The Molonglo Valley is currently under construction and the cycling infrastructure is poor. If we wait until a suburb is finished then the problem will be with us for decades. This is what is happening now in the Molonglo Valley estate development.
The canberra.bike summary of the 2020 ACT Election. 2020 does not appear to be a year for political change – there is just simply too much going on. The big parties are holding their fortifications and nobody seems to want to venture out. A few knights are taunting those on the walls. For the most part, the voters have already chosen their keep.
Last updated 16/10/2020 and the final update as the decision for this round will be clear in a matter of days.
The light rail from Civic to Woden has been slowed by the approval process. Central business district projects are always expensive, and this one is no exception. The provisions in the budget have been set at $1.9 billion. Few would claim this is not a big number for the ACT.
“These provisions reflect previous government policy announcements, such as Stage 2A and 2B of the light rail.”
“In the update, it predicts the total cost of the light rail project could be up to $1.9 billion in total.”
It is hard to imagine how much money we spend on roads. Here is a comparison of the investment in road improvement (duplications and widening) with other forms of transport. As cyclists, we are interested in bike paths but the light rail is included, too.
Approximately $1 billion has been committed to road duplications and widening in and around Canberra. $336 million for light rail but only $18 million to bicycle infrastructure. The EU would recommend $330 million for bicycle infrastructure in the ACT, based on their recommendation to invest 20% of the transport budget in bike infrastructure. In this week’s $4.9 billion announcement, Andrew Barr unfortunately did not even mention cycling. In other Australian cities, the sums spent on roads is even bigger: “The Australian and NSW Governments are investing $4.1 billion” in the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.
Estate development is a golden goose for the ACT Government. The ACT Government has limited funds and receives very little funding from the Federal Government for infrastructure. Estate development is a long and complicated process and active travel can be lost in the process, buried under other priorities. Let us get it right. If the active travel infrastructure falls short, it will be expensive to fix. A whole generation of kids will grow up being chauffeured around rather than taking the bikes to school or to visit their mates. This is a real culture change barrier.
One would think that the best practice for planning road networks would also apply for planning a bike network. The high standards are, however, not translated across. Bike network planning does not use computer modelling, ABS Census data, population growth estimates, or traffic monitoring on existing paths. The ACT has no regular path monitoring, cleaning or maintenance programs. The maintenance of the bike network does not appear as an item in the ACT Budget documents. Repairs are ad hoc and it can take years for the most simple things to be fixed. So, what can be done?
Canberra.bike looks at last year’s budget and what the coming budget could hold. What has happened and where we could go? In general, the investment in active travel infrastructure in the ACT is not well documented.