Canberra Times: Review urges transport overhaul

450px-Copenhagen_Style_Bike_Lane

Copenhagen style bike lane in Melbourne

In the Canberra Times, 11 November 2009, city reporter Megan Doherty writes about the major review of Canberra’s cycling and pedestrian networks. The article discusses the possible introduction of separated and protected bike lanes.

Good information about what defines the “Copenhagen-style” protected bike lane can be obtained from the City of Melbourne website. Specifically there is a “Bike Separated Lanes Fact Sheet” (PDF Document) that clearly outlines the concepts and their use.

The Canberra Times article is reproduced below:

Review urges transport overhaul

A major review of Canberra’s cycling and pedestrian networks has recommended a low-speed ”shared space” in Civic’s busy Bunda Street giving ”equal priority” to walkers, cyclists and motorists.

It suggests the same treatment of Gungahlin’s main road Hibberson Street. And the report urges Copenhagen-style ”protected bike lanes” be investigated for Marcus Clarke Street, Alinga Street and Parkes Way.

Similar Copenhagen-style bike lanes were put in Melbourne’s Swanston Street in 2007. The bike lanes run alongside the footpath, with cars parking on the outside of the bike lane, closest to the road. A 1m-wide island separates the bike lane from parked cars to avoid opening car doors from being a hazard.

The Canberra networks review suggests improved street crossings in Tuggeranong for pedestrians and cyclists. It recommends better connections from surrounding suburbs to Woden town centre and suggests, ”Hindmarsh Drive can be intimidating for pedestrians and discourages crossing”.

The review into the cycling and pedestrian network is part of the Sustainable Transport Action Plan 2010-2016 which wants walking and cycling to comprise 14 per cent of all journeys made to work by 2026.

The report will help determine cycling and pedestrian capital works programs over seven years from 2010-11 within and between the town centres and major employment centres such as Fyshwick.

The review, done by private consultants at the request of the Government, is now open for public comment until December 4, with cycling lobby group Pedal Power welcoming the recommendations about Bunda Street. Pedal Power spokesman Tony Shields said the plans were ”innovative and showed a good understanding of what is needed to get more Canberrans cycling”.

Mr Shields said the $4million the Government had already allocated to upgrade Bunda Street could be used to incorporate the shared space concept the report recommended.

”Shared space is a concept where the streetscape is changed so pedestrians and bicycles are given the same priority as cars. It makes for a much better walking and cycling space but still allows for use by cars, delivery vans etc. A better cycling and walking environment means more people and shoppers,” he said.

The ACT Greens have previously suggested Bunda Street be closed to traffic between certain hours, such as 7am to 7pm, except for delivery and disability vehicles, to make it more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.

Greens planning spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur said yesterday she would be happy for that proposal to be replaced by the shared space concept for Bunda Street.

However, Ms Le Couteur said the Government appeared to have put the cart before the horse by approving the $4million upgrade of Bunda Street before the release of the pedestrian and cycling review.

The upgrade included the replacement of paving, sustainable water harvesting for street trees, safe crossing points, new street furniture and lighting.

”I think the process of spending the money on Bunda Street should take a little bit long so instead of just a cosmetic upgrade, that we can do more with $4million and help solve the transport problem as well,” she said.

Roads ACT director Tony Gill said the review’s attached maps showing new pedestrian and cycling networks were indicative only and not yet approved. Roads ACT expected to have a report to Government by February.

Mr Gill said over the next three years $4.8million was available for cycling infrastructure and $2.5million for pedestrian facilities, and the review was meant to identify priority spending areas.

”It may be work in Bunda Street is regarded as a higher priority. But we haven’t had any community input into this yet,” he said. ”There’s a need for a process to give some sense of priority about where the money should be directed.”

More details about how to comment on the review are at the website tams.act.gov.au.

Plans are also on display at the Canberra Centre, Westfield Belconnen, Westfield Woden, Gungahlin Marketplace and Tuggeranong Hyperdome until Sunday.

For details of the consultation process see:  Invitation to comment: Review into ACT’s cycling and pedestrian network (Closing 4 December 2009) or click the following link for more information on articles relating to the Sustainable Transport Action Plan as published on this web site.

Note: copyright of the material in this clipping resides with Fairfax Media. Usage permitted in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968, Section 42: Fair dealing for purpose of reporting news. Source: The Canberra Times – 11 November 2009.

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