Monday, June 25, 2012

Corbell assures Molonglo residents they will experience road congestion due to poor planning by his government

'Yes we will see more congestion on roads here in Weston Creek and around the city' Simon Corbell.

The local ABC ran an item on its '7.30 report' on Friday Night looking at the new suburbs of Molonglo and the inadequate infrastructure in place to deal with a population expected to grow by a minimum of 15,000 within 5 years. It also looked at the concurrent infrastructure demands that would be felt by Weston Creek, as residents of Molonglo lacking any infrastructure of their own, sought access to services. 

These include: schooling, shopping, recreation (sport, swimming) and of course - transport. Tom Anderson, of the Weston Creek Community Council articulated clearly the lack of existing infrastructure in Weston Creek, and how his area will be expected to shoulder the burden. 

Clearly this government has learnt nothing from 20 years of serious problems arising from a lack of infrastructure in Gungahlin at its inception. ACT Light Rail have previously called for better public transport to be in place before residents begin to move into Molonglo. 

After looking at the lack of public transport infrastructure, the ABC report concluded with the following:

Reporter: "perhaps what Weston Creek needs is Light Rail ?"
Corbell "(nervous giggle)... I'll take that as a comment"

Competition to design Civic light rail terminal

Ask your kids to submit a design for this great competition! More details at the Canberra Loves 40% website

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Darwin light rail $17 million a kilometre

The Australian Rail Association continue to hold the ACT Governments ludicrous costing of light rail at $870 million to scrutiny. In todays Canberra Times the ARA indicate that Darwin are considering light rail at a cost of $17 million per kilometre.

The full Canberra Times article can be read here. 

From the article:

"The peak rail industry group says Darwin's Lord Mayor, Katrina Fong Lim is pushing for light rail in the Northern Territory with costs of $17 million per kilometre."
The ARA says just like the ACT, land is available in the NT to accommodate light rail which helps keep project costs down. However, the ACT has still priced the potential 13 km light rail line at $66 million per kilometre, more than triple the estimates for Darwin.

"The Northern Territory mayor's announcement means every state and territory in Australia except the ACT has seen the light when it comes to light rail." says Mr Nye.

"One tram line can move 10,000 passengers an hour, while the same space dedicated to road moves only 800 cars or 140 bus services."

"Our local Government should be learning from the experiences in other jurisdictions," says Mr Nye."

“Sydney’s bus ways are creating parking lots throughout the city and after ripping up tram lines years ago, the city is now reinvesting in light rail to ease congestion. 

“Canberrans should be calling light rail as a long-term investment to improve the connectivity of the city,” concluded Mr Nye. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Light Rail on local television

ACT Light Rail are occasionally interviewed or asked for comment by the local media outlets. We have decided to list these on a page for future reference. You can access this by clicking on TV Reports tab at the top of this web page.

If you know of other ACT related light rail TV reports, please contact us.

Ian Ruecroft, ACT Light Rail Deputy Chair, appearing on ABC TV in June 2012 

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Molonglo residents moving in - prepare for decades of road congestion

Last week the Canberra Times carried a story on residents preparing to move into the new residential developments in Molonglo. I think It is important to note that there is no adequate public transport infrastructure ready to cater for these residents. ACTION Buses have released 'network 2012' and no Molonglo routes are mentioned. The 'Network 2012 route map' does not even show Molonglo. A massive public transport failure. 

This ACT Government planning failure dooms Molonglo residents to having to use cars to travel around Canberra. It means that a family MUST have two cars or be socially isolated. it means that commuters have no choice but to drive to work. 

Affordable housing is not so affordable when the costs of an extra car are added to the family budget. The NRMA estimate this extra cost to be a minimum of ten thousand dollars a year. 

ACT Light Rail made a submission in 2007 recommending that prior to residents moving in, that  light rail be built between Molonglo and Civic, or Molonglo, Weston Creek, Woden and Civic. This would ensure that the decades of lost productivity, road congestion and bickering over access would not be repeated. 

It of course, did not occur. The ACT Government are road focussed and the NCA really have no power over such a decision. 

Ironically, even though the ACT Government love building roads, they always skimp on that building with a single lane road one year, a dual lane road a few years later, then a dual carriageway ten years on, then after another five or so years a dual carriageway with an extra lane added, which they will then come along and mark oddly to cater for recumbent bicycle fanciers. Pleasing no one, and tripling the cost of the road construction. I present Flemington Road and Gungahlin Drive as prime examples of this bizarre enthusiasm.  

The NCA and ACT Governments own reports on Molonglo development already pointed out that road access into and out of the new development would experience road congestion. Each of the future projections indicated more and more roads would need to be built and expanded. There was no mention of BRT or LRT. ACT Light Rail proposed light rail and a design that favoured public transport access.  

This was the finding of the NCA in May 2008, on these issues:

Report on Consultation National Capital Plan Draft Amendment 63 – Molonglo and North Weston National Capital Authority 

1.17 Transport and Traffic 

Twelve (12) submissions raised issues with planning for sustainable transport infrastructure and implications of new urban development on existing roads. 
A number of submissions raised concern that relevant traffic studies and modelling have not been undertaken, or objected to traffic flow projections produced in the Preliminary Assessment. It was generally established that integrated transport planning needs to be given a high priority, and that any sustainability scenario would envisage a greater provision for public transport initiatives. 
Of note were those submissions that advocated the need to investigate light rail as an alternative to buses for public transport, and to increase public transport patronage. These submissions noted that the existing public transport system in Canberra does not cope with demands placed on it, and is not attractive in its current form and service level. 
Suggestions included a light rail link from Molonglo to Woden and/or Civic to aid in reducing congestion on roads; reducing travel times; and providing an opportunity to increase density along major public transport routes. 
A number of submissions commented on the potential pressures that may be placed on existing roads with the increase in population, and noted the need to upgrade existing major roads such as Cotter Road and Lady Denman Drive. It was noted that Tuggeranong Parkway needs to remain the major transport connection between Molonglo and Woden. 
NCA Consideration 
The detailed design, including the provision of services and infrastructure is the responsibility of the ACT Government, including the investigation and development of transport infrastructure throughout the Molonglo and North Weston area. DA63 identifies a proposed Inter-Town Public Transport Route, however this is only indicative. In this case it aligns with options presented in DV281 and the Preliminary Assessment. 
The indicative route does not specify the mode of transport, and therefore does not preclude light rail. The mode of transport will be determined by the ACT Government. 
Light rail as a public transport option has not been investigated significantly by the ACT Government for the Molonglo and North Weston development. Instead, development of the area is considered an opportunity to expand and strengthen the inter-town bus network by creating an orbital system in additional to the existing line haul system. 
Recommended Changes 
No change. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Great Rail Infrastructure Rip-off

Eco-Transit, a Sydney based public transport lobby group have made an excellent short video examining the cost blow outs of rail infrastructure in NSW, and comparing these inflated costs to contemporary projects. As is clear from the $870 million figure that Minister Corbell straight facedly quotes for a Gungahlin to Civic light rail project, this disease seems to have crept across the border.

Gungahlin's transport links : a report from 1991

ACT Light Rail have been asked to speak at the Gungahlin Community Council public forum tonight. This seems to be an opportune time to post the executive summary from the 1991 report into Gungahlin transport requirements.

Gungahlin's transport links : a report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory

1. (a) bus services be introduced into Gungahlin as soon as the first neighbourhoods are occupied; 
(b) intertown express services be introduced between Gungahlin and Belconnen, and Gungahlin and Civic as soon as demand exists; 
(c) a conveniently located bus interchange be established in Gungahlin at the first opportunity; and 
(d) a detailed strategy of measures to encourage the use of public transport and other non-car modes of transport, such as those described in paragraph 3.4, be developed and implemented as soon as Gungahlin's first neighbourhoods are occupied; 

2. (a) the NCPA and the ACT Planning Authority jointly commission or conduct a study into the establishment of a rapid transport system in the Australian Capital Territory. 
(b) to maximise the potential advantages of a new technology rapid transport system, including the possibility of reducing the need for additional road space to cater for the travel needs of the future residents of Gungahlin, this study should be completed and its findings released before the Commonwealth and Territory Governments commit themselves to the construction of any new roads to or from Gungahlin; and 
(c) in the interim a reservation be made between Civic and Gungahlin to allow for the construction of a rapid transport system; 

3. (a) the Commonwealth and Territory Governments jointly and separately (where appropriate) develop and implement the measures described in paragraph 4.4 - such as limiting employment growth in Civic - to limit the number of vehicles travelling between Gungahlin and Civic or other southern destinations; and. 
(b) the Commonwealth Government's log term strategy for office location be amended to give priority to the development of additional office space in Gungahlin as well as in Tuggeranong and Belconnen; 

4. William Slim Drive between the Barton Highway and Ginninderra Drive be upgraded; 

5. (a) provision not be made in the National Capital Plan for a John Dedman East road; and 
(b) the Bruce Ridge - O'Connor Hills area be given legislative protection to preserve its ecological, recreational and educational values; 

6. (a) a detailed environmental impact assessment be made of the John Dedman Community Option and John Dedman West alignments; 
(b) in conjunction with the assessment, a broader study of the present and future parking and traffic management needs in the area of the AIS be conducted jointly by the ACT Planning Authority and the NCPA. 

7. (a) provision be made in the National Capital Plan for a Majura Parkway; 
(b) a detailed alignment study be conducted to minimise any impact on existing leases in the Majura Valley, for example by following the line of the existing Majura Lane; 
(c) a detailed environmental impact assessment of the Parkway be made; 
(d) the ACT Governnment investigate the immediate introduction of noise abatement measures along Fairbairn Avenue; 

8. (a) Monash Drive not be constructed. However the road reservation should be retained in the National Capital Plan until it is clear that a severe disruption to the amenity of North Canberra can be avoided by the increased use of public transport and by the effective operation of the peripheral roads; and 
(b) the Mount Majura - Mount Ainslie area be given legislative protection to preserve its ecological, recreational and educational values. 

9. (a) the proposed extension to Ginninderra Drive not proceed but that, to minimise the level of through traffic in Lyneham and O'Connor, Mouat Street be widened and traffic management and calming techniques be introduced in the area; 
(b) the implementation of these measures not be deferred until the expected increase in traffic from Gungahlin occurs, but commence immediately so that the already high levels of through traffic are reduced; and 
(c) the ACT Planning Authority conduct a comprehensive study of all North Canberra suburbs to identify particular streets that warrant the introduction of traffic management and calming techniques; 

9. (a) the joint NCPA and ACT Planning Authority study of the area south of Mitchell and between the Federal and Barton Highways commence immediately, and. 
(b) the study assess the usefulness of a highway link road and determine a road alignment which would effectively link the two highways with the Majura Valley corridor so as to encourage commercial and other through traffic to divert to the peripheral arterial roads and by-pass North Canberra.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gungahlin to Civic light rail route maps

A page has been created containing two maps of the route that light rail could follow from Gungahlin to Civic.

You can access it from the tabs at the top of this page.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Submissions page updated

The 'Submissions' page has been updated. It now contains links to submissions made by ACT Light Rail to Federal and Local transport and planning consultation processes, dating back to 2009.

Click on the Submissions page tab above.

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Industry body on ACT Govt light rail costings "Something doesn't add up"

The Australasian Railway Association has come out with yet more figures questioning the ACT Governments inflated costings for the Gungahlin to Civic transit corridor.

"If a city like Sydney can cost light rail at $29 million, claiming it would cost $66 million in Canberra is outrageous. Something doesn't add up."

The estimated cost of the Sydney light rail expansion is in line with industry estimates, such as those provided by the Tourism and Transport Forum, placing the cost of light rail at $20-$40 million per kilometre.

"We have two light rail projects, one which has been costed in line with industry estimates, the other which exceeds industry estimates by $30-$40 million per kilometres," says Mr Nye.

"With such a discrepancy, I have grave doubts as to the accuracy of the ACT costs and urge the ACT Government to release its calculations in full."

Read the full Canberra Times article here.
and another CT article with ACT Greens input here

In the article, Mr Nye, Chair of the ARA states that:
  • The O'Farrell Government has costed its six kilometre, inner-west Sydney light rail expansion at $176 million which works out at $29 million per kilometre, less than half the ACT Government's estimate of $66 million per kilometre.
  • Despite having to navigate through a significantly more congested urban environment, the Sydney Light Rail expansion will cost less than half that of the Canberra light rail proposal.
  • The ACT government's estimates would make Canberra's light rail line one of the most expensive lines in the world on a per kilometre basis.
  • We have two light rail projects, one which has been costed in line with industry estimates (at $20-$40 million per kilometre), the other which exceeds industry estimates by $30-$40 million per kilometres. 
  • With such a discrepancy, I have grave doubts as to the accuracy of the ACT costs and urge the ACT Government to release its calculations in full.

The Greens uncover the $60 million dollar 'free buses'

The Greens have been doing some digging on how the ACT Government and its consultants URS artfully gave us a lowball $300 million BRT option - by not counting the buses or depots they neeeded for BRT. The Greens have found the real cost of BRT hidden in the 2012 Budget. That figure is $60 million dollars for new buses and a depot.

Read the Canberra Times article 'Light Rail costings queried' here

"The ACT Greens says the territory's 2012-13 budget debates shed more light on the ACT government's light rail efforts.

Greens transport spokesperson Amanda Bresnan said in the cost projections presented to the community, the government did not make a ''like for like'' comparison between bus rapid transit and light rail, because it excluded the capital costs for buses and bus depots.

The budget revealed the real capital expenses by allocating more than $60 million to the purchase of new buses and a new northside bus depot.

''We believe light rail is the transport system that would make the biggest and most lasting changes to Canberra's transport.''

The Greens and ARA have again asked to see all the data the government used to project the costs of light rail, and which it used to consult the community.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

ACT Light Rail to speak at GCC Forum on 13 June 2012

Look for Alexander Bunyip and you have found the Gungahlin Library!

ACT Light Rail have been invited to speak at the Gungahlin Community Council public forum next Wednesday. Damien Haas, Chair of ACT Light Rail, will discuss the recent ACT Budget, the Gungahlin to Civic transport corridor and the future of light rail in the ACT.  

GCC Public Forum
7.30 PM
Wednesday 13 June 2012
Gungahlin Public Library - Meeting Rooms

ACT Light Rail are happy to talk to your community group.