The case for light rail

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Since the Gungahlin to Civic line opened in 2019, light rail has had a hugely positive impact on Canberra. It provides a frequent, high-capacity, and attractive mode of transport that conveniently links many important northside destinations. It has also prompted significant development that has improved land use along the route corridor, providing considerable economic opportunities as well as housing for thousands of Canberrans. We can’t wait to see those same benefits extend across the entire city – light rail is a fantastic transformative opportunity for the ACT.

PTCBR was therefore thrilled to see the Canberra Times interview with Light Rail Stage 2A and 2B Project Director Ashley Cahif in the article Pipe it, fill it, pack it: the fresh dirt on ACT’s next light rail project. Mr Cahif succinctly states why light rail is an integral part of ensuring Canberra is a liveable city now and into the future, highlighting the importance of future-focused transport planning as well as the immediate benefits of urban renewal. Watch or check out the transcript below.

So Raising London Circuit’s the first component of the light rail project, and Light Rail Stage 2A brings the extension of the Stage 1 system all the way down to Commonwealth Park. But then it moves into Stage 2B, and the wider light rail network which goes around Canberra.

It’s important to keep in mind that what we’re actually doing is building a 100 year asset. What happens in Canberra today is not going to be what Canberra is like in 50 years time.

The latest projections out of Treasury are in around 2060. We’re going to have something like 750,000 people in Canberra. We need to be able to move them, and we can’t build more roads. Congestion is going to increase. Something like public transport, and light rail in particular which doesn’t sit on the roads, is key to ensuring that we can continue to move around.

Canberra’s a great place, it’s easy to get around, but as we get more and more population it’s going to become harder and harder. And that’s what light rail is – part of that solution.

Part of this project itself, which is the London Circuit component of it, is prior to us starting construction it was very road heavy. It was really around how do cars get around the centre of the city. What we’re doing here is actually activating the area for pedestrians and other active travel, along with light rail and public transport, and part of that overall City to the Lake development that is occurring.

We’ve worked really closely with the NCA to ensure that the urban design outcomes that we will get when we finish this project are world standard.

Ashley Cahif (Light Rail Project Director, Major Projects Canberra)