ACT Health established programs to encourage walking and cycling to school in 2012. A decade later, most schools still do not participate in these programs. The participation rate for secondary schools is much lower than for primary schools. The ACT Government is slow to improve infrastructure around schools for active travel. Roads must be perceived as safe for these programs to succeed. What will it take to change this?
A demonstration of a car centric culture is the preference to duplicate arterials rather than fix the infrastructure around our schools. Good local road infrastructure is what makes our suburbs walkable and rideable. For children to walk or ride to school we need good and safe infrastructure within a kilometre of all schools. First, we need to make the roads safe for kids, and only then will parents think about other alternatives to driving children to school.
The street and road are not the same thing. Simply put, the road is for cars, but everybody benefits from the street. Take way the road and we still have a street, it may even serve the local community better.
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.
Belconnen Town Centre opened in the late 1970s. Over the last 40 years, we have had many plans to improve the cycle infrastructure but the progress has been slow. Here maps for the Belconnen district from 1992, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2019, 2022
We must remain sceptical of consultations. The consultation for (ACT) Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure 2004, shows us that the recommendations have still not be implemented 18 years later. The process in 2004 has an eerie familiarity to the 2021 District Planning consultations.
The bikeway along Benjamin Way in Belconnen lost funding and now seems to have been forgotten 8 years after its conception. The development of Belconnen Town Centre was further complicated in 2021. Will we ever see a grade separated bike path on Benjamin Way?
Comparing the town centre maps from TCCS between the years 2019 and 2022. Recently, all the CBR Cycle Route maps for the town centres were updated on the TCCS website. A good thing to be sure but how much has actually changed?
The standards for the maintenance of ACT community paths is famously documented in the Guidelines for community path repairs and maintenance at 30 June 2012. Even without getting off your bike, as cyclist, it is clear to observe that the criteria for intervention is often exceeded.
False is the claim that we have 1000 km of bike paths in Canberra. Even with the most optimistic estimate, only 568 km of paths meets the minimum requirements for cycling, and the asphalt paths are about half that. In the ACT we have 327 km of bitumen paths, 235 km of concrete paths, and 6 km with pavers – total 568 km. In comparison, we have 5900 lane kilometres of roads.