holistically as a precinct so you don’t have, for example, 10 storeys next to a single-level house.

Ms Featherstone said that idea was something the ACT was still grappling with from a planning point of view.

“We’re still coming to identify what is density in this city and what is an appropriate response to density and into the future,” she said.

“We’re all grappling with what that looks like.”

READ MORE: Two city car parks to become light rail compounds next month

The good news is that the urban infill study consultant has been tasked with taking a precinct perspective, rather than block by block, emphasising identifying opportunities for more medium-density housing, the so-called ‘missing middle’.

The study will look at five areas – the North Curtin horse paddocks, West Deakin, the Phillip/Woden Town Centre, Mawson and the rest of the corridor.

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Capital Retro11:09 am 30 Jul 21

Canberra’s ventures in to light rail have never been about a perspective of improving public transport. It is solely about “urban renewal” which in the case of Stage 1 (slums in Northbourne Avenue) it may have just scraped in as acceptable although replacement (future) slums were quickly built along Flemington Road.

Given that the definition of urban renewal is: “the act of revitalizing a failing urban area in order to restore economic vitality and improve the safety of the area.”, the planned Woden stage has been decided on a totally false premise. In fact it is close to a joint venture between ACT Revenue, building and construction unions and developers.

Finally Relented8:04 am 30 Jul 21

Don’t forget this will mean traffic lights all the way down Adelaide Ave. So traffic flow gone. Unless they put in overpasses…..lol

The three stops in Adelaide Ave are planned for intersections that already have under or over passes. So no extra lights required.

Capital Retro7:03 pm 30 Jul 21

Assuming the trams run down the middle and they put platforms under the bridges they will still have to have traffic lights to allow pedestrians to cross to the platforms, from both sides.

No they won’t At all 4 planned stops the roadways the stop will service are either higher or lower than Adelaide Ave. So they will need steps/lift up or down to surrounding roadway.

Hopeton and Kent streets are down and Carruthers is up relative to the stop.

And yes the plan is to use the median along Adelaide Ave.

Capital Retro1:49 pm 31 Jul 21

Thanks for following up on that JC. I did think of it as the only alternate way it could be done however the cost and maintenance will be enormous and the inconvenience to people using the trams will be a great disincentive to use the “shiny, new” mode of travel.

It will just make people want to keep using their cars or stick with the existing bus routes.

ChrisinTurner5:40 pm 29 Jul 21

Interesting to see Mawson being examined for development when there are no plans for the tram to go to Mawson.

“Featherstone argues that there was not much point in having a line to Woden if there aren’t people living along the expensive bit of infrastructure to support it.”
There is not enough demand in Woden to justify a tramline so the ACT Greens/Labor/Geocon/tram consortium plans to remove the trees, the fields, the green spaces and the open views to build more apartments and densify the route so there is enough people to use the tram to justify its cost. Clearly, the purpose of the tramline is not to solve a commuting problem but enrich developers. Winners are the Greens/Labor/GeoCon/tram consortium. Losers are you and me.

Let’s see. Fill up the strip with ‘high quality’ 4-6 story residential. Don’t forget some shrubbery around the edges. Chuck in a coffee shop & 7-11 to satisfy commercial. Install a set of traffic lights on Yarra Glen for the light rail stop. Hey and demolish that very car-centric overpass while you’re at it, and maybe pop in another set of lights on the Cotter Road adjacent DunRossil for that Yarralumla development. Done – who needs a consultant.

g210: clearly they need a consultant – to route the Tram§ from Civic to Woden via Mawson! Thinking outside the box there – more opportunities to build more boxes, just what we don’t need to accommodate the grossly inflated population we don’t want: and accommodate them like battery hens to maximise profits (to developers and their ‘stakeholders’).

§ – glad to see everyone referring to Trams not LRVs ??

No doubt once we’ve ruined Adelaide Avenue and Yarra Glen (not to mention the damage North of APH) we will lose the effective and efficient inter-town bus services that actually work.

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