Grumpy / Manuka’s becoming a no-go zone

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I’M always interested to read Paul Costigan’s “Canberra Matters” column, where he makes astute observations on how this once top-rated city has gone awry.

There has been much commentary on the ACT government’s obsession with multi-storey developments to raise revenue, where little-to-no consideration is given to the increased traffic burden and need for more parking for residents and visitors.

So I was grumpy when I recently read that a seven-storey hotel has approval to go ahead in Manuka.

My immediate thought was how the heck will the already congested surrounding roads support such a monstrosity in the middle of a small suburban centre. Has the ACT government considered how detrimental this development would be to the local area? With the increased traffic chaos this would inevitably bring to the area you can say goodbye to terms such as “boutique” and “upmarket” for Manuka, which has defined it from as far back as the ’50s when my father first came here and during the late ’70s when my parents owned and ran a trendy little café in the middle of Style Arcade on Franklin Street.

Traffic was certainly a lot less congested in those days. Not only because there were fewer people, but usually there would only be one car per household and kids, including me, walked to school. Consider also the government’s ridiculous trend to restrict suburban traffic by installing a plethora of speed humps, traffic islands and lane separations designed to funnel traffic into single file, which has a net effect of paralysing flow to a snail’s pace and creating street-long queues.

This has already affected traffic flow in and around Manuka, where on most mornings parents trying to drop their children off to the Telopea Park School are faced with frustrating queues and extended delays.  

Has the Barr government gone too far with its deals with the developers? A project of this magnitude coupled with the already ridiculous traffic-island “obstacle course” would effectively make Manuka a no-go zone.


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