The Walking and cycling feasibility and options report (2014, FOI 20-013) prepared by AECOM continues on where the strategic work 2012-2014 left off. The ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan prioritises routes between town and group centre for development. The AECOM report considers the challenges of building a cycle path along these routes.
Old suburbs need renewal
Much of Canberra, including the Inner South and Woden Valley, were developed without much consideration of the needs of cyclists. Certainly, the infrastructure falls short of modern active travel standards (even back in 2014). We build the city the best way we know at the time and decades later we find the designs are no longer fit for purpose, or at least not how we would like. In older suburbs, the infrastructure needs to be replaced. The life expectancy of around 50 years so that we know which suburbs are coming up and should budget for it.
As some routes are more important than others. The ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan (Final Report, 26 September 2014) identified the more important routes and ranked them. The Walking and cycling feasibility and options report audits the more important routes and made recommendations. Presumable, this information would be used to inform further planning and budgeting.
The biggest issue with Walking and cycling feasibility and options report is that very little has been done with it since 2014, which is a ongoing problem with all ACT Transport cycling plans.
Phillip to Manuka missing link
Phillip to Manuka is not all that far as the crow flies (5km) were it not for the geography. Red Hill lies in between. The Inner South and Woden Valley were developed from different pens, and nobody considered cycling between them.
Two possible routes could to be consider.
- Over the pass in the south along Hindmarsch Drive and the through the suburb of Red Hill
- Swinging north through Hughes and Deakin before riding through Griffin.
The north route is preferred as it has less climb and the quieter streets that make riding easier and safer. Joining up the suburbs and schools along the way with a good bike path would prove useful. Better cycling infrastructure will encourage children to ride to school
The Inner South has circular roads (not straight) and do not run directly to Manuka. The route must zigzag through Griffin before finally reaching Manuka. Also, community paths were all built directly on the lease boundaries. Over time the gardens have become overgrown and partly cover the path. The path widths are narrow (1.2m) and made even narrower by bushes. In some cases, one needs to walk on the grass as there is no room on the path. The bushes block the sightlines required for cycling as the path will cross many driveways. Some streets in Griffin have wide verges but no seal paths.
Main Community Routes require priority bike crossings and, on major roads, street light crossing. Road crossing are a major cause of accidents for cyclists. Safe crossing need to be considered in the design.
Table Constraints and opportunities.
Only the first column “constraints” is shown. FOI 20-013 Walking and Cycling feasibility and options report AECOM 2014, 18 June 2014, 16.