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A footpath for every street

By Kramer 10 November 2009 24

The ABC reports that the Canberra Pedestrian Forum are up in arms about new draft plans for pedestrian and cycle routes proposed for the ACT. Leon Arundell from Canberra Pedestrian Forum says “Many of Canberra’s 64,000 school children and 10,000 bus commuters can’t even get to a bus stop without walking on the road”. So the CPF seems to be asking for a footpath on every road in Canberra?!? Maybe we need an underpass every time a footpath crosses a road too? This is just another example of user conflict and non-sharing attitudes on the roads which we have seen numerous times with cyclists. Motorised vehicles are required to give way to all pedestrian traffic, so do we really need footpaths on all suburban streets?


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A footpath for every street
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Ellen 11:56 am 13 Nov 09

There are no footpaths on my street. While trying to negotiate the uneven terrain, I have sprained my ankle on two separate occasions in the last ten years (once very badly)less than a block from my front door. I may be more prone to this type of injury than the average person since I have low muscle tone, but I benefit greatly from keeping active. Unfortunately it is harder for me to be active in my own street. But at least I am still fairly young and fit, unlike the older people who live around me.

I might add that I too have had children who’ve, like most kids, managed to get to school and back without major incident or injury. But of the nearly three and a half km they had to negotiate each day, our own street caused me the most worry.

I can certainly see the need for footpaths.

Holden Caulfield 11:57 am 12 Nov 09

Aeek said :

Everyone is obliged to avoid a collision if they can, it does not matter if the other party is in the wrong.

Yeah, but that opens up discussion to an unwritten rule that far too many people seem unaware of – common sense!

tidalik 7:24 am 12 Nov 09

I guess I was thinking only of suburban roads where there is no footpath and pedestrians do have right to walk on roads.

Agree with HC that as a blanket rule (if it is one) it would be impractical and dangerous in practice.

Aeek 9:48 pm 11 Nov 09

Everyone is obliged to avoid a collision if they can, it does not matter if the other party is in the wrong.

Holden Caulfield 8:38 pm 11 Nov 09

tidalik said :

Maybe this is the problem. How many people in Canberra are aware of this road law? Would roads be safer if this was respected?

If this is the case, and absolutely the case, then why bother with pedestrian crossings and little green/red men at traffic lights?

I’ve just had a quick read of the ACT Road Rules Handbook [http://www.tams.act.gov.au/move/driver_licence/Road_Rules_Handbook] and nowhere did I see any blanket rule that says “motorised vehicles are required to give way to all pedestrian traffic”, or similar.

For footpaths (and many other examples), yes, but not absolutely.

I read Kramer’s comment as being motorists must give way to pedestrians at all times. And re-reading his original comment I still come to that conclusion, even though he was earlier talking about the merits of footpaths. The comment was a bit misleading (or at least, I thought it was, haha).

I look forward to anyone finding the part in the handbook that says, for example, pedestrians can cross any road at any point of their choosing and the motorist is obliged to give way.

taco 5:20 pm 11 Nov 09

Why shouldn’t every street have a footpath – Queanbeyan did this years ago.

Not everyone can traverse grassed nature strips easily – people in wheelchairs, elderly, people with prams etc.

Bluenomi 10:40 am 11 Nov 09

Grail, I wasn’t a kid walking to school that long ago, most people had 2 cars and mobiles then. Plus my younger siblings still manage to walk to school without footpaths now, the ‘back in the old days it was different’ excuse doesn’t wash!

Pandy 8:01 am 11 Nov 09

At astrojax, if roads were not so narrow, maybe people would not have to park on nature strips. I have no problem with the wheel on one side of the verge park where there is only a spoon gutter. Allows the other road users easier access.

tidalik 7:26 am 11 Nov 09

Holden Caulfield said :

“Motorised vehicles are required to give way to all pedestrian traffic…”

Huh? Learn something new everyday I guess.

Maybe this is the problem. How many people in Canberra are aware of this road law? Would roads be safer if this was respected?

Aeek 10:22 pm 10 Nov 09

This is also very much about non sharing gardeners blocking the pedestrian access.
Fine, take pride in the verge but leave the required way through.

Holden Caulfield 9:00 pm 10 Nov 09

“Motorised vehicles are required to give way to all pedestrian traffic…”

Huh? Learn something new everyday I guess.

Horrid 5:35 pm 10 Nov 09

No point in building more footpaths until the govt takes seriously the need to stop cars parking on them.

astrojax 5:31 pm 10 Nov 09

be good if they also spent some money on resources to ping cars what park wily nilly on footpaths/nature strips already there to maybe encourage non-blocking of access for pedestrians, some of whom are none so nimble, as gnt notes. especially builders [re pinging for illegal parking, that is, not nimblelessness…]

Special G 5:24 pm 10 Nov 09

Vehicles parked on the verge is just an excuse for some parkour practice.

CapitalK 4:54 pm 10 Nov 09

GnT said :

As a frequent pedestrian walking with young children and pushing a pram, yes, I’d love a footpath on every street and an underpass under every major road.

Kramer, you might be able to get around easily and walk around parked cars and scoot through traffic, but bear a thought for those less confident and mobile such as children, the elderly, the physically disabled or vision impaired.

my thoughts exactly + 1

Grail 4:53 pm 10 Nov 09

S4anta said :

and here is was thinking that was what the nature strip, that people seem to have a problem tending to was for.

The problem arises when the nature strip is routinely populated by parked cars, or people have taken over the nature strip as extra garden space, thereby affording no access to pedestrian traffic.

Inappropriate said :

What good are new footpaths if the current ones aren’t being maintained?

I agree! The current round of “maintenance” for the concrete footpaths appears to be simply grinding the edges until the path is too thin to grind any more off it. As usual, if you see a problem make sure it’s reported to through their easy-to-remember Canberra Connect URL:

http://www.contact.act.gov.au/cgi-bin/canberraconnect.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=F6lSTI*h&p_accessibility=0&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD04OSZwX3Byb2RzPSZwX2NhdHM9JnBfcHY9JnBfY3Y9JnBfc2VhcmNoX3R5cGU9YW5zd2Vycy5zZWFyY2hfbmwmcF9wYWdlPTE*

The shorter version goes like this: Open the web page at https://www.contact.act.gov.au/ then click the “Submit a question or feedback” tab.

Bluenomi said :

I managed to get myself to and from the bus stop as a kid without footpaths and underpasses. All it takes is a bit of common sense when it comes to roads

That’s all well and good, I used to ride on the roads without a helmet! Roads are busier now though. When I was a kid, having two cars was a luxury for rich families. These days most families have two cars, and most of them have mobile phones to boot!

S4anta 3:40 pm 10 Nov 09

and here is was thinking that was what the nature strip, that people seem to have a problem tending to was for.

Bluenomi 3:29 pm 10 Nov 09

I managed to get myself to and from the bus stop as a kid without footpaths and underpasses. All it takes is a bit of common sense when it comes to roads

Fiona 2:47 pm 10 Nov 09

I don’t have footpaths (due to gardens to the edges), but it’s only a concern to me when there is a curved road, and I wonder if I’m going to be collected/collect someone if the car deosn’t go down the middle of teh road

GnT 2:20 pm 10 Nov 09

As a frequent pedestrian walking with young children and pushing a pram, yes, I’d love a footpath on every street and an underpass under every major road.

Kramer, you might be able to get around easily and walk around parked cars and scoot through traffic, but bear a thought for those less confident and mobile such as children, the elderly, the physically disabled or vision impaired.

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