ACT Budget: Pedal Power welcomes active travel

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The ACT government’s investment in active travel in the 2021-2022 budget will provide a better way forward for the Canberrans, according to the cycling organization Pedal Power.

CEO Ian Ross said this week’s budget was a step in the right direction for a more active Canberra, delivering $ 77 million in active travel plans over four years.

“Pedal Power has long called for a real investment in cycling infrastructure,” said Ross. “It makes economic sense, it makes community sense, it makes environmental sense. “

In last year’s election, the Greens pledged to allocate $ 20 million per year – a minimum of 20% of the road and parking improvement budget – to walking and cycling infrastructure.

“The investment announced by the government in the 2021-2022 budget is a stone’s throw from this goal,” said Ross.

Although 17,000 people used public transport during rush hour every day before the pandemic, Mr Ross expected Canberrans to be more reluctant to board a crowded bus or tram as restrictions COVID-19 relax and ACT adjusts to “COVID-normal”.

A real investment in active travel would allow the Canberrans to take a different path, Ross said.

“Safe, direct and connected cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will provide a choice for Canberrans who wish to avoid crowded public transport, but are averse to private cars which stop the roads and pollute our air. “

Many of the car trips the Canberrans make could be done by bicycle, with the right infrastructure.

“38% of ACT car trips are less than 10 km, 5% are less than 2.5 km. This is an achievable goal, especially with e-bikes.

For many years Pedal Power has campaigned for better trail maintenance, and the budget promises to achieve that to some extent.

“Our network of paths is collapsing,” said Mr. Ross. “Anyone who walks or cycles in Canberra knows that the majority of our paths are in poor condition.

“Increased funding for maintenance will help, although it will take more than an additional $ 1 million per year to fill the backlog due to years of neglect. “

New paths through the city were a welcome inclusion in the budget.

“Hitting while the iron is hot will allow us to translate Canberra’s recreational cycling boom into an active travel revolution,” said Ross.

“The Canberrans have shown they love their bikes. With investments in our trail system, we may start to see a shift from cars to bikes. “

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