CBR Cycle Routes C1, C3, C4 and C7 connect the town centres of Gungahlin, Belconnen, Civic and Woden. Lake Burley Griffin and the Molonglo Rivers Reserve forms a barrier, cutting Canberra in two. Hills and ridges do the rest, giving Canberra its north-south elongated form. How straight can the C1, C3, C4 and C7 be made?
Just four routes will form the majority of the active transport between town centres. The other town centres are too far apart for most people to commute or separated by Canberra’s geography, lakes, reserves and design that may make Canberra pretty but a mess for active transport.
The new CBR Cycle Routes map (April 2022) shows the whole of Canberra on ONE page. The map is twice as high as it is wide. This is what Canberra looks like – tall and thin. Tuggeranong is too far south. Gungahlin is cut off from Civic by nature reserves. Active transport between Gungahlin, Belconnen, Civic and Woden can work, the rest is doubtful – which is why we need light rail.
Comparison of routes
The routes are compared using the following metric:
Line of sight distance: “as the bird flys”, the straight line distance between the two points is the best for a bike path.
Actual distance: the current route of the CBR Cycle Route on the map above (April 2022) OR when a route does not exist that has any chance of working (C4), then we propose a possible route that could be built.
Directness Factor: The directness factor is from the ACT Active Travel Standards (MIS05) which mandates a factor of 1.2 for Principal and Main Community Routes and 1.3 for Local Community Routes. The reality of Canberra urban design with many reserves and lakes makes this difficult to achieve. It is calculated be dividing the Actual distance by the Line of sight distance. Example: If the Actual distance is 50% longer than the Line of sight distance, the Directness Factor is 1.5 (150%).
Civic to Gungahlin C1
The CBR Cycle Route C1 Civic to Gungahlin would be much straighter if we did not have to wind between three huge grass reserves. Gungahlin could be built further south toward Civic, too, were it not for these reserves. Because of the reserves, Gungahlin has been forced to develop towards the north which makes the whole district much less favourable for active transport. For active transport, reserves are better placed on the edge of the city and not in the middle of it. The grass reserves are a legacy of Canberra’s planning and good example of how the decisions we make cement in car dependence. It leaves Canberra planners now little choice but to increase urban densification into the Inner North. The World, for active transport, ends at EPIC where the grass reserves start.
CBR Cycle Route C1 Civic to Gungahlin performance
- Line of sight distance 10.2 km
- Actual distance 13.6 km
- Directness Factor 1.3.
Civic to Belconnen C3
CBR Cycle Route C3 Civic to Belconnen is favourable due to the proximity of Belconnen from Civic. Belconnen is relatively flat and mostly rideable. The route C3 is relatively circuitous but only because of the C3 detour through Lyneham. Should a 4 m grade separated bike path ever be built along Belconnen Way it would become much shorter and faster.
CBR Cycle Route C3 Civic to Belconnen performance
- Line of sight distance 7.3 km
- Actual distance 10.3 km
- Directness Factor 1.4
Civic to Woden C4
CBR Cycle Route C4 Civic to Woden does not exist in an useable form. Should we consider a direct and better alignment along Commonwealth Avenue and Adelaide Avenue, then the distance would drop dramatically and make it a very favourable route with a directness factor of just 1.3 (actual distance divided by line-of-sight distance). A grade separated 4 m bike path is required with priority crossings of side streets. A feasibility study for this bike path has been suggested to be built with the light rail to Woden.
CBR Cycle Route C4 future option Civic to Woden performance
- Line of sight distance 8.4 km
- Actual distance 11.2 km
- Directness Factor 1.3.
Belconnen to Gungahlin C7
Finally, CBR Cycle Route C7 Belconnen to Gungahlin. The population of Belconnen is expected to reach 120,000 people and Gungahlin 100,000. With a 0.25 million living in these two districts, we may expect considerable traffic between the two town centres. The route is already about as straight as it can be as the alignment is the result of avoiding lakes and hills. The route passes the suburbs of McKellar, Giralang, Crace, and Palmerston. So, we cannot make the route shorter, but we could make the path better – both smoother and wider, with better lighting.
CBR Cycle Route C7 Belconnen to Gungahlin performance
- Line of sight distance 8.2 km
- Actual distance 11.0 km
- Directness Factor 1.4.