Pedal Power’s recommendations: ACT Election

Pedal Power is encouraging ACT Election candidates to commit to active travel and cycling. Pedal Power ACT has made recommendations in a recent, untitled manifesto. The well-considered document includes priorities that are consistent with Pedal Power’s ACT budget submission with the addition of several insights from the COVID-19 biking boom.

The recommendations

Pedal Power’s recommendations:  

  1. Implement a systemic program of path maintenance
  2. Implement a safe, direct, separated cycleway network
  3. Double commuting by bike by 2025
  4. Engage the community to inspire more people to ride
  5. Improve rider safety
  6. Promote cycle tourism
Cycling infrastructure, bridge crossing railway lines, Freiburg, Germany.

A safe, direct, separated cycleway network

The ACT Government’s ambition for a cycle network is discussed often on canberrra.bike.

Pedal Power has the following to say.

“Our highways are wide, direct, and have been well designed to minimise crossings and other interruptions to traffic flow. Canberra’s shared paths networks by contrast are often meandering, built to the narrowest standard width, require frequent stops at crossings, yet try to support multiple types path users who move at different speeds.”

Pedal Power ACT Election Asks, 22 July 2020, page 4

“All this means that people seeking to cycle between our town centres must either take the slow indirect path network, or risk riding on the shoulders of roads which are often littered with gravel and debris, and contend with vehicles moving at dangerous speeds.”

Pedal Power ACT Election Asks, 22 July 2020, page 5

Pedal Power ACT calls on candidates to commit to:
• Developing and implementing a separated cycleway network to provide direct, safe, time-efficient, comfortable cycle corridors for people travelling by bike
o In the immediate future, developing a direct, separated arterial cycleway between Woden and the city
o A prioritised program of separated routes across the entire city that meet current standards and cater for future demand
o If the light rail network is expanded, the cycleway should be constructed as part of the implementation.

Pedal Power ACT Election Asks, 22 July 2020, page 5

The light rail network might ring bells. Read the History of the Flemington Road bike path for how the ACT Government for the Gungahlin stretch destroyed the existing bike path and forgot to rebuild it. From Well Station Road to Gungahlin along the light rail corridor there is still no off-road bike path and it is not clear when it will be built. The route has a name CBR Cycle Route C11.

Safe cyclings with the"continuous verge treatment", Bike ONLY path crossing Ariotti Street, Strathnairn, West Belconnen
Safe cycling with the”continuous verge treatment”, Bike ONLY path crossing Ariotti Street, Strathnairn, West Belconnen

Targets for cycling commuting

The ACT Government has released strategy papers (non-statutory) that advocate a shift to cycling since at least 2015 but the shift of investment has not occurred, largely due to the lack of political will. Much of what was promised at the last ACT election by ACT Labor has not been built and is often “still in planning”. The legacy of the Belconnen Bikeway demonstrates how slow the process is. The declared Climate Emergency from 2019 has as yet changed little in actual strategic expenditure in cycling infrastructure.

“The Census shows that commuter cycling rates in Canberra have remained at around three per cent for decades. Canberra needs ambitious active travel targets to increase the number of people who commute by bike.”

Pedal Power ACT Election Asks, 22 July 2020, page 5

Pedal Power believes that a target would help and has the following recommendations.

• Legislate clear targets to increase cycle commuting to six per cent by 2025 accompanied by clear policies, planning, engagement, and infrastructure
• Support target achievement by:
o Finalising and implementing revised end-of-trip requirements for developers
o Establishing and assessing acceptable path user volumes and manage path congestion
o Improving secure bike parking and increasing the number of bike cages and bike racks in town centres.

Pedal Power ACT Election Asks, 22 July 2020, page 6

Canberra.bike welcomes Pedal Power ACT recommendations. Cycling in Canberra can be improved with political commitment.

Coppins Crossing Road from Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley
Coppins Crossing Road from Pipe Flat, Molonglo Valley

Path maintenance

The first recommendation for path maintenance is long overdue, and Pedal Power has been a great advocate for it. The experience of one cyclist in Canberra captures the current experience for the cyclist.

“To all those complaining about this much-needed cycling infrastructure improvement, I say, get on your bike and try to ride it, in safety, in the Belconnen Town Centre area and then get back to me. I won’t start on the cycle/shared paths I used for many years commuting from Evatt and McKellar other than to say they appear to have received little to no maintenance since I started using them in the late 1970’s. You need a dual suspension MTB to cope with the bumps and cracks!”

Klaus Popp 9:21 pm 09 Oct 19, The RiotACT

The third recommendation, “Double commuting by bike by 2025”, is an appeal to set targets for riding to work. It is widely accepted that targets greatly simplify the realisation of the goals. The current budgeting process omits cycling in its consideration of transport. Expenditure on transport is depoliticised. The debate about the light rail would leave little doubt that transport infrastructure decisions are most certainly political.

The full Pedal Power document is attached below.

Into a beautiful forest. Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com
Into a beautiful forest. Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

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