People often think that pedestrians and cyclist have the same needs, and one path will serve both. This is not true. The characteristics of walking and riding a bike are different. This conflict of interest makes life difficult for designers. This is most noticeable when the path gets steep. For pedestrians and wheelchairs, “stepping” is advised, but this is not the best for cyclist. William Hovell Drive shared path illustrates the problem.
200,000 people will soon live in Belconnen and Gungahlin, it is relatively flat, which gives the area great cycling potential. CBR Cycle Routes C11, C1 and C7 carve their way through the north, but not in ways that we would expect. Many grass reserves force the cyclist on huge detours. We still do not have a direct route between Belconnen and Mitchell. What are our options?
Austroads has produced many good and useful standards. One of the best is Guide to Road Design Part 6A: Paths for Walking and Cycling (AGRD06A). The ACT Active Travel Standards (MIS05) are compliment by the Austroads AGRD06A. The Austroads National Standard is more detailed than the ACT equivalent and complements the local standard.
To keep people out, build a fence. To keep cars out, build a vehicle restriction barrier such as bollards. Bollards are a hazard to cyclists and therefore unpopular. It is generally accepted, however, that cars will trespass on parks, nature reserves and bike paths unless a barrier is build to prohibit it. Poorly behaved minority of motorists are the cause, but the costs and inconvenienced is carried by everybody.
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.
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?
We do not yet have a master plan for active travel for the Molonglo Valley. What we do have is Molonglo 3 East Design Concept Plan which includes a proposed network of Main and Local Community Routes. From this we have constructed maps of the active transport options around 2041 when, hopefully, the majority of Molonglo 3 East is finished.
If you are riding on a bumpy bike path, you would hope the bumps would be fixed in a few months or one or two years at the most. The politicians and government officials that make up our government will tell you to be patient, and they are working on it, but we have a discrepancy in the time frame. Cycle infrastructure projects in the ACT take 6-8 years to complete – two legislative terms.
IPCC Climate Change 2022 report discusses amongst other things (in a 3000 page document) the importance of how we build our cities and the change to modes of transport can greatly increase our emissions as a society. Cycling has, apart from walking, the lowest emission of any transport mode. To make cycling for transport work, we need to build our city to support it. Here are highlights relating to these topics.