Progress welcome on Garden City Cycle Route

Progress welcome on Garden City Cycle Route

Pedal Power has welcomed the release of the proposed route of the Garden City Cycle Route. However, we have raised some ongoing concerns with the design and called for the Government to expand the scope of this vital project. We encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation process!

The new route will run from the intersection of Cooyong Street and Torrens Street, down Torrens Street in Braddon, Angas Street in Ainslie, and up Majura Avenue to the intersections both of Hawdon Street and Phillip Avenue. Here there are two proposed spurs through Downer before the route travels through Watson and terminates on the corner of Antill Street and the Federal Highway.

In addition to the route itself, the ACT Government is proposing the development of an Active Travel street along the length of Sherbrooke Street in Ainslie. This active travel street will see a reduction of speed limits to 30km/hr and the introduction of traffic calming measures. This will encourage cycling and other active travel along this busy pedestrian street that borders on the North Ainslie Primary School.

Pedal Power has welcomed the release of these designs and is excited to see construction on the project begin soon. This is a much-awaited link in the area and will likely see significantly increased cycling activity in the inner north. We also welcome the introduction of an active street. This is an experiment that has long been needed in the ACT. We believe it will prove highly popular, creating space for more such streets to be rolled out across the ACT.

Despite this, we continue to have concerns about the scope of the project and how Government policy is limiting the capacity to build a truly integrated network in the inner suburbs.

Of biggest concern, the route completely bypasses some of the key destinations in the area. There are no additional links to either the Dickson or Ainslie shops and the high-density shopping precincts of Lonsdale and Mort Streets still receive no additional cycling infrastructure. In addition, there are no links between the Garden City Cycle Route and any light rail stops along Northbourne Avenue. While the project provides a decent north-south link, there are still many missing connections, which will make it difficult for many to access.

These issues are based primarily in the fact that the Government is insisting on only building the Garden City Cycle Route on verges. They are unwilling to touch any road space, whether it is reducing on-street car parking or reducing lane width for cars.

This has created a range of problems. It means that the entire route will be limited to 3 metres in width, which is well below the recommended 5 metres from Pedal Power. It has also significantly limited the options of the route itself, with roads that have a high density of driveways often being ruled out of the project. Pedal Power understands that this is, for example, why the route currently does not include any link on Cowper Street to connect people riding from the south to Dickson Shops.

In addition, this approach is increasing the cost and time for the project to be developed. The ACT Government’s Active Travel Plan has promoted the idea of building pop-up temporary cycle lanes. These are cheap and effective ways to increase cycling activity, as has been shown in cities around Australia. Streets such as Torrens Street could possibly see such lanes rolled out, creating a safe cycle lane within a matter of weeks or months. By only building this route on the verge however, the ACT Government is avoiding an opportunity to test this cheap and fast option. This will lengthen timelines and increase costs.

Pedal Power will continue to engage with this project, and we encourage members to participate in the consultation process. You can either attend one of the project team’s pop-ups or sign up for a ride along the route. All the details are here.