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Labor promises footpath, cycleway improvements

By Charlotte Harper - 28 September 2016 3

Tony Stubbs of the Heart Foundation joins Yvette Berry, Andrew Barr and Meegan Fitzharris of Labor

ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris has donned her activewear for a Labor announcement on footpaths and cycleways in Belconnen this morning.

Joining her at the event were Labor colleagues and the CEO of the Heart Foundation of the ACT, Tony Stubbs, who also made an appearance at the Greens’ $60 million active travel announcement yesterday.

Ms Fitzharris said a re-elected Labor government would focus its efforts on walking and cycling infrastructure on making it easier and safer for children to travel to school on foot or by bike, extending its age-friendly suburbs program and adding $2.7 million for general footpath upgrades to be spent according to requests from the public.

Labor would add another 50 schools to the Government’s Active Streets for Schools program to improve suburban streets and paths.

“Active Streets for Schools is all about making walking and cycling to school the norm in Canberra again,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“Not only will this get kids active, but it will give parents peace of mind that the route to school is safe and easy to follow. It is also a fun way to get to and from school and helps alleviate some of the traffic congestion created by parents dropping kids off at the school gate.”

The age-friendly suburbs program, already being rolled out in Ainslie, Weston, Kaleen and Monash, would bring improved footpaths, additional ramps and upgraded lighting to Page, Stirling, Isabella Plains and Narrabundah.

Canberrans would be asked to nominate a footpath that needs upgrading or a missing link they’d like to see filled in. That wishlist would form the priority target for the $2.7 million in general footpath upgrades.

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3 Responses to
Labor promises footpath, cycleway improvements
1
wildturkeycanoe 8:46 am
29 Sep 16
#

“Not only will this get kids active, but it will give parents peace of mind that the route to school is safe and easy to follow.”
This is not what the government is doing now though. I have tried to get a crossing of some description put across the busiest street in our suburb, so that when my children and myself walk or ride to school we can feel safer. Presently, we can be stuck on one tiny traffic island, waiting for up to twenty or so cars to go past from three adjoining streets that feed this tiny roundabout. There is nothing safe about it as they zoom past doing 60km/h only half a meter away, whilst other parents queue up behind us on the footpath, waiting for the island to to become free so that they too can cross. So with the three or four of us standing there with our pushies, front wheel hanging on the tar on one side and the rear wheel being very close to buses entering the roundabout, it feels like being in a segment of a gauntlet. Yet the blue paint on the path says “Active streets”, to encourage people to risk the dangers of crossing the busiest intersection at the busiest time of day.
My request for the government to enhance the safety of this particular road [through Fix-my-street] was shouted down by “data” that showed there wasn’t enough foot traffic to warrant a school crossing and that the existing traffic island was sufficient. Survey obviously done during winter when most people aren’t braving the cold. Their attempt at satisfying my request was simply to add a new sign to warn motorists that people are crossing. Really? Drivers will slow down because of a sign no bigger than a dinner plate but not because of the people on foot, bikes and scooters who are stranded on this tiny islet surrounded on all side by a black river of tar? How much better would it have been to simply paint some white lines across the road or reduce the speed limit?
Further to this, the street leading into the school is quite narrow. Parents who are dropping off or picking up their kids park on both sides of the street, At the kerb on one side and in people’s front yards opposite. This leaves only enough room for one vehicle to fit through, causing chaos for anybody trying to get through. On top of that, parents also park facing the wrong way, at various angles and also use the street-side door for their kids to exit the car, further blocking the traffic and endangering themselves and their children. My request submitted on 20th May this year to have some resolution to this madness has yet to be answered, even though I reminded them of it when they called about the crossing issue some weeks ago. The reason I mention this too, is that kids on bicycles could not safely use the road to get to school when traffic is so chaotic. The only footpath on one side of that street, is not only parked on by cars, but on Thursdays residents put their bins on the path which is located directly on the kerb. I hate to think of the issues for the rubbish truck to get these bins with cars parked willy-nilly all over the place. I bet the residents’ bins often don’t get collected either.
So if the road is too chaotic, the footpath is obscured by cars, bins and pedestrians, how are kids to ride their bikes to school, noting that this is the main entrance to the school and also where the bike cage is located?

“It is also a fun way to get to and from school and helps alleviate some of the traffic congestion created by parents dropping kids off at the school gate.”
The reason parents drop off their kids at the gate is often because they are going to work. If they have time, they will walk as many do, but the cars congesting the school entrance are from those who live too far away to walk or who have other reasons to drive, such as taking other children to different schools or mobility issues. There is nothing wrong with the footpaths in our area but there has been no change to the traffic madness that has plagued the front of the school for years.
Perhaps some signage and enforcement of “No Parking” zones in some areas would be of more benefit than concentrating on encouraging walking, but that is too sensible for our government who needs to spend money in the most inefficient and ineffective way possible.
Talking sense into this government is like hitting your head against a brick wall. It is painful and achieves absolutely nothing. The only consolation is that they promise to review it at a later date, if you can believe anything they say.

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2
switch 12:43 pm
29 Sep 16
#

tl;dr. Are you going for some sort of record with a comment longer than the original article?

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3
wildturkeycanoe 6:41 am
30 Sep 16
#

switch said :

tl;dr. Are you going for some sort of record with a comment longer than the original article?

Sorry, coffee buzz first thing in the morning makes me go a bit over the top.

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