A great national capital needs great public transport

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PTCBR’s submission to the Inquiry into fostering and promoting the significance of Australia’s National Capital

Circe Cover Image
Artist’s impression of the future Parliament House light rail station, by Circe for PTCBR.

Canberra means many things to many people. For most PTCBR members, it’s where we live, work and play. But it’s also our national capital. The Commonwealth Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories (JSCNET) has launched an inquiry into how we can promote Canberra in this role.

Because we show up, PTCBR made a submission. We firmly believe that if Canberra is going to a vibrant national capital worthy of international recognition, people should be use public or active transport to get around, and do not need to rely on private vehicles. We want Canberra to be a city of people, not of monuments you can only see from a car. Sadly, the Parliamentary Triangle is still a pretty sterile place. We think better public transport and active transport is a way to help change that.

To that end, we made 3 recommendations.

  • the Commonwealth should fund light rail through the Parliamentary Triangle. Because it should.
  • the Commonwealth should fund better public transport service to institutions both in the Triangle (like Questacon and the National Gallery), and elsewhere in Canberra (Botanic Gardens, War Memorial). It’s still too hard to get to a lot of these places on a bus.
  • there should be a pedestrian/bike bridge between the National Museum and Lennox Gardens. This was on Griffin’s original plans, and there was a private proposal to do so in the 2000s. It’s an idea whose time has come.

It’s definitely worth reading our submission in greater detail, which is below. In total, there were 24 submissions, many of which reflect a split in views about what Canberra’s future should look like. Some groups, like PTCBR and Greater Canberra, think we should be placing greater priority into making Canberra a better city for people to live and work in, which means changes to our transport systems and land use. Others think we should emphasise preserving Canberra’s 20th century planning, and vistas to mountains and lakes. It’ll be interesting to see what the Committee thinks of it all.

Also, shout-out to friend of PTCBR, Circe, for their amazing impression of what light rail around Parliament House could look like!