STOP! Our town centre needs a masterplan

29 Sep, 2016

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We are calling for a STOP to any new major developments in the Gungahlin Town Centre until a master plan is created and agreed to by the Gungahlin community to address, roads, public transport and parking in the town centre. 

Gungahlin residents complain about poor planning in Gungahlin, we must stop and give the community the opportunity to be part of the planning process. It is impossible to unscramble an egg and it will be impossible to go back and undo some of the planned developments if we don't act now.

The Government is currently undertaking consultation on the Hibberson Street Pedestrian priority zone. www.yoursay.act.gov.au/hibberson-street-pedestrian-priority-zone

A development application is due out any day now proposing to relocate the bus stops to Gungahlin place.

Light rail is planned to travel down Hibberson Street from Flemington Road to terminate at Gungahlin Place which will see Hibberson Street from Kate Crace to Gungahlin Place closed to all traffic.

These three things alone are fundamental changes to the way the town centre operates and how traffic will flow and cannot be considered in isolation! These three things must not proceed until a master plan is finalised. There is no need to rush to move the buses, there is no need to rush to turn Hibberson Street into a shared zone, I am sure we have time to talk more about where light rail terminates and where the stops are along Hibberson street. We do believe the DA for the cinema should proceed as planned but the master plan must take into account this development.

A master plan will provide better planning for our roads in the town centre, parking and routes for public transport. It will give greater certainty and clarity for developers. The architects for the cinema complex had to change their plans after finding out about the light rail route! 

We all remember what happened when Hibberson Street was closed for The Marketplace extension. What is going to happen if Hibberson Street changes to a shared zone or closed to traffic completely and when light rail closes Hibberson Street from Kate Crace Street to Gungahlin Place to all traffic and the buses are travelling up and down Gungahlin Place among other traffic and parked cars. 

We have to consider traffic flow, pedestrian flow, parking and importantly access to the businesses! We also have to consider the zonings and what type of developments we should be encouraging on the remaining blocks in the town centre so we avoid the situation of having two hardware stores directly next to each other! We need to plan for future commercial opportunities to grow our employment base in the town centre. 

Now is the time to pause and think carefully and plan in consultation with the community and the business community. Let's think outside the square a bit and throw some new ideas on the drawing table. What if we made Kate Crace St, Efkarpidis St, Gozzard Street and Ernest Cavanagh Streets one way allowing for two lanes of traffic acting as a ring road round the main shopping blocks of the town centre? What if light rail didn't just terminate at Gungahlin Place but went all the way to the library and college? What if Gungahlin Place was closed to traffic except buses? What if The Valley Avenue and Anthony Rolfe Avenue had two lanes in each direction to act as ring roads diverting traffic from Flemington Road to Gundaroo Drive. What if The Valley Avenue was extended to Gundaroo Drive to avoid the school and Gungahlin Drive intersection? I am sure there is lot's of other ideas out there. Let's talk about it, let's draw it up, let's plan!

We are calling on all candidates running in the Yerrabi electorate to consider the long term benefits of developing this master plan for our town centre and support this idea. This process should only take six months and should not have an impact on any developments currently planned or underway.

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