Whitlam to South Belconnen

Whitlam aerial photo looking south, 2021

A school will be built in Whitlam, however, it is a few years away yet. The SLA is pushing forward the Whitlam local shops and school development in Whitlam Stage 3. By 2025 the situation will look much better for Whitlam residents – but for now the suburb is isolated and lacks services. This leaves the residents of Whitlam to make do for at least 3 years.

Schools in the ACT around Whitlam

Where are the schools around Whitlam? Whitlam will, for a time, remain isolated at the end of the Molonglo valley. Schools are particularly important as the children living in Whitlam have to go to school somewhere. A full list of schools can be found on the ACT Government Open Data Portal.

Map 1: ACT Schools as shown on the ACT Government Open Data Portal

Cycling between Whitlam and south Belconnen

Riding from Whitlam to south Belconnen is something that many in Whitlam might like to do were it not for the lack of infrastructure on Coulter Drive. This is not likely to change soon. Riding on Coulter Drive is not safe and certainly not for children, which leaves the parents with little choice but to drive them.

The ACT Government supports active travel since 2015. The active travel strategy was launched by Mick Gentleman MLA Minister for Planning in May 2015.

Message from the Minister

“Good urban planning shapes our neighbourhoods to encourage people to walk, cycle and ride for recreation and social interaction. It provides options for people to walk, cycle, ride and catch public transport to destinations such as school, work and shops. As we encourage urban renewal and develop new suburbs, we will be able to further embed active living principles into the city and lives of its residents.”

Mick Gentleman MLA Minister for Planning May 2015, Building an Integrated Transport Network: Active Travel (ACT Government, May 2015)

Here is a case study demonstrating the requirements of riding to schools and shops in Belconnen from Whitlam. It requires a great deal of new cycle infrastructure. The infrastructure would benefit both Belconnen and Whitlam, but is not planned at this time. Coulter Drive is very steep and would require a low gradient design, as required by Austroads design standards.

Cycling routes are shown on the map 2 and the distances in the table 1 between Whitlam and selected destinations in south Belconnen, including schools.

Map 2: Main Community Route (MCR) and Local Community Routes (LCR) to DESTINATIONS from Whitlam

The conclusion here is that it is feasible but clearly not without a bike path (Major Community Route). There is certainly space for it but it is not planned and that means it could be a decade or more before we see it. The area on the corner of William Hovell Drive and Coulter Drive will become ovals as part of the Molonglo Stage 3 development.

Distance to selected destinations in Belconnen South from Whitlam

Up the hilll to Sprinvale Drive2.9km
Weetangera Primary4.0km
Hawker shops (group centre)5.5km
Jamision shops (group centre)4.9km
Belconnen High School5.5km
Macquarie Primary4.0km
Belconnen Town Centre6.3km
Table 1: Distance to selected destinations in Belconnen South from Whitlam, canberra.bike 2020

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