The ACT Government’s draft Active Travel Plan sets out an exciting vision to get more Canberrans out of their cars, and riding and walking more often instead.
But as with all such things, the devil will be in how we do it, and what we prioritise. Which is why PTCBR’s submission wanted to deliberately create some debate. While they’re not perfect, our bikeways connecting town centres are pretty good, as suggested by the CBR Cycle Routes map.
But these long distance routes are not going to be attractive to everyone. Instead, we want the government to focus on helping people on the shorter journeys: to the shops, to school and, yes, to public transport.
This is why we called on the plan to explicity prioritise these local routes over longer distance linear routes. We think there’s a better chance of meeting people where they are, and getting them to ride 1 or 2km, rather than the 10km it might take to get to work. And some of the best places to encourage this is along Canberra’s collector streets (think the wider, main street in your suburb that you probably drive on to get to your house).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a PTCBR submission without calling for better PT/active travel integration, especially improving bike storage at transport interchanges.
It’s pleasing to see the Canberra Times has picked up this story (paywall): hopefully this encourages a bit of debate and consideration about the issues, beyond everyone nodding in furious agreement about the benefits of active travel.