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ACT budget to boost bike paths and cycle infrastructure

Tuesday's ACT budget will include new funding for bike and walking paths, cycling infrastructure and the planned Molonglo cycle highway project. 

Chief Minister Andrew Barr will announce on Thursday $23 million to fund projects around Canberra. 

As part of the government's "suburban" budget focus, Woden town centre will receive $250,000 for upgrades to new and existing shared paths and cycle infrastructure, while $600,000 will go to construction of new walking and cycling paths through Bowen Park to connect to Kingston Foreshore and make it easier to ride around Lake Burley Griffin. 

Other projects include $1.5 million for final design and construction of new road crossings on Sullivan's Creek cycle path, including at Masson Street, Condamine Street and Goodwin Street. Stage one of the Molonglo cycle highway linking the city to Acacia Inlet will receive $200,000. The project is part of Labor's governance agreement with Territories and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury.

A further $150,000 will fund design improvements to increase cycling and walking around the Kingston shops and $100,000 will be spent for feasibility studies at Belconnen, West Belconnen and Tuggeranong to establish local walking and cycling path connections. 

Mr Barr said better transport would help ease traffic congestion and improve health outcomes for Canberrans. 

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Mr Rattenbury, who also serves as Transport Reform Minister, said walking and cycling were key to Canberra's transport future. A new office for active travel has been established to oversee implementation of new infrastructure and improvements. 

"Active travel is a feature of the world's best cities," Mr Rattenbury said. "The exercise from a walk to the shops, the social benefits from meeting people on the street and the economic and environmental benefits from active travel are clear." 

Already the territory has more than 3000 kilometres of on and off road cycle paths and footpaths.

Next financial year, the government plans to create about 35 kilometres of new paths, to ensure the city has some of the best walking and cycling infrastructure in Australia. 

"The ACT government is committed to improving this network and exploring other things that make active travel appealing, as part of our plan to ensure that Canberra continues to lead the nation as a place where it is easier to make healthy lifestyle choices," Mr Rattenbury said. 

Cycling advocacy group Pedal Power had called for a $50 million investment in cycling infrastructure and health promotion efforts from the ACT government's coming budget, including for the completion of the 3.2-kilometre Civic Cycle Loop.