Categories
urban planning

Moving Canberra and the Conservation Council

The ACT Government’s 2019 Moving Canberra strategy was welcomed but essentially a rerun of the 2015 Active Travel Framework. The 2015 document was much more specific but failed for the lack of priorities, goals, and legislation. To say this another way, the ideas were good but the follow up poor. The 2019 Moving Canberra is vaguer and less specific than the 2015 strategy. The 2019 Moving Canberra creates a sense of urgency to do more of everything but lacks any recognition that strategy failure is not caused by the lack of ambition but rather the difficulty of implementation. 

Canberra.bike has hardly mentioned ACT Government 2019 Moving Canberra strategy because it added little to the active travel debate. The ACT Conservation Council responded to it in a well-written submission. I will quote highlights from the submission here that are relevant in 2020. Between 2015 and 2020 the problems of cycle infrastructure investment remain largely the same in the ACT.

Categories
urban planning

ACT Budget 2020-21: giving cycling a fair cut

June is usually budget time in the ACT. The 2020-21 ACT Budget has been postponed. Canberra.bike looks at the last years budget and what the coming budget could hold. In general, the investment in active travel infrastructure in the ACT is not well documented.

Categories
urban planning

Active Streets: prioritising path maintenance

Active Streets is an ACT Government program that should not be confused with Active Travel Streets. Active Streets is a budget measure to improve the paths in older suburbs, particularly around shopping centres and schools. Path routine maintenance is relatively unlikely as it is expensive. The ACT Government deserves acknowledgement for the effort but the funds are still limited. 

For active travel, the infrastructure in older suburbs needs to be improved. This is discussed in the post: Active Travel Streets: making cycling safer

Active Travel Streets is the transformation of older suburbs with the replacement of the old with the new. It is the reconception of the space and rebalancing the priorities to make more space for people. Active Travel Streets is a renewal of an old space. 

Categories
urban planning

Cycling infrastructure suitable for the ACT Government’s stimulus package

Pedal Power made a submission for bike infrastructure to the ACT Budget. A reminder was sent to the ACT Government in March 2020 after the announcement of a COVID-19 stimulus package. Many of the projects in this submission would already be known to the ACT Government, as they were promised funding at the last federal election by a future Federal Labor government. Among the remainder are found promises from the last ACT election. Pedal Power ACT is notable as it has been consistently requesting the completion of the same projects. A project can be discussed for years before it is planned or built, and government commitment means little. The Kuringa Drive bike path between Barton Hwy to Kingsford Smith Dr is a good example of this.

Categories
urban planning

Greenfield developments and active travel

It is unrealistic to expect the ACT Government to fund all active travel infrastructure from general revenue as capital works. It cannot be done. Alone the maintenance to a high standard an ever-expanding bike paths network is a challenge.

The sale of land for dwellings will always be a top priority for the ACT Government due to the expected population growth and ever-growing costs of servicing the existing Canberra population. The ACT budget is spent on the services that are regarded by most Canberrans as essential (health, education, etc).

We are proud of Canberra, our bush capital. The environmental regulations will continue to be front-of-mind for estate planners to protected and preserve these environmental assets. The downside is that it comes at a price. There are many places in Canberra where you will not get approval to build a bike path.

Land sales are revenue, so the ACT will prioritise that over finishing suburbs (and bike paths). The land release will remain staged. This type of estate planning is within a bounded area and the bigger picture outside those boundaries, such as cross city cycle highways, are left off the map.

We will need to accept that without capital funding, the active travel infrastructure will never be built all at once, but in a fragmented way.

Riding to work requires cycle highway networks that span the city. With the above constraints, it is achievable but not quick or easy. Without long term planning and enduring effort, it will never be achieved.