THE ACT Government this week launched the next round of consultation for the proposed Capital Metro light rail project in Canberra, with public input invited on design guidelines relating to landscaping, walking and cycling, light rail stop design and the overall vision for the corridor.
Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell said the government is setting out its urban design vision to ensure that the consortia bidding for the project have a good understanding of government, stakeholder and community expectations when developing their light rail designs.
It follows an Expressions of Interest process for the construction of the first stage of the light rail system between the city and Gungahlin, which ended late last year and yielded four submissions from four groups. A more detailed Request for Proposals is due to be issued later this year.
"The Capital Metro Agency is using feedback from the early design consultation – held last year – to further develop the thinking on the project's urban design elements to inform the light rail procurement process," Mr Corbell said.
"This is another great opportunity for the community to let the team at Capital Metro know if they are on the right track and to share their views on the urban designs, including landscaping."
Included in the design consultation is the government's recommendation for a new species of tree for the Northbourne Avenue corridor. After receiving feedback and technical advice, Eucalyptus rossii, also known as the Scribbly Gum, has been put forward as the most suitable species.
"Last year, stakeholders and the community gave us strong feedback that the fourth generation of trees along Northbourne Avenue should be native, in particular local to the Canberra area, and resilient to drought conditions," Mr Corbell said.
"Many of the trees remaining on Northbourne Avenue are in decline and will need to be replaced in the near future regardless of the light rail project. The selection of a suitable species to replace the current Eucalyptus elata trees is an important decision that will define the sense of arrival to the nation's capital."
The latest design elements for the corridor also propose native grassland plantings beneath the eucalypt tree canopy along the median as a resilient and attractive alternative to unsustainable irrigated grass.
The consultation process also seeks feedback on four possible options for walking and cycling along the Northbourne corridor, including Copenhagen-style cycleways, a dedicated median cycleway, a shared cycle and walk way, or improvements to the existing arrangements.
Image: Artist's impression of City Station / Capital Metro.