Categories
urban planning

Cycle highways for commuting

Addressed to the ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr

The ACT Government has recognised the importance of investment in capital projects as part of the stimulus to offset the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 health threat. In 2018 and 2019 the ACT Government released multiple policies to make Canberra a more liveable city, to combat the effects of climate change, and to prepare the city for a population of 500,000, who will need to commute to town centres and Civic across town twice daily. It is expected that our infrastructure will collapse under the peak period loads without the strategic investment in active travel and the construction of cycle highways. Even though it might still be the commonly held mental model, Canberra cannot still live by small city standards but rather mature into a regional metropolis.

Categories
urban planning

Belconnen Bikeway: finished in part

The construction of the Belconnen Bikeway started last year and some progress has been made. The separated bike and pedestrian paths along the old bus road are finished but not open. Construction has started on Emu Bank. The section through the University of Canberra is largely finished.

Belconnen Bikeway, AC Government, accessed 3 June 2020
Belconnen Bikeway, ACT Government, accessed 3 June 2020
Categories
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.

Categories
urban planning

Active Travel Streets: making cycling safer

The active travel vision is grand but difficult to reconcile with the infrastructure found in older suburbs. The ACT Government inherits the old but the old was built in different times with different problems. 

“The past is a foreign country and they do things differently there.”

source unknown

The ACT Government faces today’s problems with the infrastructure designed for yesteryear. Some cities have experienced a great fire. From the bare earth, the city can be rebuilt anew for modern times. The challenge of urban planning is another, to rebuild a living city. This is more akin to rebuilding a boat while you are sitting in it. It is not straight forward and creates anxiety. 

Categories
ride review

Bicentennial National Trail between Hawker and Strathnairn

In 1988 the National Horse Trail was rejuvenated and relaunched as the Bicentennial National Trail. The Bicentennial National Trail extends from Queensland to Victoria. A section of it passes through the ACT. It is not to be confused with the Canberra Centenary Trail which came later and is only in the ACT. The Bicentennial National Trail and the Canberra Centenary Trail alignments are at times in close proximity and cross. Both pass through The Pinnacle Nature Reserve in Hawker, Belconnen, but one on the north side and the other on the south side. This ride was predominately on the Bicentennial National Trail but a section was on the Canberra Centenary Trail.

We explored the Bicentennial National Trail in Belconnen by bike. We had a mountain bike and one touring bike with fat tyres. In the muddy conditions, the mountain bike is the better option. It was soggy and pays off the trail were slippery. Canberra does not get much rain though, so we must be grateful. We joined the Bicentennial National Trail at Hawker and rode through to the new suburb of Strathnairn in Belconnen’s far west. Many have never heard of Strathnairn. Strathnairn is part of the Ginninderry development that will one day extend into NSW.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
urban planning

Clear words for clear goals

Clear words for clear goals: making Active Travel meaningful

An email sent to Shane Rattenbury on 24/2/2020 (minor edits)

To achieve the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25 goals, less people will be driving. The strategy does not deny anybody the right to drive.

If people are to leave their cars at home, then the Active Travel Network needs to be very attractive. COMMUTING is one of the primary reasons many people own a car. We cannot live without work and for the majority this involves a twice-daily commute. The 2017 ACT Household Travel Survey shows that the daily commute is one of the longest journeys made. Schools, shops, doctors and sport are usually in the local area and the distance travelled is almost always shorter. Not surprisingly, commuters are least likely to leave their car at home. Getting to work is serious.