Visual dictionary for active travel

Getting the big picture: commonly used active travel terms. A picture is worth a thousand words. The defintions are from the Active Travel Facilities Design – Municipal Infrastructure Standards 05 (MIS05).

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Molonglo Valley: getting it right first time round

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.

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Opportunities lost in estate development

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.

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Planning bike networks is doable

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?

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The Castle of Taylor

Sutherland Crescent Central Community Playground is the official name of a place that should be called, with a little mystery, The Castle. The ramparts have collapsed to mounds around a courtyard filled with treasures. Enter across the drawbridge under the tower and discover the secrets.

“On the south wall overlooking the plain, a man, by some magic, had created a marvel that flew like a bird and howled with great intensity.”

Stories of a Traveller (MMXX AD)
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Circumnavigating the Coombs Peninsula

There was much hype about the bike path around the edge of the suburb, along the Molonglo River. The good news is that Stage 1 is finished. The community path through the Stage 2 area is progressing but not yet completed.

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Active Travel Infrastructure Interim Planning Guideline (PATACT)

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.

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The Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool is dated

The Active Travel Infrastructure Practitioner Tool (ATIPT) is essential for the planning of greenfield developments such as the Molonglo Valley. It should be kept up to date but it is currently not. This is concerning as Practitioner Tool contains the cycling corridors (Active Travel Route Alignments) that should be the starting point for estate planning. The Practitioner Tool is out of date compared to the most current estate planning documents, perhaps because it is ignored in the planning process. Canberra.bike includes an introduction and discussion of the Practitioner Tool and here are extracts from the KEY DOCUMENTS.

Key documents – Standards and guideline documents which should be used in the planning and design of active travel facilities. These are listed in Sections 2.2.3 to 2.2.7.”

Active Travel Facilities Design – Municipal Infrastructure Standards 05 (MIS05) (ACT Government, April 2019), pages 13-17
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