Steady as she goes for cycling in ACT Budget – but where is the vision?
“A commitment to cycling in 2016 must go beyond attaching cycling infrastructure to new road construction” said Pedal Power ACT Executive Officer John Armstrong after a brief analysis of the ACT Budget figures following Tuesday’s ACT Government budget.
The positive provisioning attached to major road initiatives is standard procedure around Australia. Pedal Power ACT supports including cycling infrastructure in the duplication of Horse Park Drive, the Ashley Drive duplication and the Cotter Road duplication.
Hopeful that there would be a strong follow through from the feasibility studies into Group Town Centres of Woden and Belconnen commissioned in 2015, it appears that the Canberra cycling community must wait a further 12 months before realisation of these major projects. “Woden, Kingston and Gungahlin will receive a total of $2.3 million for design and possible construction of cycle infrastructure” said Armstrong “However, feasibility and planning work in Belconnen, West Belconnen and Tuggeranong (other than Anketell Street) has not been funded for a construction phase. “
The budget allocation is not sufficient to meet the ongoing maintenance demands and catch up with the backlog from underfunding. The deteriorating condition of community paths makes it difficult for children and families to get out and be active.
Pedal Power ACT has been urging the Government to invest in ride to school programs, and welcomes the Active Streets for Schools program ($1 million over two years), and a schools coordinator in the Active Travel Office.
Pedal Power welcomes cycling related infrastructure budget allocations, including:
- Aikman Drive – cycling infrastructure ($397 000)
- Airport Road network cycling improvements ($15 000)
- Horse Park Drive pedestrian overpass feasibility study ($400 000)
- West basin infrastructure ($5.8 million)
- Dickson intersections
- An improved asset management system to help with ACT maintenance programs.
“The Budget lacks the vision to lift ACT cycling participation in line with the Government’s target” said a disappointed Armstrong. “In many respects it is complacent and piecemeal. Complacent because it has expended where it has been expected and piecemeal because it has failed to follow through on important initiatives commenced last year.”
Key priorities that Pedal Power identified in its budget submission and which remain unaddressed are:
- construction of coordinated and connected cycling infrastructure to and through town and group centres
- Adequate maintenance to extend the useful life of existing footpath and cycling assets
- Separated on road cycling facilities to separate bicycles from fast heavy traffic
- Off-road paths that separate people who are cycling from those who are walking
Pedal Power ACT calls on the Government to shake off its complacency and shed its piecemeal approach by adequately resourcing path maintenance and separated cycling and walking infrastructure.
Pedal Power Advocacy Group Working on Infrastructure and Behavioural Issues
Members of Pedal Power’s Advocacy Infrastructure Team attended the ACT budget lock-up to assess how cycling fared in the Budget (verdict: Little to crow about) and has formed groups to focus on each electorate in the forthcoming ACT election. The Behavioural Advocacy Team will be focusing on safety and related issues. Both teams are meeting in June. If you’d like to be involved in either team and help work on advocacy issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can view the entire budget here: http://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget-2016-2017/home