GCC February 2013 Meeting Notes – Featuring Transport & Roads Updates.

Bus services.  

Need to cover new areas of Harrison South & Crace.
Likelihood of rationalisation of services that go to Belconnen & Civic which would mean more local services terminating at the Town Centre but an increased frequency of rapid services between centres.
Proposed new rapid service between Gungahlin & Belconnen soon to go to public consultation.  Likely developments in June/July.
Upgrading of Hibberson Street interchange.
Buses to be fitted with real-time apps enabling commuters to track vehicles.

80 spaces to be provided in new development in block bordered by Gozzard & Efkarpidis Sts & Valley Way.
EPIC site will be continued (100 spaces)
New site proposed at corner of Wells Station Rd & Flemington Rd (Beside Waste Facility) [This is an ideal site for a major transit hub servicing Light Rail].

Light Rail
ACT Government has commissioned a Network Integration Study.  Components will involve interface with traffic signalling & # & siting of stations.  It is almost definite that route will follow Northbourne Ave & Flemington Rd.  There are opportunities to further develop Civic (currently about 60% complete). A Capital Metro Project office has been established within the Economic Development Directorate.  At this stage preparatory work is planned to commence in 2015 with track laying in 2016.

GCC indicated that community groups are considering the establishment of two advisory groups on Light Rail – one for the interested parties likely to be directly affected by the Gungahlin to Civic proposal & a 2nd to consider the feasibility of extending Light Rail to other areas of Canberra.

GCC advised that consideration is being given to engaging local school students in a community project to gain their input & views into the siting & location of Light Rail stations.  The project would examine safety/security issues, suitability of access routes throughout adjoining suburbs & impact on existing facilities such as open space & sports grounds.

Planning for road development fits into 3 cycles – current year, 3 years forward & 5 years forward.  Not every project gets funded. There are often changes to priorities.  For example the current rating has Gundaroo Dr with 16000 vehicles per day in the ‘top 10’, whereas William Slim Dr with 22,000 vehicles per day makes the ‘top 3’.  Signalling of the Barton Highway intersection between the two makes the ‘top 5’.  Even though the roundabout was designed for a future flyover such a project would cost 2.5 times the cost of signalling (& the cost pressures could detrimentally impact the priority rating).

It was interesting to learn that the projects, once identified, went through several stages – the 1st being design.  At present funding has been provided for the design stages of:

Gundaroo Drive (with more public consultation planned for later this year) $1.5m design & $55m project cost (Bridge work boosts the cost!)
William Slim Drive $1m design & $22m project cost.
Barton Highway Roundabout $150k design & $8m project.
The real challenge now is to get the actual projects into the ACT Budget as they will be competing with a large number of other road projects throughout Canberra.

A final proposal has been completed for the car parking issues at Yerrabi Pond (Nellie Hamilton Ave).  It is ready to go out to public comment.  It will cost $300k to provide 54 car parking spaces in the median strip. [Early consultation indicated that this would be a very satisfactory solution & GCC applauds the efforts of ACT Roads to address this matter.]
Horse Park Drive was designed for eventual duplication (upgrade from country road status!) but immediate focus is on the intersections with Mapleton Ave & Katherine Ave.  Design funding has been provided for these projects (completion costs are $1.5m & $4.5m respectively).  The upgrading (duplication) of Horse Park Drive needs to be considered & the next step is to seek design funding.  No estimate of project cost was provided.
Majura Parkway construction has commenced & the work undertaken during the 1st 12 months is expected to result in minor traffic impact.  When the end point bridge works commence at a later stage there may be delay issues.
Parkes Way lane additions are due for completion in September.
GCC noted that Gungahlin commuters travelling to Civic & Barton were currently experiencing delays due to work on Belconnen Way near Clunies Ross St, the Parkes Way roadwork & the Cotter Road works near Lady Denman Drive.  No information was available why the GDE has been regularly gridlocked in morning peak hours near Mitchell.
The Valley Way extension to Gundaroo Drive is not on a priority list.
Similarly the Nurdurr Drive extension to the GDE is not considered a priority.
ACT Roads has undertaken to provide an update in April.
General matters raised
GCC indicated that it was considering a program to encourage widespread NBN sign-up with a view to achieving the highest rate of community participation in Australia, given the long-standing interest of Gungahlin residents in high-speed broadband.  An initial target of 75% was abandoned due to slippages in roll-out dates for a number of Gungahlin suburbs; however a status check at the end of December 2013 will be set for an expected high take up rate.  Consideration was also being given to sponsoring a program to encourage schools to adopt NBN street boxes & to decorate them (with a prize awarded for the best design).
Community feedback was sought on several timely issues.  The 1st was the proposed 35 storey development planned for Belconnen – would Gungahlin residents accept similar or slightly smaller developments in their Town Centre?  We still face the critical issue of insufficient patronage of local businesses to warrant additional commercial activity.
The 2nd issue was the opportunity to comment on proposed increases in the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly – whether there was interest in a 5×5 model with one electorate specifically dedicated to the Gungahlin region. A follow-on issue was whether the community would prefer candidates in a Gungahlin electorate to represent specific suburbs or groups of suburbs (similar to a local government model) thus providing more direct representation for those residents.  It was noted that not one local (Gungahlin resident) candidate was elected in the seat of Molongolo at the last ACT election.
Ewan Brown
President Gungahlin Community Council

Leave a Reply