The Tasmanian Government has lodged a development application for its new housing estate in Huntingfield, south of Kingston, with a 3 metre wide shared path featured throughout the site.
Bicycle Network lodged a submission during the master planning process for the site, reinforcing the importance of providing separated cycling facilities for people of all ages to use.
The development application includes the 3 metre wide path, as well as creating entry and exit points that join it to existing paths in the area and a potential Margate to Huntingfield path alignment along Coffee Creek.
The concrete path has been designed to minimise road crossings, and when it does meet a road the path will be raised above road level to signify priority for people walking and riding. This is known as a wombat crossing or raised platform crossing and will also slow vehicles on the road.
Our suggestion of having a wider path to better accommodate people walking and riding and children playing has not been included in the development application.
The inclusion of a dedicated cycling path within the development that is well away from the road and wombat crossings on side roads are features that should be supported.
Like many other developments, this one is missing the infrastructure around it that would make riding a viable transport option for people of all ages and abilities.
Entry and exit points to the central shared path are included but at the moment they join short sections of gravel and sealed paths which don’t connect to places most people want to travel to, like schools, shops, recreational sites and workplaces.
As this is a government development there has always been the potential for the government to commit to funding to building the paths and cycleways that would connect the estate to where people want to go.
The Kingston shopping centre and Blackmans Bay local shops are both about 3–4 kilometres from the proposed development, and both have primary schools in the town centres. This 3–4 km distance is perfect for riding for transport as it transforms a 45-minute walk to a 10–15-minute bike ride.
The government has announced it will fund a feasibility study into a shared path between Huntingfield and Margate which is a good start, but paths/cycleways are also needed along Algona Road to Blackmans Bay and on the Channel Highway through to the Kingston town centre. A grade-separated crossing across Channel Highway is also missing to help people ride to the sports facilities and high school.
Kingborough Council is working on a new bike plan that will set out the desired future routes for cycleways and shared paths. The planning scheme doesn’t allow the council to require developers to contribute to the costs for connecting infrastructure, which is something that is sorely needed for this estate.