Page 1673 - Week 06 - Thursday, 3 June 2021

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The incorporation of on-road cycleways and off-road shared paths as part of major road upgrade projects is also welcomed. It is also great to see a range of other investments being made by the ACT government for public transport and active travel initiatives. The commitment to construct the missing network gap connecting the Molonglo Valley to the shared path near the RSPCA in Weston Creek is a significant step.

I note Minister Steel’s comments and the commitment of the ACT government, having fast-tracked a number of footpath and cycle path network upgrades since the start of 2020, largely in response to the number of people who took up or increased walking and cycling during the pandemic. The introduction of light rail to Canberra’s southern suburbs will have a significant positive impact for the communities of Woden Valley and the people of Murrumbidgee more broadly.

Good connections and integrations between all forms of public transport—buses and light rail—as well as first-last mile solutions for people walking and people riding bikes, together with continued and expanded park and ride opportunities, will be critical in contributing to Canberra’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions strategy.

The transport sector accounts for 62 per cent of carbon emissions in the ACT and is the largest contributing sector. This figure is dominated by private vehicle use. I welcome the ACT Conservation Council’s “make the move” campaign launched last week by Minister Rattenbury, in conjunction with the Canberra Environment Centre. For anyone who is not yet familiar with this program, I encourage you to visit the “make the move” website and review the array of information to assist individuals, families and workplaces to change their habits to embrace walking and cycling as regular modes of travel.

Canberrans make over a million trips every day. In the ACT, around 30 per cent of trips made are either less than five kilometres or between five and 10 kilometres. These are distances that are easily walkable or rideable. Shifting even a small proportion of those short distance commuters to active modes of travel would increase the capacity of Canberra’s transport network.

Often, the hardest part for individuals is making the change and creating a new habit. “Make the move” supports people and workplaces to do just that. Transport is an issue of health and wellbeing. The amount of time we each spend in our daily commutes to work and also in other everyday activities and errands contributes to our balance or juggle of life, work, family, social activities and recreation.

For most of us, getting from A to B is a means to an end, and the less time we spend on the road, particularly in private cars, the better. I once heard a phrase, “You’re not stuck in a traffic jam; you are the traffic jam.” There is a lot of truth in that statement, and it is a very powerful one. From this perspective, and that of a work-life balance for our community, I am very encouraged by the transport recovery plan’s reference to flexible working arrangements. There are some really important and interesting intersects between transport solutions and flexible working arrangements to bring about a range of benefits for individuals, large-scale workplaces, local businesses, the economy and the environment.

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