Active travel between Whitlam and Denman Prospect

For active travel, we need networks and not just fragments. We want to be able to travel across the city over distances of 10 km and more. When we see an active traveller they are, generally speaking, not travelling to this place but THROUGH it, on the way to somewhere else. It is not clear what their destination is only that they needed to travel through this area. When building the Active Travel Network we are building thoroughfares. 

It is important to understand the way the city is planned and developed. If we want to shape and prioritise the development of a good active travel network it will require interventions during the planning phase. This particularly true for cycle highways for riding to work. The design requirements are different from the paths for recreational riders and locals that seek a destination within a suburb.

Denman Prospect and Whitlam are two suburbs in the Molonglo Valley, south and north of the Molonglo River, and part of the Molonglo Valley Stage 3. Whitlam Residential Estate is now under construction and the planning of the Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve (Namarag) has proceeded to a development application.

This is a case study of these two independently planned developments that are of particular interest to active travel in the Molonglo Valley. One of the basic principles of urban planning is “permeability”. Urban environments that are permeable allow easy and direct routes for pedestrians and cyclists independent of the road network. Cars have high travel speeds and ease of travel (effort). For pedestrians and cyclists, this is not the case and “ease” means a direct route. How does the Whitlam Residential Estate and the planning of the Molonglo Special Purpose Reserve stack up?

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Titbits: Cost of bike paths

Several materials are used to build paths in Canberra, but what is the cost of path construction. Preliminary estimates from ACT budget data showed that it was possible to build 30 km of bike paths for every single kilometre of dual-lane carriageway. This is an argument to spend more on paths but does not answer the question of the cost of path types.

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Titbits: Path width recommendations

The Australian Austroads cycling path standards includes recommendations on path widths. The recommended path widths are wider than the vast majority of community and shared paths in Canberra. The Austroads AGRD06A standard is more detailed than the ACT equivalent and complement and flesh out the local standard.

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Origins of the Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool

The Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool is embedded in the ACT urban development process. The general public, local residents and other stakeholders have a vested interest in new developments in the ACT. It is, however, difficult to find answers to what are sometimes simple questions. Urban development is a large machine that by necessity must serve the professionals and commercial partners, but Canberrans as residents and are important too. These two groups are separated by both language and knowledge. 

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Good and direct bike paths save time

The active travel infrastructure (facilities) are lagging in Coombs. Despite the Concept Plan being finalised in 2012 and the suburb established for several years, the active travel infrastructure is still not complete or sufficient.

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Three bike maps of the Arboretum

There are many paths missing on the Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool. Particularly the unpaved paths are very poorly represented, but they are not unimportant for many cyclists in Canberra.

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