11 August 2021

Will this help solve the Molonglo traffic puzzle?

| Ian Bushnell
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Molonglo Valley traffic

It’s a long haul out of the Molonglo Valley in the morning. The study will review all the road links. Photo: File.

A new study will gauge the impact the development of the Molonglo Valley will have on traffic flowing into the Tuggeranong Parkway and Parkes Way, and what the surrounding roads network will need to absorb it.

The Molonglo development will be part of a wider study of Parkes Way and the South-West Corridor from Kings Avenue to Tharwa Drive, and follows an infrastructure study already underway.

Already under pressure from increasing traffic volumes, the Tuggeranong Parkway and Parkes Way, without further upgrades, are expected to suffer even more peak hour gridlock, especially when accidents occur, due to ongoing land releases and population growth in the west of Canberra, combined with the densification of town centres.

Molonglo residents are already suffering from having only one escape route along John Gorton Drive to Cotter Road or the Parkway, with choke points generating peak hour traffic jams.

The ACT Government has flagged an additional northbound lane between Cotter Road and the Glenloch Interchange and a new connection from the Molonglo Valley to the Parkway to ease the pressure, known as the Molonglo East/West arterial.

The Parkway takes over 4,000 vehicles per hour in peak times and over 40,000 every day.

Tender documents say the successful consultant will develop a corridor plan, including upgrade options for Parkes Way and the South West Corridor, and review transport links to support the continued development of the Molonglo Valley.

This will involve traffic modelling for each decade to 2051 along the corridor and the key roads into and out of Molonglo and identifying necessary roadworks that will reduce congestion, make the road network safer and improve freight efficiency.

Tuggeranong Parkway

The increasingly under pressure Tuggeranong Parkway and the Cotter Road overpass. Photo: File.

The study will also estimate the cost of roadworks and project staging to determine optimal timing and scope of works to reduce potential impacts on the community.

The Molonglo Valley is expected to eventually accommodate about 55,000 people, with Wright and Coombs largely complete, and the rest of Denman Prospect, Molonglo, and three to four other suburbs, including parts of Whitlam, to be released.

The traffic assessment aims to identify the impact on the arterial road network within and around the Molonglo Valley, find likely solutions to these issues, and confirm whether the proposed internal road network in the Molonglo developments is adequate.

The overall project will have to consider the construction of light rail Stage 2, the development of West Basin, future land releases in the city, a possible city stadium on the Civic pool site on Parkes Way, and the proposed UNSW Canberra campus in Reid.

It will also need to consider the potential future development of the Western edge area beyond Weston Creek, Molonglo and Belconnen.

The government is expecting a Corridor Strategy report to be delivered by August 2022.

The tender closes on 27 August.

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I think the key to future-proofing traffic flow into / out of Molonglo (and surrounds) will be to make the investment now to turn key arterials such as John Gorton Drive, Cotter Road and William Hovell Dr into true expressways. i.e. remove traffic lights and install overpasses and proper on / off ramps. Every city I can think of that has good traffic flow is generally because it makes good use of expressways. And how to improve the flow of Parkes Way? Get rid of those ridiculous roundabouts that it flows into!!!!!

So no fix just another report?

michael quirk7:47 am 14 Aug 21

The traffic chaos in Molonglo, reflects the abandonment of evidence-based planning by the Barr-Rattenbury government. The government has failed to analyse the merits of alternative development futures, with platitudes replacing assessment

Its 2019 “strategy” failed to assess what the optimal level of intensification should be or where it should be prioritised, did not assess the cost of augmenting existing infrastructure, the implications of restricting detached housing supply in the Territory the merits of alternative greenfield areas including Kowen, the effectiveness of policies to reduce travel including the direction of employment to locations well served by public transport or housing preferences. No analysis was undertaken to demonstrate light rail was more cost effective than alternatives such as bus rapid transport. The timing of road infrastructure, residential and commercial land releases in Molonglo have been botched.

Increases in working from home, improving electric bus technology could well mean the extremely expensive and disruptive light rail is unnecessary. The government has not explained how the its infrastructure priorities were determined.

For Canberra to become an exemplar of how to manage city growth, as it was up to the 1990s, a comprehensive review of the metropolitan plan is required. The light rail extension and proposals to increase density in Yarralumla and Deakin should be deferred until the review is completed and Canberra’s development is placed on a sound foundation.

I am a little puzzled that the planners did not predict the impact of the extra traffic generated by the Molonglo development. Surely they estimated the number of people who would live there and the approximate traffic generated? Or maybe they were all meant to get on their bicycles.

I think you know the answer to your question Nick.
Something called common sense

I believe that the “planners” are developers that have one goal. To make as much money out of every acre of land that they develop.

Surrounding infrastructure does not seem to be on their radar.
Maybe a levy on every residence built would help the government build infrastructure.

It’s a joke that when it rains and Coppins Crossing floods that the whole of Molonglo has two lanes in and out.

The planners in Canberra are incompetent.

That is not hyperbole, but the truth.

If you doubt it, take a look at John Gorton Drive across from Denman Prospect. A set of special pedestrian street lights were thoughtfully built, only to then have a row of trees planted directly beneath them.

Or take a look at the design of the “Jogalong” track in Coombs which runs up Fred Daly Ave. If you can’t see the stupidity of the design then try and run or even walk it.

That people who lack such basic skills in their apparent profession have been able to graduate from their vocational courses is not a good sign for this country.

Once the lock-down ends they should immediately return to the villages which are missing them.

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