Woden bus interchange upgrade one step closer with development application
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Woden bus interchange upgrade one step closer with development application

Further upgrades to Woden's tired bus interchange are a step closer as the ACT government continues to try and breathe new life into the struggling town centre.

A development application for the next stage of the project is expected to be lodged with the ACT Planning and Land Authority and open to public comment by the end of the month, despite uncertainty over the proposed Westfield expansion.

An artist's impression of the upgraded Woden bus interchange, including new stairs and lift.

An artist's impression of the upgraded Woden bus interchange, including new stairs and lift.

The latest facelift will see $3.25 million announced in last year's ACT budget used to fund access and safety improvements at the Bowes Street site, including a new set of stairs and lift.

The upgrade aims to revitalise the aging bus stop and strengthen links between the interchange and Woden town square, creating a safer environment for pedestrians.

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The existing Woden Bus Interchange.

The existing Woden Bus Interchange.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

The first set of upgrades was originally expected to begin in August. It also includes the demolition of the western end of the interchange and improved lighting.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the development application was expected to be lodged with the ACT Planning and Land Authority shortly.

He said the new lift would be flooded with natural light and more accessible for people with a disability, older residents and people with prams and shopping trolleys.

Architecturally-designed stairs connecting the interchange with the town square will include a bicycle rail for cyclists to roll their bikes up and down the middle of the stairs.

Meanwhile, the old toilets at the base of the existing stairs will be removed and replaced with automatic self-cleaning Exeloo toilets, located nearby on Bowes Street.

Mr Barr said the next stage of the upgrade represented the ACT government's commitment to revitalising the town centre.

"This project highlights the ACT government's commitment to maintaining Woden town centre as a vibrant transport, shopping and community hub," he said.

"The project has involved extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders and user groups.

"Adjacent building owners involved in the design have also given their support to the development."

The ACT government allocated $2.5 million from the 2013-14 budget for the design of the new interchange at the existing Bowes Street site.

Early upgrades last year included the demolition of the old police station and the detachment of Medibank House.

The next phase of works comes four months after the ACT government revealed a draft plan to transform the Woden town centre into an economic hub resembling Braddon or New Acton, including the expansion of the shopping plaza and a possible extension of light rail.

But this hasn't stopped concerned business leaders meeting with the Chief Minister in April to convey their fears for the future of the area.

The town centre transformation has also been marred by Myer's decision to abandon plans to open in Westfield Woden, believed to be due to delays in renovations and upgrades to the mall. Shops sit empty and some vendors are struggling to stay open inside and around the shopping centre.

Woden Valley Community Council president Martin Miller said the latest progress was promising but the Westfield expansion seemed unlikely to go ahead, at least in the near future.

"It's certainly a better design then what was previously there," he said of the latest bus interchange plans.

"[The ACT government said it] couldn't wait for Westfield to go ahead with this upgrade."

Mr Miller said the more straightforward stair design was better than previously planned however, cyclists with trailers might struggle to ascend and descend.

He said the council hoped to see more cover over the bus interchange itself to shelter commuters from the weather while waiting to switch buses.