Hon A. P. Harriss
Legislative Council Parliament House Hobart 7000
Thursday, 15 November 2012
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works. I understand you will be considering an upgrade to Rokeby Road tomorrow (Friday, November 16).
I am concerned that this upgrade could represent a major lost opportunity for residents in the area, because it fails to promote active transport as well as it might. The Rokeby Road upgrade is a major infrastructure project costing about $10m of federal roads funding + $2m state funding.
The Eastern Shore is an area with a growing population, with a number of new residential builds
proposed in the wider area. It should also be noted that there are two government requirements to make active transport – basically cycling and walking – central to infrastructure projects like this one.
These frameworks are namely the Federal Government’s following strategy: Our Cities, Our Future—A National Urban Policy for a productive, sustainable and liveable future. The Active Transport component says the strategy seeks “to encourage and support walking and riding as part of the transport systems in Australia's cities and towns”.
The same objectives apply at a State level, through the State Government’s Tasmanian Walking and Cycling for Active Transport Strategy. However, this project does not appear to treat all transport modes equally, namely equal provision for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
At a recent briefing myself (Bicycle Tasmania), Mary McParland (Cycling South) and Tom Allen (Sustainable Transport adviser to Nick McKim, MP), DIER maintained that funds are not available to include a shared pathway where Rokeby Road corners into Grange Road West and that full active transport provision “was not within the scope of this project”.
This project represents an opportunity to put in place the building blocks for a shared pathway effectively from the Tasman Bridge all the way along the Eastern Shore. DIER could create plans for such a walkway even if it does not have funds available for all components at this stage.
Ignoring such an opportunity then attempting to retrofit subsequent components does not represent best practice and is not in the interests of local residents. DIER’s current plans provide for
a shared pathway, which is then routed onto existing and very poor quality pathways at Rokeby Fire Station. Routing cyclists along poor quality footpath that also has poor sightlines in terms of driveways, is undesirable, especially when alternatives appear not to have been explored.
Local residents have opposed sound barriers in this area, which DIER has agreed to do away with. Given this concession, there appears to be ample scope to include a shared pathway. To their credit, DIER representatives agreed to “look at” provision of a full shared pathway at Rokeby Rd-Grange Rd West. However, the three of us have doubts about whether this consideration will have effect, given the plans are due to go to the Public Works Committee on Friday this week.
We would like to ask you to consider requiring DIER to incorporate true active transport equity in this project and to amends its plans accordingly.
Despite DIER maintaining there are no additional funds available, there is scope to submit this project, or elements of it, within the next round of Nation Building 2 funding. This next round is geared towards boosting Active Transport and there is still ample scope to make a submission.
Facilities Development Manager, Bicycle Tasmania
Have your say on a draft report into "Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport" in Australia. Or just figure out what the Commonwealth government is thinking around sustainable transport.
Available at <www.infrastructure.gov.au/activetransport
The draft report aims to stimulate a national discussion on active travel and builds on national policies currently in place, such as the National Urban Policy, the National Road Safety Strategy and the National Cycling Strategy. It explores how the Australian Government can work with other governments, business and the community to encourage and support walking and riding as part of an efficient, safe and sustainable transport system in Australia.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport welcomes your views on how to increase rates of walking and riding for transport purposes, and improve access to public transport. You can respond to the Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport draft report for discussion by either completing an online feedback questionnaire or uploading a written submission via our website www.infrastructure.gov.au/activetransport
. A three month consultation period will close on Thursday 31 January 2013 and feedback will inform the Department’s development of policy on walking, riding and access to public transport.
In response to David Hurburgh ('Bike lane reality check',
Oct 5), advocates of the Sandy Bay Walking and Cycling Project have taken a
reality check. It's called research. It comes in the form of data from other
cities as well as data on our own riders and residents. Hobart City Council has
undertaken various surveys and bike counts to determine actual and
projected levels of use. Lower Sandy Bay and Taroona has a
particularly high proportion of residents who would like the healthy option of
commuting, shopping and visiting by bike. 2012 data show 60 bike riders per
hour on Sandy Bay Road. Roger Geller's work in Portland, Oregon shows that if
you only cater to the 'strong and fearless' who don't mind mixing with cars,
then you'll only get a few percent of people riding. Provide separated
facilities, as is proposed along Sandy Bay Road, and you get dramatic
uptakes in cycling. If the facility is upgraded, people will
ride. Again, data from many other cities shows what is
possible. The Swiss city of Basel is built on the steep banks of the
Rhine and yet 23% of journeys are made by bike. In Bern, where many roads have
a gradient of 7%, 15% of journeys are made by bike. Traffic engineers at the
Council have demonstrated that Sandy Bay Road is wide enough to accommodate a
variety of modes of transport, without disruption the flow for buses and cars.
Given health benefits of physical activity and the possibility of overcoming
hills with pedal-assist electric bikes, Hobart needs this infrastructure
to give residents the option of leaving their cars behind.
You can vote with your wheels on Wednesday October 17th at our Ride2Work event along Sandy Bay Road. Meet at Lower Sandy Bay shops in time to leave at 7am SHARP. If you are among the first 50 riders there, you'll score a free, first edition Bicycle Tasmania t-shirt. It's bright orange with the BT riders in black - very cool.
Brian Richie (our Ride2Work Ambassador), the Minister for Sustainable Transport, Hobart City Council alderman, Heart Foundation CEO Graeme Lynch and your good selves will all be riding from Lower Sandy Bay and meeting up with Minister David O'Byrne at the breakfast in Mawson Place.
Cycling South have pulled in a real barista this year, so there will be 'proper' coffee and pastries.
Come and support calls for better bike infrastructure in Hobart, and have a great morning with fellow bike riders!
There is a plan to make bike riding along Sandy Bay Road an
experience so enjoyable and safe that any person, aged eight to eighty, could
ride it. It will be the nicest part of the ride to work, the best part of
riding to Nutgrove Beach on the weekend and a highlight for Hobart visitors.
Unfortunately Hobart City Council is poised to sabotage four
years of preparation and consultation into a project that was going to ensure
that walking and cycling become a popular form of transport and recreation
along Sandy Bay Road in the future. Read the details at the following link and
sign the petition calling for a fairer
Please find attached the
Bicycle Tasmania submission to the Integrated Transport Options inquiry.
Getting more people riding, more often is
our vision for a healthier Tasmania. Taking that bike out of the shed and
giving it a dust off, even if it’s just once or twice a week, has a lot of
positive benefits, including fitness and social contact.
Cycling involves all the major muscle
groups and can be a high cardio vascular exercise without weight bearing stress
to muscles and joints. The Cycling25 project in Hobart followed 25 volunteer
non-riders who committed to riding 40 km or four times a week for a year.
Twenty one people finished the program and, in return, kept the bike they were
given at the start of the year. There were highly positive outcomes around average
fitness, improved mood, and an increase in recreational riding with family and
Many people I speak to about bike riding
say they would like to ride more often. One of the main barriers is lack of
low-stress routes between people’s homes and destinations. We need routes that
don’t require riding on roads that exceed people’s tolerance for traffic
stress, and that do not involve long detours. Tasmania is slowly working
towards implementing key arterial bike networks in urban centres but needs to
be moving faster to tackle the challenges we face around obesity, work stress,
cutting carbon, tackling congestion and providing cheaper travel options.
Providing infrastructure that makes
cycling a fun, cheap, social way to get around is an important part of tackling
many complex social-environmental challenges. Bicycle Tasmania, Heart
Foundation and many other groups are working towards getting local and state
governments to prioritise funding and planning to make these low stress
connections a reality to get more people riding, more often.
Emma Pharo, Facilities Development Manager
In reply to Annie Betts (QuickViews, June 13), the Degraves St, South Hobart bike lane is formalising a popular route for riders. They are going uphill from the South Hobart Rivulet path to access residences of South Hobart and trails of Mt Wellington. This contra-flow lane means that riders don’t have (legally) to mount the footpath or (illegally) ride up the street against the oncoming cars. The cars now park adjacent to the bike lane rather than the kerb, which provides a buffer between the riders and moving cars to the benefit of both parties. Councils and the state government have made myriad commitments around active transport for health and carbon emission reduction benefits. Hobart City Council is to be commended for their investment in the South Hobart Rivulet tracks, of which Degraves St is an important feeder route.
Facilities Development, Bicycle Tasmania
The Labour-Green government can start making savings next
month if it invests appropriately in bicycle facilities such as bike lanes and
cycleways when it hands down the 2012-2013 state budget in April.
Decades of inaction in providing for cyclists when building and improving the
road network has led to spiraling claims by bicycle riders through MAIB,
costing over $80 million since 1990 according to the Menzies Research Centre
analysis reported this week (‘$80m bicycle prang payouts’, Mercury, 23/4).
Tasmania has fallen so far behind all other Australian states in providing a
low risk and easy to use bicycle networks that the state may be held liable for
cyclist crashes and face claims from insurance companies for failure provide
equitable amenity for all road users, says peak bicycle rider membership
organisation, Bicycle Tasmania.
The equivalent to the RACT for bike riders, Bicycle Tasmania says its members
are increasingly concerned that the state budget for new bicycle facilities is
now $0 despite the increasing number of riders. The organisation offers
personal accident and third party insurance to members but says this only
offers slight peace of mind for most who are forced to share the road with cars
and trucks without adequate infrastructure.
Bicycle Tasmania Facilities Development Officer Emma Pharo said ‘the Tasmanian
Government needed to acknowledge the 19% of Tasmanians who ride a bike each
week and start funding real projects on the principle urban bicycle networks in
Launceston, Hobart, Devonport and Burnie’.
‘If the Labour-Green government wants to make savings this budget then it must
look no further than to allocate capital to where there will be strong return.
Through work done by Transport and Main Roads in Queensland there is now an
accepted estimate that every 1000 new bike riders are worth $15 Million over 30
years. Every $1 Million that is spent on cycleways will equate to $20 Million
in health savings alone to the community’ she said.
In its submission ‘Creating Healthy Connections’ to the community budget
consultation in January, Bicycle Tasmania detailed 428 km of cycleway project
opportunities but fears that Tasmania’s bike riding potential will be ignored
due to ignorance of senior government officials about the funding required to
support greater participation in bike riding.
‘It has been made clear to the State Government that an allocation of $15
Million over the next three years is the minimum investment required to support
more Tasmanians riding more often’ said Ms Pharo.
‘With bicycle facility projects such as Sandy Bay Rd, nearing a ‘shovel ready’
stage, the State Government must reward local councils for their planning and
consultation work by providing an annual allocation towards capital works on
the principle bicycle network’.
Media enquiries: Emma Pharo – 0447 341 105
Council was persuaded by an amendment put forward by Philip Cocker and Helen Burnet to endorse in principle the project in its entirety, rather than go with the weak recommendations of Infrastructure Services Committee.
They successfully argued that Council needs to move each of this project's components along if we want to be successful in attracting Federal grants funding. This means that we don't just stop at Marieville Esp to the Casino but move on all sections of the proposal.
Thank you all for your support of Bicycle Tasmania and for the effort that many of you put into emails, advice and coming to the Council meeting. Emma Pharo