Bicycle Network: Funding & Budgets
Healthy New Suburbs in Urban Growth Zones
Our new suburbs can be healthy, vibrant places planned and built so everyone can ride and walk. But currently very few people ride their bikes in our outer suburbs and we run the risk building suburbs where children do not ride or walk to school.
Planning for health
20 Feb 2013. On 13th March Bicycle Network Victoria, the Heart Foundation and Victoria Walks will be presenting the Cycling and Healthy Suburbs training course as part of the 2013 PLANET professional development program.
The course, developed for planning professionals, will help ensure well-planned and developed neighbourhoods where walking and cycling are attractive and popular.
We will be introducing the Planning Checklist for Cycling and how to use it for assessing development proposals.
The course is endorsed by the Planning Institute of Australia and participants are eligible for professional development points.
Working with planners we hope to avoid the mistakes of the past where active transport infrastructure was forfeited to make room for motor vehicles and streets became dominated by windscreens and not faces.
Well planned and designed places can reverse that pattern and make public spaces for healthy, active and interacting people. Register here, spaces are limited.
50,000 jobs you can ride to
05 February 2013.The major new employment precinct being established near Werribee is being planned so that every worker can arrive by bike.
The East Werribee Employment Precinct, to be built on the site of the former agricultural research farm, will be laid out to provide local jobs close to existing housing, a network of fully separated bike paths, and a new train station.
The result should be a world class precinct which incorporates healthy and sustainable lifestyles to match the Danes.
Cycling will be part of a healthy, vibrant and thriving new precinct in Melbourne's west if new plans go ahead. The Structure Plan for the East Werribee Employment Precinct, which is expected create up to 50,000 local jobs and host 7,000 new homes prescribes a network of cycle routes that would allow everyone to ride.
This includes "Copenhagen style" bike paths which separate bike riders from motor vehicles on busier roads. The new precinct would allow new jobs to be created closer to where people live in the west thus reducing travel distances and making cycling and walking a more viable transport choice.
Our submission highlights the potential of the precinct to be a world class suburb. Easy access by bike, foot and public transport will make a successful and sustainable new community and support existing development.
There are, however some shortcomings including the lack of adequate crossings of the Princes Hwy and Maltby Bypass. There also needs to be more consideration of direct connections to existing and future railway stations and better provision for cycling in main streets and for children riding to school.
Bike infrastructure a 'golden goose' for new suburbs
12 December 2012. A recently released Federal Government discussion paper on active transport confirms that bike infrastructure contributes to public health benefits to communities now and into the future.
The Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport—Draft report for discussion states:
"A typical cost–benefit analysis for an active transport project shows that public health accounts for most of the economic benefits, even after adjusting for injury costs. ... . The net health benefit (adjusted for injury) for each kilometre cycled is 75 cents – about half of the total economic benefits of a typical bikeway project. "
Combined with walking, the total health benefit for a active travel infrastructure is estimated at $1.68 per km. This does not include the benefits from decongestion, vehicle operating costs; infrastructure savings and environment. So if 1000 people bike riders use a path each day (up to 3000 a day use paths in the inner suburbs) it would generate $15M per km over 30 years (or $1.43/km cycled).
The paper goes on to say that providing walking and cycling infrastructure at initial stages "can be significantly cheaper than retrofitting at a later stage." and "Incorporating exercise into travel has been identified as a highly effective means to increase daily physical activity, which can help individuals maintain health."
The message is clear: the benefits of cycling, walking and public transport infrastructure are overwhelming, especially in terms of health costs. And it makes sense to build them into the new suburbs and other major projects at the initial stages rather than retrofitting later at more expense.
The Planning Checklist for Cycling has been developed to make this easier and more systematic.
Healthy suburbs are ones where people walk and rider regularly. The same suburbs are are also more economically viable as less money is wasted on health, vehicle costs and congestion and more money and resources remain within the community.
East Werribee development goes Danish
27 November 2012. Plans for the "new CBD of the west" - the East Werribee Employment Precinct - include provision of "Copenhagen" style bike paths along busier roads.
This includes paths along Sneydes Boulevard - "the St Kilda Rd of the west". Unlike St Kilda Rd though, there will be fully separated 1.7-2.0m wide lanes instead of the 1.5m wide on-road lanes (see pic below).
The new precinct will also benefit from new connections to Point Cook and into Hoppers Crossing and Werribee. We've yet to do a full Planning Checklist for Cycling assessment but an initial look shows that Growth Areas Authority (GAA) and Wyndham Council are taking seriously the importance of cycling and its contribution to liveability.
The proposed Sneydes Rd section - a new "St Kilda Rd" for the west - showing "Copenhagen" style bike paths.
Planning checklist now online
15 October 2012. The Planning Checklist for Cycling and associated Practice Note are now available online. See the Planning Checklist webpage for more details.
The documents will be presented at this year's Bike Futures Conference and we'll be working with outer urban councils, developers, planners and the State Govt to ensure the Checklist is used to develop healthy new suburbs where bike riding is part of everyday life.
Submission to planning reforms
18 September 2012. Reform of Planning Zones - the reform of planning zones in Victoria is an opportunity to improve provision for cycling in residential zones. Our submission calls for detailed plans showing cycling routes to be shown for all subdivisions greater than 25 lots rather than the current 60 lots. This would help reduce the gaps in the cycling network that currently sometimes see in new subdivisions.
Latest suburb plans show promise
22 August 2012. The draft Precinct Structure Plans for Greenvale Central and Blackforest Road South show welcome improvements to the standard of planned cycling provision.
Both show more cycle paths separated from traffic on busy roads. The Blackforest Road South PSP in particular, which covers Lend Lease's Harpley development, proposes separated cycle paths along all connector roads which would provide places for children and family groups to ride to school, the shops and community facilities.
We continue to have concerns about crossings of barriers including railways and major roads and the amount of roundabouts which are a deterrent to cycling and walking. Also, the more detailed plans do not adequately show road crossings and path alignments that must be incorporated into construction plans if the cycle routes are to be built properly. Our submission to the Growths Areas Authority using the Planning Checklist for Cycling are here: Greenvale Central PSP Blackforest Road South PSP.
New suburb plans show poor transport options for bikes
11 July 2012. The government has gazetted the Precinct Structure Plans for the planned new suburbs of Diggers Rest, Lockerbie, Lockerbie North, Merrifield West, Manor Lakes, and Rockbank North.
Unfortunately apart from Lockerbie North, the PSPs only adopted minor or no improvements to the cycling infrastructure. See the new cycling plans for these PSPs here with review markings relating to our submissions to the draft PSPs (at right).
Many connections to surrounding areas, which required a crossing of a freeway or railway, were omitted. Also, connector streets and arterial roads will continue to be built with on-road lanes which do not suit the vast majority of potential bike riders. This means that most people will be denied use of their bicycle for trips to local destinations including schools and local shops.
Government releases report into Environmental Design and Health
May 2012. The Victoria Govt. Environment and Planning Reference Committee has release its Report on the Inquiry into Environmental Design and Public Health.
The Inquiry examines the importance of considering health in the design of communities including creating environments that promote physical exercise and improve access to open public spaces. Bicycle Network Victoria made a submission to the Inquiry which stressed the importance of planning and delivering new suburbs with cycling infrastructure that allows everyone to ride.
We welcome the Inquiry's recommendations to improve the governments focus on better cycling infrastructure "with particular focus ... in Melbourne's outer suburbs and Victoria's regional cities" and "examining lowering speed limits to 30 km/h in school, residential and “other appropriate areas”.
The report said car dependency was not always linked to long distances caused by urban expansion. Of all trips taken by Victorians across all transport modes, 55 percent are less than five kilometres and 74 percent are less than ten kilometres.
“Walking or cycling could replace many such short trips taken by car and provide much‐needed physical activity. However, encouraging people to leave the car at home and walk or cycle is dependent on providing the necessary walking and cycling paths and networks,” the report said.
Testing Time for checklist
April 2012. Councils, developers and planners are asked to test the latest draft of the Planning Checklist for Cycling (with accompanying Practice Note) on current and past projects and provide feedback using the online survey tool.
We need the input of planners and developers to make sure the Checklist is a useful and effective tool to ensure bike riding in new suburbs. Test assessments completed by 31st May 2012 go into the draw for a ticket to the 2012 Bike Futures Conference in October in Melbourne where we plan to present the final version of the Checklist to delegates. See bottom of page for terms and conditions.
December 2011 - The Checklist has been used to assess the draft Growth Corridor Plans and Precinct Structure Plans prepared by the Growth Areas Authority in November/December 2011. These plans will guide development of new suburbs for the next generation - its critical we get the planning and design correct so that people, especially children, have a choice about how they get to school and other destinations.
The assessments of the Precinct Structure Plans shows:
- Poor access to schools, community centres and local town centres due to inappropriate provision for bikes on connector streets where most of these are located. The current default design for connector streets only provides painted on-road bike lanes next to motor vehicles. This is old thinking: on-road bike lanes on busy roads suit mostly confident adult riders but the majority of people, including children and family groups, need paths separated from busy traffic if they are going to ride along these roads.
- Potential conflict with buses. On-road bike lanes are proposed for many streets designated as bus routes. This brings bike and buses into potential conflict, especially with buses loading and unloading passengers. Off-road bike paths are more appropriate as bicycles can run behind stops and high frequency bus services will not be hindered in their operation. Many designated bus routes are on collector streets (see above) which strengthens the case for off road paths on these streets.
- Generally good connectivity to open space and parks through off-road path along creeks and other green corridors.
- Poor access and connections into local town centres due to reliance on advisory lane markings on main streets where bikes would have to share traffic lanes with cars, buses and other vehicles.
- Lack of crossing points of major barriers such as freeways and railways which means some areas are isolated from adjoining areas.
The assessment of the Growth Corridor Plans shows:
- Bikes are not well incorporated into the transport system - bike routes are only shown in open space concept plans but not in the transport plans
- Bikes are excluded from some freight and on-road public transport routes which will deny bicycles access to many workplaces.
- Access to trains is poor in many areas due to missing paths along railway corridors. This also leads to lack of connectivity into some town centres.
June 2011 - The project has developed a draft Planning Checklist for Cycling which attempts to distil the current research and planning laws and guidelines for cycling into a series of step-by-step checklist items for planning and developing new suburbs. The Checklist aims to clarify the requirements for cycling in the complex planning process and give objective and achievable assessment criteria. At each level the checklist focuses on the three key areas which determine accessibility for people on bikes:
- Connections – can people ride to their destination and to the surrounding areas?
- Permeability (both Directness and Choice of route) – are people able to easily get to their destination? Do they have a choice of route?
- Quality/Appropriateness - does the design of the cycle routes suit the potential riders and their purpose?
The checklist is designed to be used sequentially, in three stages, from GAFP level to PSP Level to Planning Permit level. The outcomes of subsequent more detailed and smaller scale levels rely upon the preceding levels. For instance, local cycle and walking connections to local activity centres rely upon a wider regional cycle and walking network. The PSP and Planning Permit level checklists can be used separately but recognize that much depends on the preceding level.
The checklist facilitates a quick and clear assessment of whether the proposed development meets the critical requirements for cycling. If the development meets all the checklist item requirements then cycling will be an attractive travel choice for destinations within cycling distance. See checklist summary at rear of document for summary sheets.
Healthy New Suburbs in Urban Growth Zones is a three year project funded by VicHealth to trial how to increase cycling in developing outer suburban areas.
The project aims to understand and communicate the key factors which ensure walking and cycling facilities and practices are embedded into the planning, delivery and usage of new suburbs. It aims to leave a best practice legacy for the development of healthy new suburbs in the hands of the key players; developers, councils and community.
Successful "interventions" will require a focus on people, places and purpose - which people to target, which trips to which places and for what purpose. An initial review of transport data for Whittlesea and other outer Melbourne suburbs will inform which "interventions" to trial. An introductory presentation (3.7Mb) on the project shows some of the development trends and travel data relevant to the project. Our presentation to Whittlesea Council on how to integrate the Planning Checklist into planning practice gives some examples from existing PSPs and permit applications. See also the links at right.
Planning Checklist for Cycling
The Planning Checklist for Cycling and Practice Note can be used to help build healthy new suburbs where everyone can ride their bikes as part of their everyday life.
Planning Checklist for Cycling trial
Help us test the Planning Checklist for Cycling online for your chance to win a ticket to the 2012 Bike Futures Conference.