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$2m for programs to keep children on move

By Michael Reid - 19 May 2016 14

children on move

The ACT government has announced it will expand programs to encourage children to walk or ride to school.

Ahead of Walk Safely to School Day on Friday, the transport and municipal services minister Meegan Fitzharris said $2 million would be invested over four years to help get children moving and encourage more active travel within our suburbs.

The Active Streets for Schools program will be expanded over the next two years, and the Ride or Walk to School program continue to be rolled out.

As part of the measures, a government transport coordinator will be appointed  to liaise with schools on all transport matters, and the Active Travel Office resourced within the new Transport Canberra agency.

“We need to make riding and walking to school the norm in Canberra again,” Fitzharris said.

Easier and safer

“We will invest $1 million in the Active Streets for Schools program to make it easier and safer for children to ride or walk to school.

“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.”

Fitzharris said the program was working well in Macquarie, Macgregor, Latham and Mount Rogers primary schools. The $1 million investment would be spent on making footpaths and bike paths safer and signage.

She said the schools transport coordinator would provide an efficient government point of contact for school principals, parents and local residents, and help to implement the Active Streets for Schools and the Ride and Walk to School programs, the latter under the Healthy Weight Initiative.

Travel options

“This is a great program currently delivered by the Physical Activity Foundation. An investment of $125,000 will enable us to expand it to an additional 56 schools, bringing a total of 108 schools on board. The program makes bikes available to schools for students to use, offers basic bike maintenance lessons, and helps teach children some basic road rules and how to stay safe on the way to and from school.”

The Active Travel Office will be provided with a dedicated officer to sit within the new Transport Canberra agency to ensure active travel options are integrated with buses and light rail.

“We want to make Canberra Australia’s cycling capital and most walkable city,” Fitzharris said, adding the dedicated position within Transport Canberra was key to making this happen.

The schools that will be targeted for the Active Streets for Schools program include:
Ainslie School, Amaroo School and Good Shepherd Catholic Primary School, Aranda Primary School and St Vincent’s Primary School, Calwell Primary School, Caroline Chisholm Primary School, Chapman Primary School, Charnwood Dunlop School, Curtin Primary School and Holy Trinity Primary School, Evatt Primary School, Garran Primary School, Harrison School and Mother Teresa Catholic Primary School, Hughes Primary School, Lyneham Primary School and Brindabella Christian College Junior School, Maribyrnong Primary School, Melrose High School and Sacred Heart Primary School, Palmerston District Primary School, Richardson Primary School, Telopea Park School, and Wanniassa School.

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
$2m for programs to keep children on move
churl 11:26 am 25 May 16

I walked some small children in a Canberra suburb last week, and I’m not convinced it is just a money issue. A lot of Tuggeranong and Belconnen have footpaths immediately along the roadside. These seem to have become carparks rather than footpaths, so that you have to walk on the road or battle through gardens. I assume that parking on the footpath is illegal, but it doesn’t seem to be policed. Perhaps enforcing rules is less of an election-bite than announcing a program?

rommeldog56 11:53 pm 24 May 16

Mysteryman said :

Or perhaps they could make the train pedal-powered…if you want to ride you have to help propel it.

Now there’s a great idea ! But forget pedals, tram passengers could use their feet to get the tram moving. Could go right back to the Flintstone’s days for powering the “green” Tram !

bj_ACT 10:08 pm 24 May 16

Mordd said :

Surely one of the most effective ways to get kids and people moving is to pay the insurance for sporting clubs. It reduces the cost of participation massively.

They could also return the bicycle safety course the AFP used to run in the school holidays for primary school aged children. That was good program.

great call! I just paid $360 for my student sons soccer season. I wonder what proportion of this fee is insurances and Government ground hire.

No_Nose 12:14 pm 24 May 16

JC said :

They could always scrap the tram and buy a $1 000 push bike for every man, woman, gender neutral / unassigned and child in the ACT. The remaining half a billion could then be spent on dedicated bike paths to get cyclists off the roads.

You know it makes sense.

Or perhaps they could make the train pedal-powered…if you want to ride you have to help propel it.

pink little birdie 11:37 am 24 May 16

Surely one of the most effective ways to get kids and people moving is to pay the insurance for sporting clubs. It reduces the cost of participation massively.

They could also return the bicycle safety course the AFP used to run in the school holidays for primary school aged children. That was good program.

neanderthalsis 8:49 am 24 May 16

devils_advocate said :

JC said :

They could always scrap the tram and buy a $1 000 push bike for every man, woman, gender neutral / unassigned and child in the ACT. The remaining half a billion could then be spent on dedicated bike paths to get cyclists off the roads.

You know it makes sense.

They could have bought them with what they spent on the Majura Parkway but for some reason that doesn’t make sense you didn’t suggest that.

Indeed they could have. The big difference is that the Majura parkway is a major infrastructure development linking two key transport corridors that will have a major impact on a great many people traveling from one side of the ACT to the other (and beyond). The tram, however, is in my opinion about winning greens voters back to Labor in the inner north and neglecting the rest of the ACT.

gooterz 10:14 pm 20 May 16

chewy14 said :

They closed 3 primary schools in kambah and now gave Kambah primary the longest on average trip to their local school in all of Canberra. Surely if there was an area deserving support in this initiative it’s the bottom of NAPLAN Kambah kids.

They closed 4 primary schools and reopened one. The NAPLAN fell though the floor and yet we still build ‘super schools’.

However no one cares about south Canberra because no one lives there. That’s why the schools closed

rubaiyat 6:18 pm 20 May 16

JC said :

They could always scrap the tram and buy a $1 000 push bike for every man, woman, gender neutral / unassigned and child in the ACT. The remaining half a billion could then be spent on dedicated bike paths to get cyclists off the roads.

You know it makes sense.

They could have bought them with what they spent on the Majura Parkway but for some reason that doesn’t make sense you didn’t suggest that.

neanderthalsis 1:28 pm 20 May 16

They could always scrap the tram and buy a $1 000 push bike for every man, woman, gender neutral / unassigned and child in the ACT. The remaining half a billion could then be spent on dedicated bike paths to get cyclists off the roads.

You know it makes sense.

bj_ACT 10:40 am 20 May 16

They closed 3 primary schools in kambah and now gave Kambah primary the longest on average trip to their local school in all of Canberra. Surely if there was an area deserving support in this initiative it’s the bottom of NAPLAN Kambah kids.

switch 9:33 am 20 May 16

bikhet said :

Common sense dictates that if somebody is parked on one side of the road, you do not park directly opposite and narrow the street to a single lane, especially when there are kids and cars everywhere.

Common sense? With parents dropping off/picking up kids at school?? Nice one, centurion.

wildturkeycanoe 6:32 am 20 May 16

I do not know what is making this scheme “work well” in Macgregor. I haven’t seen any changes to the patterns of people walking or riding to school after spending all that money spray painting blue and white signs on various footpaths. Even the stickers and pamphlets they gave out at school haven’t increased pedestrian numbers. In fact, I’d say the cooler weather has brought about a decline in footpath traffic if anything.
One possible reason for the lack of patronage on foot and bicycles is the lack of a pedestrian crossing on Osburn drive. Every time we walk to school in the mornings, we get stuck half way across at the roundabout of Osburn and Eccles. Usually we have to wait for between ten and twenty something vehicles coming from the south and west, whilst pedestrian traffic builds up on the kerb behind us. This road is quite busy in the afternoons too, with all the parents exiting Clode and Hirschfeld Crescents and making their way through the same roundabout.
I am also appalled that nobody has addressed the parking outside the school, with parents using both sides of the street out the front of the main office, turning the road into a single lane traffic jam. Common sense dictates that if somebody is parked on one side of the road, you do not park directly opposite and narrow the street to a single lane, especially when there are kids and cars everywhere. Also, the road rules stipulate “If the road does not have a continuous dividing line or dividing strip, you must position the vehicle so there is at least 3 metres of road alongside the vehicle that is clear for other vehicles to pass, unless information on a parking control sign indicates otherwise.” I have seen Police with radar totally ignore this rule and allow it to happen, not to mention that you wouldn’t be able to do more than 40 in that street anyway due to the congestion.
All the while, a newly constructed parking lot only meters away has plenty of vacant spaces on any given day, but walking that few extra meters is simply too much for these lazy parents.
If the government was serious about safety for children, they would also put in a pedestrian crossing to allow safer access for all the kids living in West Macgregor. My previous requests to TAMS for this have fallen on deaf ears, but hey, if we want more kids to walk and spending hundreds of thousands on advertising is more important than ensuring they get there safely, who am I to say what is the best solution? I am just a dumb parent who doesn’t know what the politicians can see from behind their desks in their climate controlled office.

gooterz 8:09 pm 19 May 16

So the transport group are going to duplicate parts of the education department?
When will this government stop haemorrhaging my money!

Queanbeyanite 6:32 pm 19 May 16

So the local council are going to borrow another half million a year to buy free bikes for the the wealthiest people in the country? I had no idea the residents of Upper Aranda were so hard up.

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