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Work begins on a sustainable transport plan

johnboy 24 July 2009 22

One might think that with all of Canberra’s plans and strategies we’d have already dialled in sustainable transport.

But this very morning the Chiefly Stanhope has announced that he’s kicking of the process to develop at “new comprehensive sustainable transport plan”.

Having successfully defused the vexed issue of kangaroo culling the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, Dr Maxine Cooper, is going to guide this process to replace the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan.

From the media release here’s the difference from last time around:

    For the first time the plan will aim to integrate investments in transport infrastructure and services with land-use planning, to deliver more sustainable transport options closer to home for more Canberrans.

    “Strategies relating to transport infrastructure, parking, cycling, walking and public transport will be combined into one comprehensive plan to help the ACT meet its legislated sustainable transport targets.

They’re starting it off on monday with a roundtable including bodies from the ACT Council of Social Services, Australian National University, Canberra Taxi Industry Association, CIT, Heart Foundation ACT, National Capital Authority, NRMA, Pedestrian Council Forum, Planning Institute of Australia, Property Council of Australia, Queanbeyan City Council, Transport Workers Union and University of Canberra.

But fear not, “an extensive community consultation process” is promised.

UPDATED: Zed Seselja is unkindly pointing out that starting the process again now is something of an admission of failure with past efforts.


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22 Responses to Work begins on a sustainable transport plan
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youami youami 5:27 pm 07 Aug 09

damien haas said :

ACT Light Rail were not invited, but one of our members did attend as they work for one of the bodies invited.

Their comments are as follows:

1.

The entire workshop was heavily stage-managed with virtually no scope for open discussion between participants except at the tables where attendees were seated ie about 6 per table.
2.

There was no opportunity to question the representative of the consulting firm who was engaged to prepare the report.
3.

We were all asked to do 2 things at each table – nominate the positives and negatives of the current bus system & nominate the 3 most critical issues. That was the extent of the consultation and the effort to solicit views from the audience. We had only about 10 minutes to reach agreement on nominating the 3 most significant issues to address in the Action Plan- quite ridiculous.

In summary as far as a consultation process with the stakeholder groups involved, it was a sham. There would have been many good ideas to be aired from the wide variety of people there but there was no opportunity to share views with anyone sitting at other tables. There also was no opportunity for representatives of each table to report back to the workshop as a whole in a meaningful way.

End Comment

regards

Damien Haas

Chair, ACT Light Rail

It is a shame Light Rail hasn’t been considered simply because funding wasn’t granted by the Commonwealth. What an opportunity for Stanhope to inject the ACT enconomy with a stimulus package and go into more debt! Seriously, they could have at least considered money to develop feasibility studies (real ones) and also setting aside transport corridors for a system in the future.

Damien, what are the stats re: population size of Canberra and transport options when compared to other similar sized cities of the world? Interesting to see how backward we are. I know we are considerably one of the highest users of private vehicles in the world –over and above most USA cities.

I could also argue and rant that Light Rail (well actually trams but still close) was part of the Griffin plan and I know for a fact Parkes Way was not. Of course I think the Plan as idealistic rubbish anyway but it seems a lot of Territorians seem to put that card on the table and reference it. So let’s consider the Plan’s merits. After all, it is only reason why Northbourne Ave is so wide!

damien haas damien haas 4:41 pm 07 Aug 09

ACT Light Rail were not invited, but one of our members did attend as they work for one of the bodies invited.

Their comments are as follows:

1. The entire workshop was heavily stage-managed with virtually no scope for open discussion between participants except at the tables where attendees were seated ie about 6 per table.
2. There was no opportunity to question the representative of the consulting firm who was engaged to prepare the report.
3. We were all asked to do 2 things at each table – nominate the positives and negatives of the current bus system & nominate the 3 most critical issues. That was the extent of the consultation and the effort to solicit views from the audience. We had only about 10 minutes to reach agreement on nominating the 3 most significant issues to address in the Action Plan- quite ridiculous.

In summary as far as a consultation process with the stakeholder groups involved, it was a sham. There would have been many good ideas to be aired from the wide variety of people there but there was no opportunity to share views with anyone sitting at other tables. There also was no opportunity for representatives of each table to report back to the workshop as a whole in a meaningful way.

End Comment

regards

Damien Haas

Chair, ACT Light Rail

RayP RayP 2:59 pm 25 Jul 09

We seem to be casting around trying to make sense of the unusual group of people around the round table because the full list of 40 people has not been published, only various random selections of it.

Perhaps the minions in Corbell’s office churning out press releases could have attached the full list of invited round tablers to the media release on the ACT Government’s website.

Or is this something that Johnboy is able to get hold of as a respected media person.

Then us lowly citizens could have useful discussions about whether there seems to be a reasonable and representative selection of potential round tablers.

Otherwise we seem to be in this process of questioning who has and hasnn’t been invited to round table and being told that we should assume that anyone who should be asumed to be invited would have been invited and perhaps, by implication, that we would be being unreasonable if we assumed that those who haven’t been invited were invited because it would clearly be unreaonable for them to be invited.

I would be interested to know, for example, if ACT Light Rail has been invited, if we should assume they have been invited, or if we should assume that it would be unreasonable for them to be invited.

It would have useful to have the actual list of those invited provided on the web site so that we could actually see what is going on.

Prospector Prospector 2:11 pm 25 Jul 09

So the Property Council and the NRMA are not “one trick ponies”??

Re “ACT Government’s submission to fund a light rail network….. Mr Stanhope said in the absence of Commonwealth funding the program was not viable in the short to medium-term”. Interesting that an absence of Commonwealth funding has not deterred the ACT Government in its commitment to major roads projects.

Pandy Pandy 8:02 am 25 Jul 09

Anyway, why light rail when the Government is pursuing electric cars?

Pandy Pandy 6:02 pm 24 Jul 09

One initiative that won’t be in the 2010-16 plan is light rail, after the Commonwealth through Infrastructure Australia recently rejected the ACT Government’s submission to fund a light rail network. Mr Stanhope said in the absence of Commonwealth funding the program was not viable in the short to medium-term. ‘‘In the context of our current population and density levels, the cost benefit of light rail does not favour pursuing it now.’

Rather than light rail rolling on, looks like the bogie has fallen off.

arescarti42 arescarti42 3:04 pm 24 Jul 09

PigDog said :

I just think they should use terms correctly and don’t like the spin. Don’t say it is sustainable when you actually mean ‘towards sustainability’ – even the electric car people say ‘more sustainable’. And unless they are talking light rail, why do we say public transport instead of bus? We can say walking instead of self propelled human propulsion, but instead of bus we say public transport.

Fair enough Pig Dog, a little picky but fair enough.

PigDog said :

What I do claim though is that it is a plan to make it harder for me to park my car. That’s what I like to do with it when I am not driving it. They are not offering incentives for me to use these other options beyond a disincentive to drive.

I must agree with you on that one, reducing parking space doesn’t concern me a whole lot, but doing so without providing viable alternatives to car transport is utterly foolish.

Horrid Horrid 2:24 pm 24 Jul 09

“The members of the roundtable as listed in Corbell’s press release don’t include Pedal Power, ACT Light Rail or the Conservation Council.I wonder why these groups have been left out.”

The Ministers original media release said that participants “include”… followed by a list of attending organisations- ie it did not claim to be a full list of who is attending. Today’s Canberra Times story confirms that Pedal Power will be there. I would have thought their participation so obvious that they scarcely needed to be listed.

PigDog PigDog 2:23 pm 24 Jul 09

Arescarti42,

I never claimed that there is a public transport system that makes a profit (there might be some, but I agree that it is not realistic in Canberra), nor did I say cars are any better or worse for society.

I just think they should use terms correctly and don’t like the spin. Don’t say it is sustainable when you actually mean ‘towards sustainability’ – even the electric car people say ‘more sustainable’. And unless they are talking light rail, why do we say public transport instead of bus? We can say walking instead of self propelled human propulsion, but instead of bus we say public transport.

What I do claim though is that it is a plan to make it harder for me to park my car. That’s what I like to do with it when I am not driving it. They are not offering incentives for me to use these other options beyond a disincentive to drive.

housebound housebound 1:53 pm 24 Jul 09

It’s the same old story, if you stack a board with the people who give the right answers, then you can be confident of getting the right answers.

RayP RayP 1:08 pm 24 Jul 09

S4anta,

Why then do the Pedestrian Council Forum and the Canberra Taxi Industry Association have places at the table?

They also seem to be “one trick ponies” – they seem to have specific transport interests.

And why the ACT Council of Social Services, which represents a range of groups, but not the Conservation Council, which also represents a range of groups?

S4anta S4anta 12:35 pm 24 Jul 09

RayP said :

The members of the roundtable as listed in Corbell’s press release don’t include Pedal Power, ACT Light Rail or the Conservation Council.

I wonder why these groups have been left out.

One trick ponies Ray. Let them put in submissions to cover their respective interests rather than clag up a boardroom eating cucumber sandwiches.

arescarti42 arescarti42 12:28 pm 24 Jul 09

PigDog said :

Futto – couldn’t agree more.

How can a bus that runs on fossil fuel, at a financial loss, be ‘sustainable’?

It isn’t, but if that bus means that 20 cars aren’t also driving around burning fuel and occupying road/parking spaces, it seems like a move towards sustainability to me.

There are only a handful of public transport systems the world over that don’t run at a loss. It’d be silly to think Canberra’s would be any different. Travel by car runs at a greater net loss to society anyway. Don’t think for a minute that fuel taxes and registration come anywhere near covering the cost of maintaining the road system, and that’s without including the costs to the environment or businesses.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 12:13 pm 24 Jul 09

I like how ‘sustainable’ is such a buzzword these days. What they really mean is “how can we make it work and meet community expectations”.

RayP RayP 12:13 pm 24 Jul 09

The members of the roundtable as listed in Corbell’s press release don’t include Pedal Power, ACT Light Rail or the Conservation Council.

I wonder why these groups have been left out.

PigDog PigDog 11:53 am 24 Jul 09

Futto – couldn’t agree more.

The plan will reaffirm the goals outlined in the 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan toincrease [sic] walking, cycling and public transport from 13 percent of work trips in 2001 to 20 percent in 2011 and to 30 percent in 2026. Why don’t they say bus? Is there another form of public transport in Canberra I am unaware of?

How can a bus that runs on fossil fuel, at a financial loss, be ‘sustainable’?

If they were serious with this they would just make it illegal to drive on Fridays – bam! 20% of trips! However, as Futto says it is just a plan to replace parking spaces with office blocks.

housebound housebound 11:39 am 24 Jul 09

futto said :

Two words i can’t stand at the moment…”sustainable” and “twitter”.

Sustainable twits then?

LG LG 11:27 am 24 Jul 09

so why’d we waste time with the previous plan? is this another one that will be shelved / not implemented? probably!

PM PM 11:24 am 24 Jul 09

So how about actually planning for light rail?

I know it costs money and might not be delivered today, but if the govt’s in favour of the principle they should at least not prevent it’s building in the future.

futto futto 10:05 am 24 Jul 09

is it sustainable to continue to remove all the car parks in Civic and replace them with high density office blocks? I bet the report will say YES!!!!

Two words i can’t stand at the moment…”sustainable” and “twitter”.

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