canberra.bike releases today our report Traffic calming: children centric street design (see attached). At its heart is that child friendly streets do not happen by accident but rather because we design them that way. We give priority to children rather than people who wish to drive. In this way, way make Whitlam shops and school a people friendly place.
We would like the ACT Government to be accountable and invest wisely, so we measure and monitoring all sorts of things. However, not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that we can measure matters, but it matters what we measure. Confused? TCCS is. We want more people to walk and cycle, but we do not measure that. We measure congestion instead, which we do not want. We want our streets safer for walking and riding. Traffic management studies required data, but we do not collect data on that which matters: the safety of walking and cycling.
The ACT Legislative Assembly has a number of standing committees that investigate (inquiry), record (transcript of evidence) and report (report). One annual inquiry is the Estimates. The Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services (PTCS Committee) is one such committee. Here are the sections from their report relating to cycle infrastructure and maintenance.
Tactical urbanism is an agile approach for planning better cities. The traditional approach entails long reports and long consultations that take a long time to complete. Traffic calming is simply rebalancing the street design to give more space and priority to people walking and cycling. For people driving, this means narrowed roads and reduced speeds. Traffic calming is a common request for TCCS and a long drawn out process. The Narrabundah investigation is currently in its second year with no outcome.
Why is it so hard to implement traffic calming in the ACT? The mechanism is so slow and tedious with petitions and discussions dragged through the ACT Legislative Assembly. Surely slowing traffic is not such a big thing. TCCS seems ill prepared to deal with the problem in an agile way, and labours through the problem like a mammoth through the tundra. Tactile urbanism is a faster way to do this.
Drive so others survive! National Road Safety Week is coming up next week, 15 to 22 May 2022. Traffic injury is the biggest killer of Australian children under 15. Amongst vulnerable road users, children are the most vulnerable. We need our children to be safe crossing roads if they are to walk to school. Many schools regard the existing safety to be inadequate. Let TCCS do more and talk less.
The reason children do not walk and ride to school is that the cars scare them away. Primary school children do not have the cognitive ability to judge the speed and distance of cars. The selfishness of drivers and disregard for other children’s safety makes this problem far worse. What can be done?
Recent studies demonstrate that bad ACT road design is a major factor in why our roads poorly serve pedestrians and cyclists. Kambah is a good example. The roads need to be fixed quickly with affordable solutions. If you would like your children to be able to walk around the suburb safely, Local Area Traffic Management is worth knowing about.
Children do not walk to school because cars make it unsafe to do so. To improve road safety for children around schools, we require traffic calming measures, on all sides, and the implementation of safe zones, where children can move without crossing roads and getting close to motor vehicles. Any approach will require some government expenditure and urban renewal. TCCS have named the process Local Area Traffic Management (LATM). The Lyneham Primary School Petition is a typical attempt to improve safety around the school. At the moment, the chances of any improvement, however, are low. 😦
The older parts of Canberra are due for a rebuild, to make more space for people and easier and safer to get around. Active Travel Streets will be part of it. Active travel is reclaiming space for cyclists, walkers, joggers, people pushing prams and those using wheelchairs.