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Walkers fear upgrade plan leaves them out

Date

Lisa Cox

Kevin Gill on the Parkes Way pedestrian bridge.

Kevin Gill on the Parkes Way pedestrian bridge. Photo: Colleen Petch

Canberra's pedestrian group says the ACT government has overlooked walkers in its $40 million upgrade plan for the territory's walking and cycling network.

Living Streets Canberra wants the government to include the word ''walking'' in its draft plan to reduce reliance on cars, currently titled the ''ACT Strategic Cycle Network Plan''.

Living Streets chairman Leon Arundell said the territory could end up with a network that benefited only cyclists because references to walkers were almost completely absent from the plan.

Former president of the Inner South Canberra Community Council Kevin Gill also expressed concerns.

''The terms of reference seem to focus on motorised or pedal-powered stuff on paths … all users' needs [must] be taken into account when considering the future of commuter paths in the ACT,'' he said.

''There's a lot of mixed use of a narrow, single path. Pedestrians can be at a disadvantage if something bigger and faster is coming at them.''

But Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said walkers had not been neglected.

Mr Arundell said that he feared pedestrians would not comment on the plan, submissions for which close next week, because they had been mentioned in the draft only five times.

''All of the advertising of the consultation process has talked about it as a cycling network,'' he said. ''The general public would have the impression that this is only about cycling and not about walking.

''If the only people commenting on the plan are commenting from a cycling perspective, this $40 million plan will only benefit cyclists.''

Mr Arundell said he had tried, without success, to persuade the government to include the word ''walking'' in its invitations for comment on the plan. He said the government was insisting on calling it a cycle network, despite a cordon count in March showing that three-quarters of the people that used the network were walkers.

''I primarily want them to consult with the walking public on the basis that it's a walking and cycling network, not just a cycling network,'' he said. ''If we build the network to suit cyclists, there'll probably be things we could do to make it better for people who walk but we won't be doing it.''

Mr Arundell said the plan was flawed because it looked at all of the routes connecting the ACT instead of using a suburb by suburb approach.

''There are very important pieces of walking and cycling infrastructure that are not being considered,'' he said. ''Streets that don't have any footpaths, where people have to walk on the nature strip - that's a quarter of Canberra streets - and there's a sub-class of those where it's impossible to walk on the nature strip because it's obstructed with landscaping or parked cars.

''That's a particular problem for children and a quarter of Canberra cyclists are aged under 10.''

Mr Corbell said the government's plan recognised that many of the paths were shared paths and it was seeking feedback from all users, not just cyclists.

''During the public displays on this project all the participants, including the pedestrians, were encouraged to provide feedback to make sure that the shared paths support all users,'' he said.

''An outcome of the study may result in upgrades to 'shared paths' in areas and this will result in improvements to paths for both pedestrians and cyclists.''

Mr Corbell said that, in addition to the study, planning work was proposed that specifically focused on improving walking infrastructure within town centres and to bus stops.

''This work will identify specific needs of pedestrians that are different from the cyclist,'' he said.

28 comments

  • The pedestrian group is right... If you don't think that this is a significant issue, then you should try walking along the pedestrian/cycle path that runs towards Woden in fron of Chifley shops between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning. Rememeber to bring protective gear. Cyclists who want to ride at 50-60 km/hr should be asked to use the road.

    Commenter
    Not The Mama
    Location
    Chifley
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 7:21AM
    • Didn't know you carry a portable speedgun? Cyclists on the path between Curtin and Woden are slow and would be doing 15-20kmh tops. Real cyclists who travel between 50-60kmh are using the road and are only doing that type of speed for short bursts of time otherwise they would be in the olympics time trial team. But let's not get facts in the way of a good whinge now.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 7:13PM
  • Seriously?

    This guy's argument are so stupid. You need specific paths to walk to somewhere? No. Come on. Stop whinging. Find something else to do with your time besides compliant to anyone that will listen.

    And, Canberra Times, you don't have to listen to every bored pensioner

    Commenter
    AwkwardBeans
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 7:25AM
    • "And, Canberra Times, you don't have to listen to every bored pensioner" - Exactly right.

      Lisa, go around and see if you can get a comment on cycle path plans from the P-Platers Club at Summernats.

      Or maybe from Freudian Closet-Case Association on why lycra cycling shorts arouses strange feelings of anger and frustration they can't explain.

      Commenter
      JCarroway
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 10:48AM
  • Damned cyclists, they get in my way when they insist on using car lanes on the roads thus delaying and annoying me. Then they get in my face when they insist on having right of way on bike paths. Then they offend my senses by wearing those dreadful old-fashioned plastic skin-tight shorts showing their genetalia (bulges or cameltoes). What a selfish, antisocial segment of society they are! Give me a pedestrian anyday!

    Commenter
    Mandelbrot
    Location
    Forrest
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 7:35AM
    • See, now, life is full of these slight inconveniences. You got to work, there might be some traffic. You go to the supermarket, there might be line. You go to the movies, there might be someone sitting next to you.
      It’s kind of something as a functional adult you have to adjust to. It’s more anti-social to expect society to bend to your whims than someone riding a bike on the road. (I’m not a cyclist by the way, just not self-invloved)

      Commenter
      AwkwardBeans
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 9:41AM
    • I couldn't agree with you more, Mandelbrot, cyclists are a very self-centred element of society, particularly in Canberra where the government seems quiite scared if them. In my view, bicycles should be banned from all main roads and a speed limit of 5kph imposed AND ENFORCED on bike paths where they are shared with pedestrians.

      Commenter
      Lucy
      Location
      Griffith
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 9:47AM
  • I agree with Mr Gill, and it has gotten out of hand.

    If you did not know better you would believe that no Canberran walked anywhere, and we all rode bikes. Try walking here and in most cases you are abused by cyclists for getting in their way, and this includes footpaths as there is no law in the ACT against rising bikes on the footpaths anywhere.

    I don't know if the photo is posed, but this is a common scene all over Canberra.

    The Canberra bike lobby is very vocal and has a lot of pull with our Pollies.

    Commenter
    Tc
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 8:41AM
    • Here, here. Love the infrastructure - hate the way it is not used but more is always being built.

      Commenter
      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 9:29AM
  • Of course, we mustn't be delayed, annoyed or offended by our fellow citizens, must we? We must have everything entirely our own way. Tolerance and a willingness to share community facilities are fundamental to the wellbeing and cohesion of any community, but seem to be entirely absent from your way of thinking.

    Commenter
    Canberran
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 9:13AM

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