A requirement that new developments provide end-of-trip facilities for cyclists and other active travel users is finally closer to being adopted, four years after being proposed.
The ACT Government has reissued Draft Variation 357, which proposes to replace the Bicycle Parking General Code in the Territory Plan with a new Trip Facilities General Code, for community feedback.
Its purpose is to encourage active travel and public health by requiring developers to provide facilities such as bicycle parking, showers, change rooms, lockers, and drying areas for cyclists, runners, and walkers.
The code will apply to all new developments, major alterations or extensions to existing buildings and/or changes of use that require a development application but not single residences or public land.
Pedal Power ACT CEO Ian Ross said it was pleasing to see the proposal re-emerge after it was first issued in 2017 only to disappear into the planning system for workshops and more review.
Mr Ross said at first glance the revised DV357 seemed adequate but Pedal Power would take a closer look at the proposal to ensure it would achieve what it sets out to do.
He did not know why it had taken so long to resurface, calling the last four years a missed opportunity for the ACT.
“Think about how many apartment buildings have gone up in the ACT that have not been guided by this code,” he said.
Mr Ross said bike facilities were critical to getting people to ride to work.
They also increased the value of properties and were beneficial for neighbouring businesses, something some developers have realised.
Mr Ross said that as Canberra faced transport disruptions due to light rail construction the government should be doing everything it could to support people who want to ride to work.
“The more we require businesses and developers to do this the better it is for the long-term future of cycling in the ACT,” he said.
DV357 sprang from a review of the Bicycle Parking General Code prompted by the 2015 Statement of Planning Intent which prioritised support for active travel including end-of-trip facilities.
But a number of issues were raised in the initial consultation including the formula for calculating the amount of facilities that should be provided, what type of development would trigger application of the code, a call for more flexibility in the location of facilities and concerns about mandatory rules.
The proposed provision rates for end-of-trip facilities were generally considered too high, especially for city and town centres.
Changes to the previous proposal address these issues including using the term net lettable area rather than gross floor area, which included areas in a building not occupied by people, to assess the quantity of facilities required.
The revised proposal also allows more flexibility and a simplified calculation using a uniform provision rate rather than three geographically based rates.
People can comment on the proposal until Friday 17 September 2021.