cycling for health, wellbeing, sustainability and stronger communities
Active Streets: prioritising path maintenance
People need paths. We all want good paths. Maintenance is expensive, boring and thankless. Active Streets is a budget measure to improve the paths in older suburbs, particularly around shopping centres and schools. Active Streets should not be confused with Active Travel Streets.
Path routine maintenance is relatively unlikely as it is expensive. The ACT Government deserves acknowledgement for the effort, but the funds are still limited. Even in the 2021-2024 ACT Budget provided only $3.5 million over the four budget years including path maintenance.
Active Travel Streets is the transformation of older suburbs with the replacement of the old with the new, reconceiving space and rebalancing the priorities, to make more space for people. Active Travel Streets is a renewal of an old space.
Active Streets is the maintenance of existing space and does not fundamentally change the balance. It is driven by a duty of care (making the path safe) and cost expediency (paths that are not fixed are more expensive to replace). Active Streets is not sexy but for our old and very young loved ones it is very important. Those with disabilities will benefit from Active Streets, too, as it can include improvements such as gutter ramps. Cyclists will also see the benefits. Cycling is not an important part of the concept. This is self-evident from the photos in Evatt.
Road safety around schools in the territory is also being improved through the active streets program, which was piloted and evaluated at four schools earlier in the year. This will see a $1 million expansion of the program, which will also encompass a range of schools in my electorate—Chapman, Curtin, Holy Trinity primary, Garran primary, Hughes primary, Melrose High and Sacred Heart primary.