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.
Today’s check of the Fast Track website showed that no new strategic bike path projects have been added between 8-27 August 2020. At the current rate, it will take 166 years to double the length of off-road paths suitable for cycling in the ACT.
Wayfinding signage for the CBR Cycle Routes C3, C7 and C9 was added, however. Signage makes a difference.
The light rail is stalling due to the slow approval process. The ACT Government would spend on capital works projects to counter the effects of the recession. If the light rail investment is delayed, building strategic bike paths would be an alternative. Here is the Sulwood Drive option.
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?
Canberra.bike 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.
Fast Track is an initiative of the ACT Government to counter the economic fallout of COVID-19. The initiative is applauded. Sadly though, benefits for cyclists have been limited. At the current rate, it will take 166 years to double the length of off-road paths suitable for cycling.
This is unfortunate as the Canberra cycle network is long overdue for maintenance, expansion, and closing gaps. Canberra is growing faster than the cycle network. Over the last decade, many community groups have lobbied to get this fixed.
Canberra.bike has been tracking Fast Track. Here is a list of our most recent updates.
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.
Fast Track includes several projects that are strategic bike infrastructure. Pedal Power ACT is still driving its priority list of missing links that have largely remained unchanged since the 2016 ACT Election. The Conservation Council ACT Region has campaigned just as long for active travel and hosted recently a webinar. These initiatives are all most welcome.
This is the most recent of a list of Fast Track updates.
Tara Cheyne MLA, the Member for Ginninderra for ACT Labor, has sent canberra.bike two emails in the last month regarding the Kuringa Drive missing link, Belconnen. Quotes from her email and more information about Kuringa Drive are found below.
June is usually budget time in the ACT. The 2020-21 ACT Budget has been postponed. Canberra.bike 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.