As the ACT Government prepares for Stage 2 of light rail, fasten your seatbelts because it promises to be a wild ride.
No, I’m not talking about the cost or the speed of light rail, it’s more to do with the reaction from Canberrans when there is even the slightest impact on travel time.
There is already disquiet at what can, at best, be termed moderate travel delays. Not surprising really in a growing city, and minor when compared with daily traffic jams experienced in Sydney or Melbourne.
The low tolerance level among Canberrans is probably best exhibited when roads are closed for sporting events such as cycle races or triathlons. We see this lack of tolerance when impatient, self-righteous motorists force cyclists off the road.
That frustration has reached Olympic proportions a couple of times.
It reached its zenith during the three-year duration of the Canberra 400 V8 Super Car race between 2000 and 2002.
It was the time to be alive, as the Parliamentary Triangle was closed off before, during and after the race.
Morning talkback radio and letters to the editor became consumed with disgruntled motorists impacted by the road closures.
There was a suggestion that the significant cost of hosting the event determined its demise, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the disruption created by the road closures and the subsequent outrage was at least a contributing factor.
Another in my top five was the reaction when parts of Civic were blocked off for a criterion as part of the Commonwealth Bank Cycling Classic.
The race, which took place several times during the 1990s, featured a street leg in Canberra.
The inconvenience, as you can well imagine, didn’t sit well with plenty of Canberrans.
There seems to be something about Canberrans and cycling. You either love the use of roads for cyclists and wish there were more roads closed, and if this happened, believe it encourages more people to cycle; or you don’t! I confess I am firmly entrenched in the cyclist camp.
I can envisage Canberra being the home of major road cycling events in Australia.
Then there is a section of the community who deplore everything about cyclists and cycling events, resulting in high blood pressure at the mere mention of cycling and, heaven forbid, road closures.
As I said at the start, if the tolerance level among Canberrans to cyclists and cycling races is anything to go by, it’s going to be a wild couple of years.