Have your say on the future of active travel in Canberra

21 Jul 22 | By pp-admin | Advocacy, Cycle safety, Pedal Power

The ACT Government has released a draft Active Travel Plan, which outlines a pathway to boost active travel in the territory. It includes an interactive cycling infrastructure map where you can make suggestions directly. We encourage all Pedal Power members to make use of this opportunity.

You can view and provide feedback on the plan HERE.

Why does Canberra need an active travel plan?

  • Canberra is a rapidly growing city with a booming population. No city can rely on private cars alone to manage transport.
  • The ACT Climate Strategy estimates that an additional 40–45 per cent of car journeys will need to shift to active travel and public transport by 2045 to achieve net zero emissions.
  • Active travel is important for our health and wellbeing, and improves our city’s livability.
  • This plan sets out goals to work towards, and invites community input into shaping our cycling and walking network.

Is the plan going to help Canberrans take up cycling for transport?

Pedal Power was consulted during development of the draft plan, and we provided feedback based on our ongoing community engagement.

The Active Travel Plan is a huge leap in the right direction for Canberra. It recognises that enabling and supporting active travel is essential for our growing city. It provides structure around how government will deliver this. It also includes an outline of the investment criteria for active travel projects, which has been a gap in the ACT’s investment framework. We look forward to learning more about the plan, it’s measurement and its timeline.

Some issues we will seek clarity on:

  • Pedal Power welcomes the proposed community consultation on lowering the speed limits on local roads. Reducing speeds will improve safety and encourage more people to cycle. However, the Plan proposes reducing speeds to 40kph. There is clear evidence that to reduce serious injury risk, speed limits should be lowered to 30kph. Pedal Power calls on the ACT Government to consult on a 30kph speed limit in residential areas. 
  • The Active Travel Plan needs targets. The Plan provides a baseline of our current participation levels, however to measure success, our community needs to know what we are aiming for.
  • We need an implementation plan.  Pedal Power would like to see a timeline with a plan of what where and when these strategies will be carried out. 
  • The plan measures path condition via an annual community satisfaction survey. The baseline for ‘Satisfaction with maintenance of Canberra’s active travel infrastructure’ is 88%. Given the ACT Government has recently completed a full path condition assessment, we would like to see path maintenance measurements including both community satisfaction and an annual condition audit. We would like results of the annual audit to be made public. 

What are the key takeaways from the Plan?

The plan has adopted many of the recommendations made by Pedal Power and our cycling community:

Improving the safety and connectedness of our path network
  • A commitment to convert on road cycle lanes on priority routes to safe separated cycleways
  • Improving maintenance by implementing a new strategic asset renewal program of our community path network including shared paths and cycle paths
  • Progressively building the identified priority missing links using protected cycleways or off-road shared or cycle path infrastructure
  • Improving the design standards for intersections and crossings
  • Progressively remove all S-bend and banana rails on paths – replacing these with bollards that meet current standard
  • Progressively upgrading footpaths and bus stops to meet current accessibility standards.
The plan also looks to address community concerns about path congestion and separation of cycling and walking:
  • Progressively upgrade busy shared paths to separate walking and cycling modes and improve capacity on high volume community paths
  • Consider all cycle network users, including those on cargo bikes, e-bikes and mobility scooters, in the design of infrastructure.
Improvements at the end of your trip:
  • The plan commits to finalise the end of trip facilities code
  • Providing secure bike cages in every town centre in Canberra, and developing new access passes for secure bike parking without the need to demonstrate public transport use.
  • Provision of more Park and Pedal and Bike and Ride facilities
  • Progressively expanding bike repair stations, to ensure they are available in all town centre
Education and behaviour change

The plan acknowledges that governments, schools, businesses and communities can support Canberrans with the knowledge and skills to choose active travel. It includes some programs for supporting people to change their travel habits, including:

  • Conducting regular community education campaigns focused on the safety of vulnerable road users.
  • Funding workplace travel planning that builds on the Make the Move program
  • Continued funding the ride and walk to school program
  • Continued support for major events that encourage bike riding.

If you’d like to hear directly from Transport Minister Chris Steel about the plan – and have the opportunity to ask questions – please come to the 2022 Pedal Power member forum on 28 July. Register HERE.