ACT 2020-21 estimates on active travel

Sand on the road. Maintenance required. Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

The ACT Legislative Assembly has a number of standing committees. One of those is for transport and discussed active travel at the last Estimates 2020-21.

The Standing Committee publishes the transcript, and the video is generally available to watch on the day. Here are the sections related to active travel. This report is not a Hansard, so please watch the video for additional information.

What you need to know:

  • There is no regular audit of the community paths.
  • The 90% target for roads in good condition does not apply to community paths.
  • On the roads TCCS use a machine, but they do not have a machine for community paths.
  • The committee recommended that a machine be purchased.

TCCS has a backward approach to maintenance of community paths. Maintaining paths will always be difficult if TCCS does not know the state they are in. Well maintained paths are important to active travel and cycling safety. The Acting Executive Branch Manager said that path maintenance had relied on reports from the community, but would be moving to a proactive approach. The TCCS investigation how to do this should be concluded in 2022.

The report

Estimates 2020-21 And Annual Reports 2019-20, Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services, April 2021

RECOMMENDATION 6
4.64 The Committee recommends that the SLA take into account sustainability requirements for all land releases in all locations, including ensuring block and building sizes allow enough space to meet the 30% tree canopy and 30% permeability targets, cycle and footpath connections encourage active travel, developments are built and are oriented to ensure they have a low energy footprint, all car parks have separately-metered electrical wiring for electric vehicles and new developments do not have gas connections.

RECOMMENDATION 8
6.75 The Committee recommends that the ACT Government acquire suitable equipment so that it has the capability to assess cycle and pedestrian path surfaces across the network.

Estimates 2020-21 And Annual Reports 2019-20, Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services, April 2021

Minister Chris Steel is responsible for TCCS and was accompanied by his mandarins.

Minister For Transport And City Services

Indicators For Bike Paths And Footpaths

6.2 The Committee asked why the Transport and City Services Directorate had a target of maintaining 90 per cent of Territory roads in good condition, but no similar indicator for bike paths and footpaths.

6.3 The Minister told the Committee that he and the Directorate were now placing a greater emphasis on maintenance for footpaths and shared paths, and that that same morning he had announced further funding for footpath repair. Later in hearings he told the Committee that this was an allocation of federal funding from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, amounting to $2.6 million in additional funding for repairs and maintenance of our footpath and shared path network, in addition to Territory funding in this area.

6.4 The Acting Executive Branch Manager, Roads ACT, City Services, told the Committee that the Directorate had increased spending on maintenance for both cyclist paths—asphalt paths—and pedestrian (that is, concrete) paths. She told the Committee that it had also done condition audits of shared paths—cyclepaths and footpaths—in the ACT. Thus far, it had audited 700 kilometres of a 3,000-kilometre network of paths, with the intention of programming preventative rather than reactive maintenance.

6.5 When asked again as to why there was an indicator for roads but not pedestrian or cycle paths, the Acting Executive Branch Manager told the Committee that the accountability indicator for roads good condition depends on assessments of the road surface, ‘bump counts’ and so on. This was ‘very difficult’ to apply to shared paths and ‘even harder’ for concrete. One contributor to this difficulty was the fact that road condition audits were done with a vehicle-mounted machine that recorded bump counts, and doing this on ‘small, shared path’ was ‘much more difficult’. As a result, it was necessary to conduct such audits using manual inspections, and it was as a result ‘a lot more resource heavy’ than audits of road surfaces.

Estimates 2020-21 And Annual Reports 2019-20, Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services, April 2021

Committee Comment

6.74 In view of the importance of the environment, active travel and exercise, the Committee was concerned to hear that the ACT Government did not have the same capacity or equipment to assess the surfaces of cycle and pedestrian paths as it did for road surfaces. Given the importance of forms of transport which are alternatives to the use of private cars, the Committee believes it important that the Government acquire this capability. The Committee also believes that the ACT Government should set a target, consistent with its practice for roads, of 90 per cent of bike paths and footpaths maintained in good condition.

Estimates 2020-21 And Annual Reports 2019-20, Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services, April 2021

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