THE ACT Government last week released the Capital Metro light rail consultation report, which Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell said demonstrates the thoroughness and importance of community involvement in early design work.
According to the government, passenger experience, integration with other transport modes and landscaping along Northbourne Avenue were some of the main topics raised by stakeholders and the community during consultation for stage one of Canberra's light rail network.
"The consultation program, which ran from 30 June to 10 August 2014, was a great success, resulting in 16,550 interactions with the local community and stakeholders," Mr Corbell said.
"This included 432 responses to an online survey, 572 people attending information sessions and the pop-up information centre, more than 9,200 visits to the Capital Metro website and more than 5,850 views of various Capital Metro videos on YouTube.
"Community feedback on the early design for stage one is essential to ensure the ACT Government delivers a high quality light rail network that meets the needs of its users. These numbers demonstrate a high level of awareness and interest in the project from the community."
The consultation report shows strong support for a light rail system that supports bicycle use, with an online survey indicating that 44 percent of respondents would take their bike on the light rail and 25 percent of those would take their bike on light rail every day.
"I am pleased to say that the feedback is directly influencing the delivery of the project. As a consequence of the strong demand, and reflecting Canberra's great cycling reputation, the Territory will seek light rail vehicles that can accommodate bicycles," Mr Corbell said.
"The community also provided useful feedback on the proposed locations for stops along the route. Of the 15 proposed stops, the project will now proceed with 13. There was low community support for a stop at Lysaght Street so it has been removed in favour of Well Station Drive.
"Support for the Swinden Street stop has ensured it stays in the final design, whereas low support for the Owen Flats stop means it will not be included in the first however, provision will be made to ensure this stop can be incorporated later to meet future demand."
Mr Corbell said stakeholder and community views would positively contribute to the final light rail design that would be used in the procurement phase for the project. Feedback would also inform other government activity including Northbourne Avenue corridor planning and the light rail master plan that is being developed.
In late October, the ACT Government called for expressions of interest from the private sector to build and operate the first stage of the light rail system between Gungahlin and Civic. Expressions of interest are due in December and a shortlist for the request for proposal stage will be released during the first quarter of next year. Construction is scheduled to start in 2016.
Photo: Artist's impression of light rail on Flemington Road, Canberra /Capital Metro.