PTCBR submission on the Whitlam Local Centre

Current and planned public transport routes in Whitlam (Source image from the Suburban Land Agency)

Canberrans love their local shops. It’s one of the hallmarks of good (sub)urban design in our city, which is all the more reason why we get so upset when they’re empty (see Giralang, Coombs).

This is why PTCBR made a brief submission to the Suburban Land Agency’s consultation about the Whitlam Local Centre, the newest suburb in Molonglo. It has the potential to be a great community hub, connected to the school, local bus routes, and rapid bus/light rail. But they need to start thinking about the little things now.

Our submission has some examples of what we like about our local shops, and what we don’t. In particular:

  • We like high streets, with shops facing out directly onto a street with nice big footpaths. Forde is a really good example of this.
  • Big open car parks are massive no-nos. They keep people locked in their cars, and are barriers to a vibrant high street. Too many of Canberra’s local shops in the last 30 years have this feature, and it can’t be allowed to continue (eg Bonner).
  • Bus stops should be close to the shops, where everyone can see them. The Whitlam local centre will be a big block, there’s no point in having the bus drop people all the way on the other side. Further, having the stops close to other activity increases ‘passive surveillance’, where people feel safer because they know they’re in eyeshot of others.

The submission is below, and we’ll keep an eye on how the centre design evolves.

PTCBR’s submission on the “Raising London Circuit” works approval

PTCBR have lodged a submission with the National Capital Authority on the works approval consultation for the “Raising London Circuit” project. While this is not the light rail project itself, it is an important first step towards the future delivery of light rail to Woden.

You can view the submission at the following link:

In summary:

  • PTCBR supports this project as an important improvement for public transport services and the City Hill precinct more broadly.
  • The anticipated 1-2 minute delays to bus services during the construction of this project are as an acceptable short term trade off given the longer term benefits of delivering light rail to Woden. However, the relevant authorities should continue to monitor these delays and institute further mitigation measures if they deteriorate significantly.
  • There are currently no bus stops planned around the new intersection, despite there being numerous developments planned for the area and the closest bus stops being 800 metres away. New bus stops should be included as part of this project.
  • The new intersection should feature bus priority measures to support faster and more reliable bus services along London Circuit east.
  • There are broad footpaths and segregated bike paths around the intersection, however some of the designs should be reconsidered, such as the proposed feature walls which will impede pedestrian movements across Commonwealth Avenue.

Details on the works approval are available at the following link:

Community Consultation | National Capital Authority (nca.gov.au)

The National Capital Authority are accepting submissions on this project until 24 December 2021.