Pedal Power Executive Officer John Armstrong oversaw a lively debate earlier this month with Capital Metro, ACT Roads and an audience of Pedal Power members.
Helen Meayr of Capital Metro was keen to stress that this was an opportunity for the cycling community to put forward their views on the Light Rail project – and attendees made sure a range of issues were brought to the table.
Key areas of discussion revolved around ensuring that cycling is integrated into any future plans – including upgrading existing cycle ways, provision for bike storage at stations and on the trams themselves, and looking at potential for a parallel cycle lane alongside the tram route.
Safety and security were top of the list, with concerns raised over adequate storage for bikes and the danger of cycling over inset tram lines.
Capital Metro confirmed that bike enabled trams were part of the design standards for the project and that rail tracks will be flush with the road. They also stated that access to stops will be via traffic light control to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety.
Capital Metro representatives also revealed that the proposed hours of operation for the light rail are around 6 am to 11 pm and that flip seats are being considered to accommodate bikes, as well as separate storage.
ACT Roads were unable to commit to a parallel cycle lane and referred the audience instead to a six month piece of work commencing shortly, that will better define the layout and use of the Northbourne corridor – including a review of cycle ways and shared paths.
The session also gave Pedal Power members a chance to put forward their own ideas and concerns and there were plenty of these forthcoming. These included ensuring adequate space for bikes at peak times, making sure that cyclists are able to wheel bikes onto trams, considering integration with the Jolimont Bus Interchange Centre and giving cycle riders crossing priority at intersections along with trams.
Members also expressed the need to ensure that the linking of the tram stations to the current network of shared paths was vital if the cycling community were to actively engage with the light rail. Helen concluded by stating that notes from the meeting would be recorded as part of the Capital Metro Community Consultation on Stage 1 Design, which is currently nearing its conclusion.
This is just the first stage of the development of the Light Rail for Canberra, and Pedal Power will continue to keep members up to date on developments as well as any future opportunities to input their views on its impact on the capital’s cyclists.