Northbourne Transitway on track

An image of a potential Northbourne Ave terminus

The ACT Government has finally released draft options for the Northbourne Avenue to Gungahlin transitway, as reported in The Canberra Times on December 17 2011. The full article and the ACT Government Project Update, including images, follows. Transport planning for this corridor is a priority for both the North Canberra Community Council and the Gungahlin Community Council.

Image – click to enlarge: An artist’s impression showing light rail located in the middle of the Northbourne Avenue median strip. This is one of the options being considered by the ACT Government to ease traffic congestion.

Northbourne fix on track

BY MEGAN DOHERTY, CITY REPORTER

17 Dec, 2011 01:00 AM

Taking out a lane of traffic or shrinking the median strip by about two-thirds alongNorthbourne Avenueare options the ACT Government is considering as it looks at putting light rail or bus transit technology between Gungahlin and the city.

The Government says it has no preferred position as yet on the City to Gungahlin Transit Project which is investigating light rail or bus transit options alongFlemington RoadandNorthbourne Avenue.

But Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell, who has issued an update on the project, says something has to be done to ease traffic congestion between the city and Gungahlin.

”Northbourne Avenueis already at capacity. Congestion will continue to increase along the corridor. So doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Deloitte Access Economics is conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the options, with its report due to be issued early next year when more public consultation will take place.

Mr Corbell said the City to Gungahlin Transit Project was the Government’s No1 priority in a wish-list of projects presented to InfrastructureAustralia, the advisory body to the Commonwealth Government.

”We need a strong business case because this is a project that I think, fundamentally, is only going to occur with some level of Commonwealth infrastructure funding,” he said.

The update suggests a range of scenarios, including that light rail and bus transit technology share lanes along the route.

Mr Corbell said the bus transit vehicles resembled trains inside, with passengers facing each other and more room to stand. There were also doors on either side. The light rail tracks could be recessed in the road to also allow the buses.

The existing Northbourne Avenuemedian strip could be reduced in width to ”activate the street frontages and allow space for bi-directional cycle paths and improved pedestrian paths”. The option involved theNorthbourne Avenuemedian strip shrinking from 27m-wide to 8m-wide.

”Yes, the median shrinks but the verge increases from the current width of about 7.5 metres to about 13 metres to include dedicated cycle, better pedestrian, better landscaping,” Mr Corbell said.

ALTERNATIVE: Another option is to reduce the width of the median strip to allow bus/tram and cycling lanes to be created

ALTERNATIVE: Another option is to reduce the width of the median strip to allow bus/tram and cycling lanes to be created

”There are other options we will be considering as well. For example, whether or not there needs to be three lanes of traffic as well as a lane for public transport. It [depends] on how much congestion can be reduced by the public transport lane.”

Mr Corbell said in any scenario it was unlikely the median onNorthbourne Avenuewould remain unchanged. ”Even if the median was kept at its existing width, a very large number of trees would have to be removed to accommodate a light rail line should it be built along that median because the electrical catenary – the electrical wires that run above the line – obviously need to be clear of trees.”

The Government is considering the possibility of light rail and bus transit accessing the Gungahlin Town Centre viaHibberson Streetor a loop arrangement toAnthony Rolfe Avenue, closingHibberson Streetto car traffic.

The light rail or bus rapid transit stops would follow the same stopping pattern as the current Red Rapid bus, with additional stops to be considered for areas where there is high patronage potential.

The Flemington Road segment would likely have more widely spaced stops and higher travel speeds, while the higher density Northbourne Avenue section – particularly south of Antill Street – could have closer stop spacing, akin to a streetcar-like stopping pattern.

The update says light rail and bus transit could be located in the median strip alongFlemington Road. Cycle paths and wider footpaths are also being considered along the road.

A light rail terminal could be located in the median strip between Alinga andRudd Street. A bus transit would use the existing bus station.

Mr Corbell said the National Capital Authority had the ultimate say on any project forNorthbourne Avenuebecause it was on national land but the ACT Government would decide on any development alongFlemington Roadand into Gungahlin.

The  ACT Government Project Update is available here »…

Note: copyright of the material in this clipping resides with Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: The Canberra Times – 17 December 2011

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