Friday, July 22, 2016

Light Rail to Belconnen? Canberra Liberals say 'Yes'

Belconnen to Airport light rail route preferred by MLA Alistair Coe in 2013

Would the Canberra Liberals support a light rail Stage Two that followed the route the Canberra Liberals suggested in 2013? 

People think it is an accident that Canberra's suburbs have wide wide roads with large median strips, not realising that these are deliberate forward looking design strategies, dating from Walter Burley Griffins original design ethos and taken up by the NCDC in the 1960's, to cater for new transport modes as future needs arose. They have arisen, and light rail is being constructed from Gungahlin to Cvic along one of these reserves.

The road infrastructure from Belconnen is very high quality, and not yet at capacity though it will be placed under increasing pressure as West Belconnen, Lawson, and the Belconnen Town Centre itself fill out, and will be much worse in 10-15 years when the northern parts of Molonglo are built, and the Ginninderra Field Site is converted to residential housing.

One of the busiest ACTION Bus routes is the 300 series from Tuggeranong - Civic - Belconnen. It is so busy that a busway was proposed in the early 2000's. Much of the work proposed for that, including a buslane along Belconnen Way/Barry Drive has been completed along with two new bus stations, a dedicated bus turnoff into ANU and increased rapid bus services, now running to Kippax.

There are limits to the capacity that buses can move however, with a bus carrying around 80 people, and light rail vehicles carrying 220 people.

Yesterday the Keeping Canberra Moving report was released and it identified four possible Stage Two routes for light rail. One of these routes was to Belconnen, all the way too Kippax in West Belconnen.

In late 2013, Liberal MLA Alistar Coe, Shadow Transport Minister, suggested that instead of Gungahlin to Civic, that the first stage of Capital Metro should be Belconnen to the Airport, via Civic.

In a Canberra Times article from 2013 MLA Alistair Coe offered the following views:

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe has raised concerns about whether the government adequately considered other alternatives to the Civic/Gungahlin line.

Mr Coe said a line that ran from Belconnen to the University of Canberra, Calvary Hospital, the ANU, Civic, Constitution Avenue and the airport would be the busiest part of a light rail network.
"You look at what it does include … the four biggest educational campuses that we have, the city and Belconnen, the airport and Defence,'' he said.

"The opportunity cost of spending $600 million on a light rail project to Gungahlin is $600 million not spent on another light rail project, $600 million not spent on the hospital, or $600 million that's not returned to taxpayers,'' he said.

Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said Mr Coe appeared to want a light rail line in his electorate of Ginninderra, which includes Belconnen.

Alistair Coe has also stated that there are absolutely no circumstances in which the Canberra Liberals would proceed with light rail. The question he needs to answer is this: Would the Canberra Liberals support a light rail Stage Two that followed the route the Canberra Liberals suggested in 2013? 

ACT Light Rail welcome cross party support for light rail in Canberra, and believe that it should extend to all parts of Canberra.
2016 Belconnen route from Transport Canberra 'Keeping Canberra Moving' report
2013 Belconnen route as recommended by MLA Alistair Coe

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

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