The Weston Creek Community Council is disappointed with the comments made by Minister Rattenbury this week over the proposed duplication of the last leg of the Cotter Road between the Tuggeranong Parkway and McCulloch Street Curtin.
At a time when RoadsACT have completed the plans, The National Capital Authority has approved the proposed development, the matter went to the ACT Cabinet in 2015/16 for possible funding [sadly it wasn’t funded for the last year] and will go again for the 2016/17 budget, and the ACT Opposition has said that it will fast forward the completion of the road if elected, Minister Rattenbury objects to the proposal because apparently we are all supposed to abandon our cars and catch buses (we don’t see light rail coming to Weston Creek and Molonglo any time soon so it must be a bus!!).
This is not just a duplication for the people in Molonglo and Weston Creek but also those who use Cotter Road to travel from Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Gungahlin to reach various southside destinations. The unduplicated part of Cotter Road is already a major bottleneck, with knock-on effects on the surrounding road system. As Molonglo grows, congestion will further increase. Duplication needs to happen now, not years from now, when it’ll be too late.
Minister Rattenbury may talk a lot about encouraging people onto public transport instead of roads, but in Weston Creek and Molonglo the government hasn’t been delivering on the public transport front either. Current bus routes are too circuitous, inefficient and rely on interchanging at Woden. To encourage public transport uptake, both Weston Creek and Molonglo need bus routes which go directly down Cotter Road to the Parliamentary Triangle and the City. Such routes should run all day, not just during a brief peak period. Duplicating Cotter Road, and incorporating bus lanes into design, would help facilitate this public transport vision.
We were to get an upgrade in the bus time table but unfortunately the proposed changes the Bus Timetable for October can’t go ahead as we are 25 buses short!! Currently there is only one peak hour bus service to the city from Molonglo and five from Weston Creek in the morning. All other services travel via Woden on basically an hourly basis. Council has made public its views on the inadequate bus service for Weston Creek and Molonglo on a number of occasions. Clearly, while ever the bus service involves changing buses at Woden patronage will be low and this is more likely to be lower for Molonglo where not only will passengers travel via Woden but also via Weston Creek. Such routes are circuitous, inefficient and discourage public transport usage at a time when increasing public transport use is supposed to be one of the Government’s key priorities.
Finally, the very buses that Minister Rattenbury says we should catch are already caught up in the current traffic jams on the Cotter Road – and yet the Minister refuses to duplicate this stretch of road!
You can’t have one without the other, Minister – we need a better bus service and for the Cotter Road to be duplicated.
We call on Minister Rattenbury to reconsider his opposition to this important piece of infrastructure, of benefit not just to Weston Creek and Molonglo but the city as a whole, and implore him to follow words with action and deliver for the people Weston Creek and Molonglo a decent public transport system, incorporating all-day direct bus services to the Parliamentary Triangle and the city along Cotter Road.
It’s already started, this is the flow on effect of building a light rail system when you can’t afford it. We have near us Cotter Road duplicated on both sides except for a short section in the middle, which they keep delaying duplicating (no doubt because of funding pressures as a result of light rail and other poor economic management). This leaves us with a massive bottle neck and also means the money spent on duplicating the existing two sides was a complete waste of money.
Every year the current ACT Govt makes some outlandish claim about returning to surplus in the near future only to post an even greater loss than the year before. Canberra needs to wake up and realise that the only way to put competition on Government to perform here is to at some point change the party which is in power.