Page 4195 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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Hibberson Street, Gungahlin—survey

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (6.05): I rise to inform the Assembly tonight of the results from my survey on Hibberson Street in the Gungahlin town centre, which closed last week—the survey that is, not the street. In August I launched a survey to see what people think of Hibberson Street and whether it should be closed to traffic. I did this after numerous conversations with people, mostly at my mobile office on Hibberson Street, about the issues this busy road creates. Hibberson Street is the heart of the Gungahlin town centre. It is the centre for shopping, events, a place to meet friends. It is a busy road and a busy bus route.

Gungahlin will continue to grow by thousands of people each year, and we need to ensure that the Gungahlin town centre remains vibrant and welcoming while meeting the demands of our growing region.

In total, 720 people filled in my survey to have their say on the future of Hibberson Street and made suggestions about what the ACT government can do to make the Gungahlin town centre more vibrant. The survey asked people to state whether they would like to see Hibberson Street permanently closed to cars, turned into a shared zone like Bunda Street in Civic, closed off during the day or perhaps left like it is, or any other options.

The results show 74 per cent of respondents think Hibberson Street should be permanently closed to traffic or be a pedestrian-first area. It is clear that people want to see more feet on Hibberson Street. When asked what the best solution is, 49 per cent said it should be permanently closed to cars; 18 per cent liked the idea of a shared zone like Bunda Street; 15 per cent suggested closing it during the day only; eight per cent suggested another option such as making it a one-way street; and only 10 per cent wanted to see it left as it is. People also said they would be more likely to go into the town centre if there was less traffic.

I must say that I am proud that so many people took the time to engage with this issue, letting me know what they think the future of Hibberson Street should be. I hope this conversation will continue both within government and within the community. But I also understand that although this survey clearly shows a preference from the community on Hibberson Street, something like this cannot happen in isolation and it will not happen overnight. This would be a significant change if it were to occur.

If you have been to Gungahlin town centre lately, there is a lot going on there. It is also interesting to see the flow-on effect from small changes and how they impact on things like parking, traffic flow, safety and public transport. So it will be important to look at the town centre as a whole in considering potential changes to Hibberson Street.

There is a lot of development currently underway in the town centre with the excavation of the Woolies car park and the new Bunnings development. No doubt there is more to come, including new apartment blocks, roadworks, the bus interchange, capital metro and, of course, the cinema.

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