Some boast about Canberra’s bike paths, but what we see is the product of past investment. In the recent past, the network development has largely stagnated. There is no indication that the investment in cycling infrastructure is rising to meet the challenges and active travel opportunities ahead.
The ACT Projects Pipeline gives you and idea what the ACT Government (Major Projects Canberra) thinks will be coming up. For cycling there is not much new here, except the 2022 ACT Household Travel Survey has officially started, 5 years after the last survey. Good news.
Children do not walk to school because cars make it unsafe to do so. To improve road safety for children around schools, we require traffic calming measures, on all sides, and the implementation of safe zones, where children can move without crossing roads and getting close to motor vehicles. Any approach will require some government expenditure and urban renewal. TCCS have named the process Local Area Traffic Management (LATM). The Lyneham Primary School Petition is a typical attempt to improve safety around the school. At the moment, the chances of any improvement, however, are low. 😦
From public data, we know that $1.3 billion will be spent on road widening or duplication projects between 2020 and 2040 around the ACT. These are projects are completed, planned or coming. Two of the projects are already completed, most are already funded, and a further 3 big-ticket items added are planned in the next decade or two. That is just what we know now – more will come.
Implications of the Wellbeing Framework from the 2021-2022 ACT Budget. The Wellbeing Framework is made up of twelve domains, of which “access and connectivity” is most important for active travel as it includes transport. Access and connectivity is found across most ACT Government agencies. Not everything in access and connectivity is transport related. We have gather those items that are.
Minister Steel claims that $77 million is earmarked for active travel in the ACT over the next four years but in the 2021-2022 ACT Budget we find only $20 million, leaving a large discrepancy. The Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services questioned where this difference is to be found during the Inquiry into ACT Budget 2021-22.
We lack a standardised reporting practice for active travel investment and need one. It would permit comparison of active travel spend across directorates and budget years, and discerning between cycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Canberra.bike calls for an Active Travel Reporting to be standardised. We need to know what the numbers we get quoted really mean and can be trusted.
Few items in the budget are directly related to true active travel. The new investment in Active Travel for the period 2021-2025 is just $21.529 million. Source: TCCS 2021-2022 ACT Budget Statements, Summary of 2021-22 Infrastructure Program
Active travel is a group effort shared between walking, cycling and public transport. Public transport is good for Canberra. The budget submission of Public Transport Association of Canberra is profiled here.
The 2020-21 ACT Budget is a year late and contains little that was not made public before the 2020 ACT Election. 2020 was a special year and the budget has finally caught up. Hopefully, the budget for the year 2021-2022 will bring more investment in cycling.