An ACT business association’s vision to replace an existing train line in East Canberra with light rail and active travel infrastructure has been welcomed by the territory’s peak cycling lobby group.
The Fyshwick Business Association’s Eastwick Greenline proposal, unveiled last month, would be a boost for sustainability and community health in Canberra, while unlocking a large area of unutilised land and linking several key attractions, according to the group’s president, Rob Evans.
“The east end of Fyshwick is the perfect place for a brand-new, multi-modal transit hub where heavy rail meets light rail and which would provide a fitting arrival to the national capital for people travelling by train – instead of the brown box with zero amenity or connectivity that is currently Canberra station,” he said.
The hub would also include park-and-ride and end of journey facilities for active travellers.
“Alongside the light rail, the Greenline affords parallel separated access for active travel with pedestrians having additional pathways.
“Canberrans have always ridden bikes and now e-scooters are popular. We need to make it easier for people to get out of cars and we simply cannot squander the opportunity in any new light rail infrastructure to include adjacent safe and accessible active travel corridors.
“Reliable public transport and active travel options are good for business, especially when they take cars off the road in a place which is already clogged with traffic most of the day.”
The proposed project would bring together two branches of the Eastern Network to form a closed loop.
Rob said the Eastwick light rail route would deliver access to a “string of pearls” including destinations like Manuka Oval, the Kingston Arts Precinct, Kingston Foreshore, East Lake, Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Fyshwick Markets, CIT Fyshwick, Dairy Road, central and east Fyshwick and then on to both Canberra Airport and Queanbeyan along different routes.
The proposal is the “sort of forward thinking Canberra needs to create a healthier and more sustainable future”, according to Pedal Power ACT executive director Simon Copeland, although he says the advocacy group will want to examine its finer details.
“We are particularly delighted to see the Fyshwick Business Association centring active travel as part of this proposal. For too long there has been a belief that cars are the only way people commute to businesses,” Simon said.
“We know that is not true and this proposal recognises that active travel is good for business and our community more broadly.”
Simon said he was particularly delighted to see active travel integrated with public transport and good planning in this proposal.
“Active travel works best when integrated with public transport and high-density housing. This plan is good because it integrates both,” he added.
“Increasing density brings people closer to services and employment, making active transport options far more viable.”
Rob Evans said the Eastwick Greenline proposal is the culmination of 18 months’ work with architects and planners and listening to important stakeholders about their aspirations for the East Canberra precinct.
A representative of the project architects, Felicity Stewart, said: “The fundamental challenge of this century is to make our cities more sustainable and healthy places to live.
“This means creating car-free green streets that have outstanding public transport, encourage active travel and wellbeing for all people.
“Canberra is uniquely placed to deliver this vision.”
Public feedback on the proposal is welcomed at www.fyshwickbusiness.com.au.
Rob said the association would summarise and pass on those comments to government to encourage decisionmakers to “crank up the timetable on their strategic investigation of this area”.