The ACT Government conducted a Feasibility Study for Active Travel infrastructure within the Gungahlin Town Centre in 2022. The final report has recently been released and identifies 12 individual community route links to improve active travel in the Gungahlin Town Centre. As detailed here – Active travel in the Gungahlin Town Centre – funding has been included in the 2023-24 budget to progress high priority segments through to detailed design.
The GCC partnered with Canberra cycling advocacy group Pedal Power to participate in the feasibility study, and provided the following joint feedback on a draft of the report. We would welcome any comments on the feasibility study or the comments below – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that references below are to section numbers in the final report.
High Level Comments
- The new proposed community route network proposed by the feasibility study looks very promising and when implemented will be a vast improvement on the existing arrangements. Specific changes of note are the moving of the main route away from Flemington Road and the use of the verge along the reserve to the south of the town centre
- The feasibility study has not sufficiently addressed the significant challenges associated with access into the centre of the Town Centre and the public transports interchange at Gungahlin Place. This would seem to be a significant failing/deficiency.
- The feasibility identifies several valid and significant “overarching issues” that PP and GCC agree should be actioned ‘prior to implementation of the recommended improvements’ (noting that they are likely beyond the scope of the study and possibly even the TCCS Directorate). These include the four points made in the Executive Summary:
- Bus movements in Gungahlin Place represent the highest hazard to active travellers in this important area [ see also 11.3.1 ]
- There are legacy issues that present hazards to active travellers from infrastructure inconsistent with planning and design standards [ see also section 11.3.2 ]
- A broader study is needed that considers the speed environment on major collectors adjacent to the Town Centre such as Anthony Rolfe Avenue and The Valley Avenue to reflect their purpose and proximity to the Town Centre
- A mechanism is needed to protect the amenity of the verges and planned green corridors in the Town Centre area from degradation from proposed future development such as that to the east of the Town Centre [see also 11.4.1]
And the two additional points raised in the Conclusion:
- Blackspot funding [see also 11.4.2]
- Connections to future facilities and developments [see also 11.4.3]
- The activities of multiple directorates needs to be greatly improvement and coorinated to ensure better outcomes in specific locations/precincts
- Active Travel ACT needs to be consulted about temporary seating on verges and on Development Applications as both can have significant effects on the active travel experience
- Prioritise work on links that are less constrained by issues identified above
- We would like to see something more specific regarding the needs of residents living within the town centre, including in existing high rise towers in the nortwest precinct
- In denser-usage areas (in and around bus/light rail interchange), the separation between travel modes (particularly e-cycling and personal mobility devices need to be very explicit, i.e. dedicated lanes, barriers, fences, planting. Challenging, but maybe that challenge needs to be addressed, or at least considered.
- We would like to see some serious effort applied to explore some radical ideas, eg:
- Remove parking on one side of the Hibberson Street shared space to create a cycleway
- Constructing a large European-style parking station for bikes, scooters etc in Gungahlin place or in one of the underground carparks close by (could even include end-of-trip facilities like showers and toilettes
- Moving the bus interchange
- Businesses and shopping centre operators within the town centre (including those at Yerrabi and along Link 08), need to be included in the discussions
- Some use-case analysis needs to be undertaken on movements of people to better understand what experiences need to be accommodated.
- There needs to be a specific focus on improving the “destination” experience, eg.
- possible EU-style large secure bike/PMD facility
- better distribution of secure facilities
- better access to and use of underground car parks (existing bike parking under shopping centres are very difficult to access
- Section 2 – Background Information Review
- [GCC] The outcome of the Town Centre Planning Refresh was Territory Variation 364. GCC is strongly of the view that this variation does not address the recommedations of the Refresh; rather it has diluted several aspects of the Gungahlin Town Centre Precinct Code (e.g. removing the road and active travel hierarchy). GCC remains of the view that the Gungahlin Town Centre Precinct Code does not address the issues identified in sections 11.3.2 and 11.4.1 and the Executive Summary.
- Section 3 – Existing Infrastructure Snapshot
- An excellent and detailed summary that captures a very large number of issues with the existing active travel infrastructure.
- Section 4 – Constraints, Risks, Opportunities
- Although somewhat overwhelming in that there seem to be many more constraints and risks than opportunities, we have no specific comment on the details.
- Section 5 – Active Travel Network Design Review
- We strongly support the proposed community route network.
- Section 6 – Proposed Upgrades
- The links are logical and well argued implementations of the proposed community route network.
- We note that most of the links proposed are subject to, part of, or adjacent to, sites that are yet to be developed and, in several cases, for which the use is yet to be determined – further engagement with numerous agencies is required:
- Link 01 – Current Development (The Establishment), upgrade Gundarroo Drive (TC). Has any thought been given to building a pedestrian and cycling overpass over Gundaroo Drive?
- Link 02, 08 – Affected by the Yerrabi Pond redevelopment/refurbishment (TCCS/Friends of Yerrabi)
- Link 03 – Sale/development of adjacent blocks (SLA/TC/EPSDD)
- Link 04 – Sale/development of Block 1 Section 228 (currently an at-grade car park) and the sales/development of East Gungahlin (SLA/EPSDD)
- Link 05 – Current development of Burgmann School car park
- Link 06, 08 – Bus Interchange rework (TC)
- Link 07 – Sale/development of adjacent blocks (SLA/TC/EPSDD)
- Link 12 – Future Linear Park and East Gungahlin (SLA/EPSDD)
GCC and PP suggest that these may significantly affect the priority of the link projects, as will the consultations associated with these developments, most notably the SLA-led Gungahlin Town Centre East Place-Making.
- It is important that planning controls are strengthened and enforced to deliver the proposed active network in the presence of these developments based on the issues identified in the feasibility study.
- Section 7 – Safety in Design
- No comment.
- Section 8 – Budget Estimates
- Clearly, a significant amount of (essentially remedial) funding is needed to deliver a functional active travel network.
- It seems likely that the cost of implementing the proposed links can be substantially reduced through strengthened and enforced planning controls applied to the developments noted above.
- Section 9 – Prioritisation of Capital Works
- The analysis is perhaps too simplistic, and needs to factor in issues identified in the study and those noted above re future development.
- Comments below mostly focused on packages marked HIGH.
- Link 01 – See notes above – may be more realistic to have multiple packages; considered important but not urgent.
- Link 02 – High (recreational) value for community – need to engage TCCS/Friends of Yerrabi.
- Link 03 – important but not urgent – most of its value will only be realised when link 06 is done.
- Link 04 – packages 1-3 possibly need to be HIGH; perhaps include a temporary path for Hinder-Hamer part of package 4.
- Link 06 – this link ‘unlocks’ the value of many of the other links because it’s the ‘destination’; needs to be VERY HIGH priority to action (may be hard to deliver).
- Link 08 – High (recreational) value for community – need to engage TCCS/Friends of Yerrabi
- Section 11 – Conclusions and Recommendations
- Some of the important conclusions need to be emphasised in the Executive Summary.