Tuesday, July 31, 2012

414 residents = 414 new cars on Molonglos roads

A developer today announced construction of 212 new apartments in Molonglo - so lets say 414 people and their cars will be moving in and looking around for non-existent public transport. Unless this development is right next to a bus stop with a sign on it, that will be 414 people driving to work every day. 

ACT Light Rail recommended in a submission to the ACT Government in 2008, that light rail be constructed between Molonglo and Civic to cope with growing new demand. It wasn't. This government can barely construct adequate roads. 

Molonglo, Canberras new Gungahlin (when one transport planning disaster isn't enough!)

Build Light Rail Now.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

ACTION passenger numbers stagnate - build Light Rail Now!

A story in todays Canbera Times carries the disappointing news from ACTION that it has failed to increase full-fare paying adult passengers.  
From the CT article: 

"Adult patronage of Canberra's bus service ACTION has barely increased over the past six years, despite markedly increased costs, population growth and an expansion of the bus network.

In the 2011-12 financial year, ACTION carried an average of 24,865 adult passenger fares on weekdays. On December 15, 2005, then planning minister Simon Corbell said ACTION had recently carried more than 22,000 adult passenger boardings on three consecutive days.

By May 2006, ACTION had achieved record patronage but with escalating costs, budget overruns and no revenue growth. Average daily adult boardings hit 24,003, a 15 per cent increase over the same day the previous year. Despite this growth, the ACT Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission raised concern over the inability of ACTION to contain costs.

By June 2006, ACTION was claiming a 20 per cent patronage increase over the previous four years. This was contradicted in July that year by then chief minister Jon Stanhope, who said ACTION's costs and staffing levels had risen significantly in recent years, while passenger boardings had remained stable. He said benchmarking studies found ACTION's annual costs were $13 million-$15 million above the cost of an average, efficient operator.
As The Canberra Times reported this month, ACTION's operating costs have increased by almost 40 per cent over the past five years but revenue from fares is less than the peak two years ago.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said patronage continued to increase with about 40,000 people using buses on any given weekday.

Figures now supplied by Territory and Municipal Services confirm there has been very limited patronage growth over the past six years. The 24,865 average weekday adult passenger journeys include transfers between buses to complete a single journey and for most people journeys to and from work.

In 2011-12, the 80 per cent of passengers using the MyWay ticketing system required on average 1.3 bus trips to complete a journey. The claimed 40,000 daily passengers is therefore much closer to 20,000, which includes school students and pensioners. Any patronage increase since 2006 is dwarfed by the escalating operating cost of the service. Fare revenue, even with a full year's operation of the $8 million MyWay ticketing system was $721,489 less last year than in 2009-10."
Read the full Canberra Times article: 'Adult bus passenger numbers stagnating' here
This reinforces the view of ACT Light Rail that a modal shift away from buses for mass-transit is needed in Canberra.

A high speed light rail backbone with more frequent local bus services would serve Canberra better, and provide a reliable, frequent and attractive public transport alternative to the private car.

Increased parking fees will not change peoples behaviour, you should not punish people into using public transport. You must offer them a better option than their car. Build light rail now.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

'Parkland' does not mean 'free parking' in the Parliamentary Triangle

Patrick White 'lawns' not Patrick White 'carpark'

Yet again the long running saga of parking in the Parliamentary Triangle raises its head again. This time prompted by the decision to use some parkland for actual recreation. No Canberrans - parkland does not mean 'park my car free of charge for 9 hours while I work'.

Read the Canberra Times article 'Call to correct appalling parking' here

In this recent article a senior manager of Questacon, Lorraine Neish, attacks the lack of parking in the triangle which she claims impacts upon visitor access to the national attractions. this follows yesterdays NCA announcement to return Patrick White lawns to being a lawn, instead of a public servant carpark.

Nowhere in Ms Neishs claims, or in the CT reportage, is the solution to this problem provided. The solution is better public transport which would lessen the requirement for commuters to park all day, and make more parking available for interstate tourists. Parking, either paid or free, would be a second choice for commuters if a better public transport option was available

If light rail were to service the Parliamentary Triangle, it would also be heavily used by tourists outside of peak hours, unlike the ACTION bus system. An express bus service already provides great frequency during business hours to the parliamentary Triangle, although it does not directly serve the main attractions located along the lake.

The fact that this is not referred to once in the article (or readers comments in the online version) speaks volumes about the impact that the express services have had on the public mindset regarding public transport.

The simple fact is that to be effective public transport must be frequent, reliable and attractive. Provide that and the demand for all-day parking will decrease.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Triple the population = triple the road congestion

The Canberra Times are running an article reporting on a plan to replace some existing flats along Northbourne Avenue, with a development that would triple the amount of residences.  "The plan more than triples the existing number of units on the site, from 248 flats to 883." 
The Canberra Times article 'Development to triple flats' can be read here.
ACT Light Rail are concerned that there is no plan in place to accommodate the transport needs and increased road congestion that would follow the tripling of the population in this area.  Have the ACT government and ACTION a plan to run extra services to cater for this rapid density increase? Have they factored in the extra cars that will join Northbourne Avenues existing peak hour road congestion ? 
"(Ms Burch) said sustainable travel choices are a key feature of the master plan. A reduced level of car parking is proposed which recognises that this site is close to a major transport corridor with excellent bus services, as well as being a short walk or cycle way from Civic, with its major retail, commercial, office and recreation facilities.''
No need to worry then, "excellent bus services". Right. I'm sure that the people who move in will not park their cars all over surrounding streets, because that hasn't happened in other areas of Canberra where inadequate parking has been supplied to massive residential complexes (yes, this is sarcasm). 
ACT Light Rail call on the Government and ACTION to provide information on how they plan to cope with a tripling of demand in this area. This is an example of the Government encouraging high density along a transport corridor, without the appropriate infrastructure in place to meet the transport demand that density creates.
The best transport method for Canberras high density future is light rail. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Raiders show their support for light rail

(From the Canberra Loves 40% website)
Canberra Loves 40%, a local community group promoting a sustainable, vibrant and emissions free city, have created a short video that will be aired at Canberra Stadium throughout the rest of the Raiders’ 2012 season.The video shows a new future for Raiders fans, traveling to and from games on a light rail system. It promotes integrated rapid transport as an environmental and social solution for the city.
“The Raiders are demonstrating a real commitment to Canberra by airing our promo,” Canberra Loves 40% spokesperson Phoebe Howe said.