Trying to cycle from the shops at Wright, Molonglo Group Centre or Whitlam to CIVIC will not be easy without good planning. Molonglo Valley currently lacks good design for cycling. The Molonglo River Reserve Management Plan makes it harder, as cycle infrastructure is needed in the reserve area. Cyclist are expected to ride around the reserve area which, as can be seen from maps in this article, will be a long ride.
If you are riding on a bumpy bike path, you would hope the bumps would be fixed in a few months or one or two years at the most. The politicians and government officials that make up our government will tell you to be patient, and they are working on it, but we have a discrepancy in the time frame. Cycle infrastructure projects in the ACT take 6-8 years to complete – two legislative terms.
The Molonglo Valley Active Travel Masterplan was awarded to SMEC Australia by the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) – known to most as ACT Planning. canberra.bike established by FOI back in 2021 that Molonglo Valley Active Travel Masterplan did not exist back then.
Planning mistakes are evident from the Molonglo Valley traffic chaos. EPSDD still has much to learn about planning for pedestrians and cyclists in new estates. Molonglo is only 10 km from Civic. The rapid uptake of cycling for transport has not eventuated due to poor design, with a car culture and car dependency as a result. Cycling for transport requires fast and direct, grade separated cycle infrastructure. What has gone wrong in the Molonglo Valley?
When we walk the halls of Planning, Transport and Legislative Assembly in the ACT today, we can be sure that none of those people we see will be there in 30 years. Community groups and councils lobby with MLAs and mandarins, who temporarily fill the roles. Building a cycle network is a long term task, requiring forward-thinking past the current political cycle. The cycle network will take 30 years to build. In that time, Canberra’s population will almost double. City builders think in decades and not years. Cycle corridors reserve the space to build that cycle network.
Molonglo 3 East is an area bigger than the built area of Write, Coombs and Denman Prospect combined. Just Stage 1 of Molonglo 3 East will likely take just as long to build as Whitlam stages 1, 2, and 3. Molonglo 3 East makes Whitlam look small. Five years for Molonglo 3 East Stage 1 and 20 years for Stages 1 to 4 in total. Stage 5 will come last and likely only after the East West Arterial is finished. Way off, in any case. By that time, Woden CIT and Light Rail Stage 2 (Woden) is finished. Canberra will not be the same place.
The Molonglo 3 East Future Urban Area will open up new ways to ride to Belconnen from south to north around 2030-2035. Austroads recommends gradients below 5% for comfortable riding. Direct routes are otherwise preferred. What route options does Molonglo 3 East provide? We consider routes from John Gorton Drive Bridge to Kippax Group Centre and Belconnen Town Centre.
In recent days, a number of articles have been written about the WSP study. The document obtained from a tender was, however, corrupted. Now a better copy has become available, it will be posted here with all the appendices. The original articles are still relevant, and the link to the corrupted document will be replaced in due course. In the meantime, the documents are available here.
The Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study is a combination of engineering (WSP) and urban design (RobertsDay). The content related to cycling is largely found in the reports written by RobertsDay. RobertsDay is facilitating a Movement and Place framework discussion between ACT Transport and ACT Environment on the go. Molonglo 3 East project is about experimentation and innovation. The cycle network is still inconclusive but appears promising.
The topography of Molonglo 3 East demands a reframing of the way planning is done in the ACT. Best practices that apply to the Molonglo valley are not support by the Estate Development Code, Single and Multi-Unit Housing Development Codes and the zoning codes in the Territory Plan. Molonglo 3 East is something new and exciting that will push ACT planing towards an outcomes planning mechanism.