The recent Gungahlin Community Council survey received responses from 1,329 people. Of those people, two-thirds said there were roads or traffic issues in Gungahlin that needed fixing.
I’ve been an MLA for just over two months now, and in this time roads are the main local issue people raise with me, which is why I started a petition to have the Gundaroo Drive duplication funded in this year’s budget.
As a Gungahlin resident, I know how congested some of our roads are.
The daily commute is getting longer and longer. The ACT Government has a long term plan to make our public transport system more sustainable, including the vital start of a light rail network, Capital Metro. But we still need to address some of the structural issues with our roads as soon as possible.
It’s also no secret that Gungahlin is the fastest growing area in Australia. Gungahlin was responsible for 71 per cent of the total growth in the territory in 2013-14, with Crace and Harrison gaining an extra 1000 people in a year!
With these pressures in mind, last week I met with representatives from the Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) Directorate to discuss road issues and priorities for the next year. Thank you very much to the Minister for Roads and Parking, Mick Gentleman, for facilitating this meeting for me. It was great to be able to share some of the concerns that have been raised directly with me, as well as those that came out of the GCC survey, and what can be done to alleviate some of these problems.
I asked a number of questions, such as why the signalisation on Gungahlin Drive can’t be better managed in the mornings to allow more cars to travel through the lights into Mitchell. I know how much this can bank up the traffic heading south. But TAMS said they have that calibrated as closely as possible so that traffic turning right into Mitchell can’t bank up along Gungahlin Drive heading north. Otherwise it would be a safety issue. But they are working on alternatives.
They also spoke about plans for better coordination of our roads system, and it was reassuring to know they understand the issues facing Gungahlin residents.
I also took the opportunity to highlight the main priorities I see for the Gungahlin area when it comes to roads, including:
- The duplication of Gundaroo Drive: This is a big one for me because it will take a lot of pressure off surrounding suburbs, particularly in the morning peak period and on Saturday mornings, which always get worse over the winter sport season. This work was designed a couple of years ago and can get underway as soon as funding becomes available. You can sign my petition to duplicate Gundaroo Drive here.
- The design of the Horse Park Drive duplication: This is a vital piece of road infrastructure around the Gungahlin region. With the completion of Majura Parkway, this road will have even heavier use. Design of the duplication needs to get underway as soon as possible.
- Improved safety for the intersection at Horse Park Drive and Katherine Avenue: This intersection is one of the hotspots along Horse Park Drive that will need to be addressed now that more people are living in the surrounding suburbs.
- Roads and parking issues in the Town Centre: There is a lot of new activity in the Town Centre, all of which is great for our local businesses, especially the opening of Winyu House, the ACT Government Office Block, which will bring up to 600 new jobs to Gungahlin. But there will be some short-term challenges. I asked TAMS to consider these and keep a close eye on the issues once Winyu House opens and the redevelopment of The Marketplace gets underway.
Other issues I raised were:
- The blocking of traffic across Gungahlin Drive due to the pedestrian traffic lights at Burgmann School.
- Traffic entering Gungahlin Leisure Centre turning across The Valley Avenue.
- Additional roads access for Crace residents. I’m advised the duplication of Gundaroo Drive will help to resolve this issue.
TAMS were able to provide a good picture of the issues in Gungahlin and the surrounding region. I’m confident they understand the issues facing Gungahlin residents, but they also do rely on locals to provide information on where things are not working so well – so keep it up! There is a lot to do, and budget pressures mean we need to target areas around the ACT most in need and I will always be mindful of that.
But I will continue to advocate for Gungahlin, and I’m pleased to say that TAMS will be coming to the next Gungahlin Community Council meeting on 8 April 2015 to talk through some of the issues with our community leaders. They will also be holding a stall at the upcoming Gungahlin Festival, a great opportunity to come along and have a chat to them about some of the issues that matter to you in your suburb.