Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick has slammed a proposal to extend a road across the current bus interchange site in Woden where there is meant to be a pedestrian boulevard from the new CIT and Interchange to the Woden Square.
The proposed Bradley and Bowes Street link would mean pedestrians having to cross a busy road as they head to and from the Square, Westfield shopping centre and the Library.
The road extension was recommended in the traffic study included in the new Woden Interchange development application lodged last month.
Already set to be upgraded from local to collector roads to provide access to the new CIT on one side and Grand Central Towers on the other, connecting the two streets would create a continuous route from Callum Street to Launceston Street.
Traffic is expected to surge along surrounding streets including Bowes Street due to the closure of Callum Street, and the traffic study suggests using traffic calming devices and lowering speed limits in the area, particularly near pedestrian thoroughfares.
It recommends the extension of Bradley Street to Bowes Street to alleviate the increased vehicle movements towards Launceston Street.
Ms Carrick said the proposal flowed from the decision to build the interchange on Callum Street, which will cut the major link between Hindmarsh Drive and Launceston Street and necessitate diversions up Bradley Street, and Wilbow Street through to Easty Street.
Ms Carrick said the road proposal was part of a planning mess that would disrupt the east-west pedestrian corridor, clog the area with traffic and be detrimental to the function of the Town Centre.
“You’re just blocking up the centre of Woden when that should be open and free for the people,” she said.
Ms Carrick said it was also being driven by the need for more access to and from the newly completed Grand Central Towers on the northern side of the current interchange.
She mocked the notion of a boulevarde when it will be cut by a road, shaded by Grand Central Towers and the morning sun will be blocked by the new CIT.
“Would you hang out there? Would you be attracted to that area in the shade and cold?” she asked.
While the interchange may be dilapidated, she said its loop system, a common feature of bus interchanges, actually functioned very well as far as bus movements go.
“Why are they getting rid of the bus loop and putting everything through this eye of a needle [in Callum Street]?” she said.
Ms Carrick said that Callum Street would have to be widened to fit the light rail station and the designs showed the new interchange virtually on top of the Woden Town Park rose garden near where the proposed youth centre is supposed to be sited.
“It’s no wonder they’ve gone quiet on the community centre because that was supposed to be between Callum Street and the drain [Yarralumla Creek],” she said.
Ms Carrick said the government was trying to cram too much into a limited space.
The government has allowed more time for people to comment with the representation period for the interchange, bus layovers, and drivers’ amenity building DAs extended until 16 April.