urban planning

CBR cycling: we have a plan

The “CBR Cycle Routes” are a network of cycle routes between Canberra’s town centres. They do not all exist yet, and if people do not know about them, they almost certainly never will. Cycle paths are not built without community support.

Background to the urban planning process is found here.


Language matters. Let’s do some definitional work!

Are you getting confused about the terminology of the Active Travel Routes Network?

Having studied several languages, I have learned early on that nothing is more personal than the words we choose to use. Nothing else is also more divisive and confusing in our day to day communication. (As a side note, if you like to read a fantastic book about the English language that confirms my sentiment, check out Bill Bryson’s book The Mother Tongue.)

So, let’s try and clarify what all this confusing lingo in the ACT active travel guidelines means for us.


Trouble in paradise: riding Belconnen lake

Lake Ginninderra bike path in Belconnen is a wonderful place to ride on a winter evening.

urban planning

Defining what is good

It is all very well to want an improvement of the active travel infrastructure in Canberra but what precisely does “good” mean? The work of writing a precise definition has been done.

For urban infrastructure, these definitions are called standards. Australia is a federation and we have national standards but the states often have their own local standards which override the national standards. This is also true for the ACT’s active travel infrastructure. Austroads is the organisation responsible for national standards. It may have started with roads, but the standards have matured for all the ways people move around a city.

urban planning

Active Travel Infrastructure Interim Planning Guideline

Another important document for active travel in Canberra and urban planning, and another very long title. This post is an introduction to Planning for Active Travel in the ACT: Active Travel Infrastructure Interim Planning Guideline (ACT Government, January 2019). Because the title is so long it is often simply referred to it as PATACT.

ACT Government, urban planning, ACT, Australia
Figure 1: The cover of Planning for Active Travel in the ACT: Active Travel Infrastructure Interim Planning Guideline (PATACT)

The ACT urban planning documents often build on one another. This one is no exception. This document was released in January 2019, which may seem a long time after the release of the Building an Integrated Transport Network: Active Travel in 2015, and Light Rail Network –Delivering a modern transport system for a growing city (Light Rail Network), October 2015. The last two documents describe the ACT Government’s strategy for active travel as well as the light rail component of active travel. With PATACT the ACT Government describes what that means for non-road infrastructure and urban planning, in particular cycling.

urban planning

C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway

The assessment of the benefits of the C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway (CBR Cycle Route C10) is a multifaceted question. It can first be discussed in a narrow sense, whether commuting between Coombs to Civic is faster, and also in a broader sense regarding the benefits to the Molonglo Valley network. But the short answer is yes on both counts. I will answer these questions here individually.

The C10 Coombs to Civic Cycle Highway will get a cyclist to work faster. I provide an analysis of four routes (“options”) below – three are existing – and compare them against the fourth, the C10. The C10 is demonstrably here the best.


Finding the right route

We rely on directional signage to find our way around Canberra. The directional signage may not be good. This is particularly true for cycling, so how do we find the best route? There will always be the need for navigation. I have written about the best cycling maps for Canberra. These maps can be used to find the best route. Finding the best route with digital maps and GPS technology can be a great aid for biking and active travel.

We could see cycling as city bikes that are designed for paved surfaces, and mountain bikes that are designed for loose surfaces. These are both broad categories, but it is the first step to making sense of the routing problem.