Hobart City Deal a fizzer for walking and cycling

After a long wait, Hobart's City Deal was finally signed by all levels of government last week but there was no new money for cycling or walking. 

The City Deal included a traffic congestion component but most of the money provided had already been promised by the state and federal government.

There was only $25 million in new federal money and that has been earmarked for the transport corridor that could potentially carry light rail or some other public transport mode. Six years ago an ACL Tasman consultants report estimated it would cost $84-93 million to establish light rail in the corridor. 

While there is a section in the deal on improving cycling and pedestrian links, most of the money outlined comes from the ordinary council budgets. There is no detail of exactly what the money will be spent on and there is no commitment at all from Kingborough Council. 

It also outlines the $2 million in matched funding promised by the state government at the 2018 election to be spent over four years overs the four council areas. While this money is welcomed, the reality is it won't go very far to build good quality All Ages and Abilities cycleways. 

If the governments were serious about addressing traffic congestion a significant investment in a separated cycleways network leading into the city centre should have been part of the deal. 

Separated cycleways are being planned for and rolled out in other cities around Australia to help reduce traffic congestion and the same should go for Hobart. 

In Victoria the RACV has come out with a plan for ten cycle highways to transport people in and out of the city and is urging the state government to adopt it.

In NSW, the state Labor opposition has issued an election promise of $412 million on cycling and walking infrastructure over four years. The greater Sydney councils have lodged a plan with Infrastructure Australia for a 284 km separated cycling network that aims to shift short car trips to walking and riding. 

Investing in a separated cycleways network in Hobart and improving the Tasman Bridge for cycling and walking would go a long way to giving people transport options other than driving.

Click here to read more about the Hobart City Deal