ACT active travel investment: what is enough?

Comparing the active travel pledges from the major parties at the 2020 ACT Election with historic benchmarks.

Last updated 7 October 2020

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ACT Labor’s cycling policy: 2020 ACT Election

ACT Labor never took cycling seriously at the 2020 ACT Election. Parties prioritise what is important to them and ACT Labor did waste a breath on cycling at this election. The ACT Labor Policy Position Statement was released early in the election and discussed here. Reading the cycling section creates a sense of déjà vu. It all seemed so familiar. Perhaps it is from the 2016 Election? However, COVID-19 was mentioned, so it must be 2020.

Last updated 7/10/2020

ACT Labor final made a statement “Labor’s city-wide plan for active travel” after the polls had opened. The offer is underwhelming. $20 million funding is not enough and considering their COVID-19 stimulus pot is worth $4,900 million, the $20 million offered for cycling is a rather insulting (0.4%).

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More roads and not much else

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.

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Giving cycling a fair cut of the cake 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.

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Pedal Power’s recommendations: ACT Election

Pedal Power is encouraging ACT Election candidates to commit to active travel and cycling. Pedal Power ACT has made recommendations in a recent, untitled manifesto. The well-considered document includes priorities that are consistent with Pedal Power’s ACT budget submission with the addition of several insights from the COVID-19 biking boom.

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CBR Cycle Route C11: one loop

The CBR Cycle Route C11 runs along Flemington Road from EPIC to Well Station Drive and forms one side of a triangle in a loop that connects Belconnen, Dickson and Mitchell. The strength of loops for navigation is that you can leave and join them wherever and whenever you like. This provides the cyclist with many options.

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Flemington Road bike path is finished

The off-road bike path bypassing Mitchell on the Flemington Road has now been completed and opened. It is worth celebrating. The new path closes a missing link and opens interesting possibilities in the north. More about that in the next post. Flemington Road was introduced here.

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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. 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.

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History of the Flemington Road bike path

There was an off-road bike path bypassing Mitchell on the Flemington Road. It was bulldozed to widen Flemington Road for the light rail. Unfortunately, the ACT Government forgot to replace it. After complaints, the ACT Government pledged to rebuild this missing link. It is still under construction. 

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ACT Government Community Paths Program

The ACT Government has a Community Paths Program for active travel but only a small number are cycle paths. Of those, some have dedicated pages on the ACT Government website. Those pages are listed in this post.

The Community Paths Program should not be confused with the Fast Track COVID-19 stimulus package. Fast Track has increased the pace of path construction in the ACT.

Last updated 10/07/2020.

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