The DRA conducted an on line survey between 15th May and 10 June 2018 to assess support for Light Rail through the suburb and adjacent areas. The survey and accompanying comments revealed a wide breadth of visions for Canberra and for Deakin. The diversity and the strength of feelings were particularly reflected in the language used in comments.
58% of respondents said they would use light rail while 36% said doing so was unlikely. The rest could not decide.
Broadly, 3 out of 5 are in favour of Light Rail and would use it.
Most respondents indicated they are sensitive to aesthetic issues:
- agreeing on the need for overhead wire free passage through National Capital Areas areas, and
- opposing tree removal.
Many of the supporters of light rail regard DRA’s objective of maintaining the bush capital concept as an old idea. They argue for infill and development and that the garden city ideal is used to protect a privileged level of local amenity at the cost of keeping others out.
Only 33% of respondents were opposed to development infill, a result which could be skewed by a pro-development campaign in the early days of the survey. When promotion of the survey was conducted locally, opposition to infill development rose markedly, – probably attributable to that privileged factor in play.
Other respondents were horrified at the majority support in this survey for modifications to the bridge over the Lake. They are very concerned about the impact of light rail on the Canberra landscape and the aesthetic of the National Capital.
The highest percentage, 69% positive response, to any question in the survey was received for investigation of alternative technologies for electrified transport. Respondents also needed demonstration of the benefits and cost effectiveness of light rail technology in a Canberra context. The exception came from strong light rail supporters. They really like trams regardless of cost.
DRA supports a properly and respectfully designed public transport infrastructure, lane-separated where possible from other vehicle traffic, that is fully compatible with garden city values, in fact more so than the inevitable traffic jams and pollution of ever-increasing motor traffic.
A wider publicly-funded survey and debate is needed.