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

Letter to Yvette Berry on active travel

The active travel facilities planned for Whitlam Stage 2 fall short of expectations. As human behaviour follows infrastructure, this lack of future proofing active travel facilities is directly detrimental to achieving an increase in active travel in the ACT.

This ACT Government held an Active Travel Design workshop (12 December 2018) and stated that the background to the new Active Travel Design Guidelines included “poor infrastructure outcomes as a consequence of planning intent getting ‘lost in translation’”. My analysis concludes that this observation is likely relevant for the planning of the brand-new estate Whitlam. My concern is that the failure to systematically integrate active travel principles in the planning process, as well as the dominance of decade old legacy planning practices, will most likely result in the missed potential to develop active travel facilities in the Whitlam and other new estate developments in Canberra. Consequently, this will not only make the roads less safe for vulnerable road users but also not achieve any set active travel goals.

Categories
tips

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.

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
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

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 in this post there 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
Categories
urban planning

What is wrong with Molonglo 3 East

A case study for Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief and urban planning of new estates in the ACT.

The ACT Government announced in the 2012 ACT Planning Strategy that it “sought to create a more compact, efficient and inclusive city” The proximity between new suburbs in Molonglo Valley and the city will help encourage commuting to work with a bike and the achievement of goals of the ACT Climate Change Strategy 2019-25, but the potential benefit of the proximity of the Molonglo Valley will be largely forfeited without good quality, safe and direct active travel infrastructure. This is currently NOT typical for the Molonglo Valley estate developments.

This ACT Government held an Active Travel Design workshop (12 December 2018) and stated that the background to the new Active Travel Design Guidelines included “poor infrastructure outcomes as a consequence of planning intent getting ‘lost in translation’. My concern is that the failure to systematically integrate active travel principles in the planning process will most likely result in the missed potential to develop active travel facilities in the Whitlam and other new estate developments in Canberra. As human behaviour follows infrastructure, this lack of future-proofing active travel facilities is detrimental to achieving an increase in active travel in the ACT.

Molonglo 3 East Planning and Infrastructure Study Project Brief design tender (2 December 2019), released by the Major Projects Canberra Infrastructure Delivery Partner Group, is for the first stage design of Molonglo 3 East, but not for Whitlam. It is worth monitoring it as it signals the first planning stage of these new, yet unnamed, suburbs has begun. To quote the brief, the ACT’s Indicative Land Release Program 2019-20 to 2022-23, “proposes 200 blocks be released in the study area by 2022-23.”

Categories
urban planning

Cycle highways and the Active Travel Framework

The aim here is to link the “cycle highway” vision with the Active Travel Framework. The term “cycle highways” is disconnected from the planning mechanism in the ACT, in particular those of the ROAD AUTHORITY and PLANNING AUTHORITY. It is necessary to show where cycle highways sit in the active travel key statutory and non-statutory planning documents.

The relevant text for cycle highways is scattered throughout a number of these documents. In this document they are gathered together in one place.

It is not only the scientists who dissect and divide. Engineers do it as well with urban design. The city is categorised and divided into pieces and everything is given a name. A whole nomenclature evolves around classifications and hierarchies. It all has a reason, but the initiation can be demanding.

Active Travel contains an abundance of new terms. As a convention I will capitalise technical vocabulary and add definitions in the glossary on this website.

Categories
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.