The Woden bus interchange upgrade is one step closer with the ACT government lodging an estate development plan last Thursday.
The redevelopment, which will see the new bus station integrated with an expanded Westfield Woden, is a joint project between the ACT government and Westfield and is expected to be completed by mid-2016.
Economic Development Directorate director general David Dawes said the aim of the proposal was to provide the Woden Valley with a modern, attractive bus station that was “integrated with a new retail and mixed use precinct”.
“The planned development … will include the widening of Callam Street from 34 to 42 metres to accommodate future light rail and a lounge located within an expanded Westfield Woden Plaza, providing bus travelers with a significantly increased level of comfort and safety,” he said.
“The new station will also be integrated with shops and cafes that will enliven the exterior of the expanded shopping centre. Real time bus information will be provided on the bus platforms and within the internal lounge.”
Other works will include upgraded lighting and the construction of footpaths and bicycle connections between the bus station, Westfield and other areas of the town centre.
Mr Dawes said the estate development plan would be available to the public online from Tuesday, August 6. Residents can comment on the proposal until August 28. He said past community consultation had influenced the development of the plan.
“Over the past 18 months extensive consultations have taken place with a wide range of stakeholders and user groups including the Woden Community Council, Woden Senior Citizens, Woden Youth Centre and organisations representing the vision impaired. Consultations have helped inform and refine the EDP that has now been submitted,” he said.
Westfield will have an opportunity to submit their development application once the government's estate development plan has been approved.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2015. Mr Dawes said a temporary bus station would operate from Callam Street and Bowes Street during this period. Bus shelters, footpaths and additional lighting will also be implemented.
Woden Valley Community Council deputy chairman Mike Reddy said although the committee needed to analyse the plans in greater detail, the proposal seemed to show better links between the station and the town centre.
“The way it is designed at the moment, the interchange is sort of isolated with no line of sight between the interchange and the town square and if you were looking for it you wouldn't know where it was,” he said.
“The other thing is we do support the undercover lounge for waiting commuters which is a selling point if we want to get people out of their cars. We would also like to see good coverage for people out on the platforms. At the Belconnen interchange it is great inside the lounge but outside it's pretty much open to the elements.”
Mr Reddy said council was concerned about general planning in the area and would like to see better links between eastern and western Woden – and between the northern and southern ends of Callam Street – for pedestrians and cyclists.
He said the council appreciated the government's consultations about the station and that the newly released plan would be on the council's agenda for its meeting Wednesday night.