Waratah Wynyard Council has released a draft settlement plan for the area which identifies the need for better paths and parking for bike riding.
The strategy aims to improve the “liveability” of Wynyard, Waratah, Somerset, Boat Harbour Beach, Sisters Beach and Yolla by directing future planning and funding decisions for the towns.
The focus on improving the bikeability of the towns is a response to the challenges of climate change and very high car dependency and the problems that causes for parking availability, traffic congestion and reliance on fossil fuels.
It also acknowledges that it is more sustainable to consolidate and improve the towns rather than expand them further and that providing active transport opportunities is good for the community’s health outcomes.
“ … we are as a community less physically active and more car dependent than is good for us. This strategy seeks to change our surroundings so we are more likely to feel the healthier option is not only possible, it is preferable. This means not making it more difficult to drive but instead make it easier to walk or cycle for example.”
The options put forward that would improve the environment for bike riding include:
Low traffic accessways in new small development pockets
Instead of standard roads with narrow footpaths that have been the norm in residential developments in the past, advocate for roads that slow traffic and provide wider pathways for cycling and walking in residential development pockets of 20 homes or fewer. This would put more emphasis on walking and cycling as transport options, rather than prioritizing car access, and would need to link in to existing or planned paths.
Create high quality routes for walking and cycling that are partly on dedicated shared paths and partly on traffic-calmed roads for people to access key facilities in Wynyard and Somerset from the north-west coastal trail.
Park and Pedal
Establish locations at Doctors Rocks and Somerset for people to park their car for free and ride along the coastal trail to get to Wynyard and Burnie. This proposal is centred on under-utilised existing car parking areas that are within riding distances to towns: Doctors Rocks is 6.1 km from Wynyard and Somerset is 8.2 km from Burnie. Promotional signage and campaigns would be needed to alert people to the opportunity to save money on petrol and parking and get some exercise into their day. The concept is based on an existing ACT program which found these kinds of distances are long enough to be worth the effort but not so long as to be a deterrent.
Installation of secure, undercover bicycle parking structures in Wynyard and Somerset. This recommendation is in recognition of the rise in e-bike ownership and desire for an extra layer of security to deter theft of the bikes, whether it’s a locker, cage or CCTV coverage. The structure could also have charging points for e-bikes.
Active transport promotion
Providing support for events and programs that address the barriers to riding and encourage people to ride more often. Cites Bicycle Network’s recent Healthy Tasmania grant submission to provide small group rides to get more people back in the saddle and improve their confidence through better bike handling and road awareness.
More Bass Highway pedestrian crossings at Somerset
This was recommended in the state government’s corridor study for the area and would make it easier for people to get from the coastal pathway into town.
Wynyard pedestrian crossings over Bass Highway at Deep Creek and Oldina roads
Crossings would make it easier for people living to the west of Bass Highway cycle and walk to get into town.