The Fast Track story

Fast Track is an initiative of the ACT Government to counter the economic fallout of COVID-19. The initiative is applauded. Sadly, the benefits for cyclists have been limited. At the current rate, it will take 166 years to double the length of off-road paths suitable for cycling.

Active travel infrastructure from the COVID-19 stimulus.

This is unfortunate as the Canberra cycle network is long overdue for maintenance, expansion, and closing gaps. Canberra is growing faster than the cycle network. Over the last decade, many community groups have lobbied to get this fixed.

Fast Track posts list has been tracking Fast Track. Here is a list of our most recent updates. Listed in reverse chronological order: date published, post title.

What is strategic?

A strategic path project conforms to the ACT Government’s own active travel infrastructure standards. The most obvious change from the old way of building things is path width. With many more people using the paths they need to be wider. Width is a strategic factor. The minimum retrofit path width is 2.5m.

The list of Fast Track projects has been shortened to those with at least a minimum retrofit path width. Paths 2.5m or wider are included in the strategic Fast Track list.

What the ACT Government says about Fast Track

“Delivering jobs and supporting local business during COVID-19

The ACT Government is fast tracking infrastructure projects to deliver jobs and support local business. The program focuses on work that can start immediately and supports local jobs, businesses and our Canberra community. The projects include infrastructure and maintenance work on government-owned community buildings, schools and other facilities across the city. The $35 million program will support the ACT economy and provide Canberrans with better infrastructure and services long into the future.”

ACT Government Fast Track, accessed 16/6/2020

Problems with narrow paths

A 2m path is barely wide enough for two bikes to pass without pedestrian use. It’s especially tricky for mountain bikes with wide handlebars. As we all know, these are getting more popular in Canberra to make up for the rough path surfaces, and to be able to cope with the gaps in the paths network. The 1.5m paths (some 1m) found in older suburbs are plain inadequate. Two bikes cannot pass on these without one going on the grass. Sharing a narrow path with a pedestrian – especially when elderly – is problematic. This makes them of little use for the commuting cyclist.

What makes a good path?

Read what is or makes good cycling infrastructure.

Incomplete path networks

Pedal Power ACT’s list of missing links has been recommended to the ACT Government but has been largely ignored in the ACT Government Fast Track program to date. This must be frustrating for Pedal Power ACT but the ACT Government recently promised to fund some of them.

In organisational psychology or change leadership we say: “Don’t consult or ask for feedback unless you are willing to act on it!”

The problem of incomplete path networks has often been discussed and the gaps are known as missing links. Heysen Street Link is a missing link suggested to the ACT Government that has been funded in 2020. Belconnen is largely missing from the Fast Track list due to the construction of the Belconnen Bikeway in 2019.

Heysen Street Link posts

Main Community Route (MCR), Belconnen Bikeway, Belconnen, Canberra
Main Community Route (MCR), Belconnen Bikeway, Belconnen, Canberra

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