3 November 2023

Woden Interchange changes to help keep elements at bay

| Ian Bushnell
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Bus and light rail interchange

An artist’s impression of the updated Woden Interchange, which will now have weather protection canopies, bike sheds and different trees. Image: ACT Government.

Changes to the new Woden Interchange will offer better protection from the weather for bus and light rail passengers, make it easier for cyclists to use public transport and alter the tree mix.

The ACT Government has lodged an amended development application to add weather protection canopies to the project, including new bike enclosures and toilets, modifying the bus platforms and replacing eucalypts with deciduous trees.

The government received considerable community feedback about the lack of weather protection in the interchange designs.

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Three canopies are proposed: on the east side of Callam Street, opposite the CIT Building entrance, on the east side of Callam Street at the northern pedestrian crossing and on the west side of Callam Street, and at the northern pedestrian crossing.

Two bike enclosures with toilets are proposed on the eastern side of the interchange, and nine new trees will be planted at the back as an offset.

The DA reveals an internal discussion over the selection of tree species, particularly eucalypts in street and path settings.

“Urban Trees have previously stated that we do not support the planting of Eucalyptus spp. in highly urbanised environments such as Woden Town Centre,” the DA reveals.

“We give this advice based on our experience with the numerous maintenance and management issues caused by these trees lifting pavements and creating dangerous accessibility issues and reduced solar access in winter.”

Bus and light rail interchange

A view of the CIT building and Woden Interchange from the southern end.

Frustration was expressed that eucalypts were still in the plans, but the amended DA limits them to connections with existing native trees in the creek reserve.

It also was discovered that the original Liquidamber species’ canopy would be too wide for the buses so other varieties and maples have been used.

Bus platforms have also been shortened and shifted to allow buses to enter and exit and accommodate traffic lights.

Two drinking fountains with dog bowls have also been added, as well as two disabled parking spaces in the existing car park.

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Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the new light rail-ready public transport interchange at Woden was a central part of the government’s plan to revitalise Woden.

“The amendments respond to feedback from previous consultations with the community and include additional tree plantings and better weather protection for commuters, students and staff,” he said.

“The amended development application also includes the addition of public toilet facilities and new secure bike storage cages to encourage more people to ride their bikes.

“It means we’re offering more diverse types of affordable travel in Woden to connect with a renewed education, employment and retail hub and new vibrant green spaces and public plazas for students, commuters, residents and office workers.”

The interchange is expected to be completed in time for the opening of the new CIT campus in 2025.

It is not known when light rail will make its way to Woden given the project faces a series of approvals and the challenge of negotiating the parliamentary zone which poses environmental, heritage and route challenges hurdles.

The Canberra Liberals have pledged to scrap the project and focus on a bus-only public transport system.

The interchange amended DA is open to comments until 22 November.

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Deanne Perry1:07 pm 12 Nov 23

Looks nice for CIT students and commuters but how are the elderly and disabled or people with small children supposed to utilise somewhere so far away from Westfield Woden? Any how will people going to and from there keep dry when it rains?

It looks great! Also, replacing the Eucalyptus Trees with Deciduous Trees is a smart move. When I was studying Horticulture my classmates noticed they were planting Eucalyptus Trees at the Light Rain Interchange in Civic. They were saying “why are they doing that? The branches are going to fall onto the tracks and cause problems.”

Woops, typed too soon. I just read they’re keeping some of the Eucalyptus Trees. Anyway, it still looks great and I’m excited to see it completed.

HiddenDragon8:36 pm 05 Nov 23

Callam Street has an almost perfect north-south alignment – which means that the platforms, even with the belated addition of what look like quite narrow canopies, are perfectly oriented to capture maximum morning and afternoon summer sun. Perhaps holders of MyWay cards will be offered free melanoma checks.

Also, another vote for GrumpyGrandpa’s point about eucalyptus trees – problematic and to be avoided on public land (as we now learn), but sacred and to be preserved at all costs (to individual householders) on leased land. This is Himalayan-level hypocrisy.

Trevor Willis7:42 am 05 Nov 23

Why are there only 2 water bowls for dogs? I think they should go back to the drawing and add at least one or two more bowls, or scrap the whole idea as being a complete waste of taxpayer’s money.

GrumpyGrandpa1:41 pm 04 Nov 23

“Urban Trees have previously stated that we do not support the planting of Eucalyptus spp. in highly urbanised environments such as Woden Town Centre,” the DA reveals.

And yet, Eucalyptuss spp. in a highly urbanised area such as near your house, is ok?

Seems like a down grade over the last one. Looks.a bit like a train derailment.

The interchanges used to allow buses to turn around. The new ones counter this by changing the routes. So we get a worse bus network so we can have ‘pretty’ interchanges.

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