Page 467 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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people are reliant on the private motor vehicle, even for short trips, but particularly those commuting to the city and other town centres for work.

It means that because of distance alone, it is unrealistic to expect everyone in places like Tuggeranong or Nicholls to cycle the whole way to the city for work every day. Despite these challenges, there are things we can do to make active travel a much more attractive choice for many trips and in all regions of Canberra, whether it is walking to the local shops along a great community path to get some midweek groceries, riding your bike to your local bus or light rail stop and then catching public transport to work to avoid traffic congestion, using an e-scooter to get from the office to your lunch meeting on the other side of the CBD, or riding your e-bike to your local town centre along one of our new shared paths for a coffee on the weekend. It is different for everyone, and there are so many opportunities for people to make walking and cycling part of how they get around our city. This year we will be encouraging Canberrans to do more of it.

As foreshadowed in the transport strategy, the ACT government is currently developing a new active travel plan. Through the plan the government will set a new policy direction for active travel, which I can announce we will be consulting on with the community around the middle of the year. This plan will replace the current active travel framework and establish an updated direction for walking, cycling and micro-mobility, and how we integrate and prioritise active travel modes within the transport system and encourage active travel.

The plan will include principles that guide decision-making for active travel, a framework for prioritising network improvements and supporting initiatives and, importantly, a new active travel network plan. The new network plan will also map out the current future of our walking and cycling routes and outline proposed improvements to it, including future new shared and dedicated walking and cyclepath infrastructure. We will be asking the community to provide feedback on the active travel plan, missing links and their priorities for improvements to the network, and how we make walking and cycling a more attractive choice, particularly for trips within their region of Canberra.

The plan will establish a new framework for active travel infrastructure that is suitable and safe for all ages and abilities and that is complemented by initiatives such as education, behavioural and enabling actions such as bicycle parking, wayfinding, shade and amenities. The plan will ensure that the ACT government are getting the most value for our investment in active travel, in terms of more people walking and riding, as well as reduced emissions and congestion as a result, and will outline the ways we intend to measure and track this over time.

I can foreshadow that the heart of the plan to encourage people to walk and cycle will be to build safe infrastructure. The research tells us that it starts with safety. As an example, whilst many cyclists will always ride on the road with vehicles, most people will not cycle unless there are paths that are safely separated from cars. Similarly, when there are highly frequented cyclepaths that are shared with pedestrians, people may not feel safe walking with cyclists and may also feel safer on their own dedicated part of the street.

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