This month’s release of NSW’s first Active Transport Strategy will “set an unprecedented target and steps to double walking and cycling trips” over the next 20 years, according to the Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes.
“Our plans for strategic cycleway corridors across Greater Sydney are just as city shaping as the major public transport and road initiatives underway.”
“NSW is the nation’s leading jurisdiction for walking and cycling investment. But with two million car trips of less than two kilometres in Sydney every day, there’s clearly much more to do,” he said.
“That’s why this strategy sets out ambitious, long-term targets for more active transport infrastructure, to double the estimated 1.1 billion active transport trips and reduce pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths.
“The evidence is clear – if we are able to walk and cycle more often as part of our daily lives, it means more money spent in town centres and high streets and less money spent on transport costs or treating non-communicable disease.
“Our plans for strategic cycleway corridors across Greater Sydney are just as city shaping as the major public transport and road initiatives underway. That’s why we’re asking the Commonwealth to invest in our plans to benefit millions of Sydneysiders.”
The Active Transport Strategy includes five key ambitions with 64 actions:
- Create walkable and connected 15-minute neighbourhoods across NSW to increase the percentage of short trips on foot and decrease those by car
- Deliver more than 1,000km of new cycleways and supporting infrastructure for continuous and connected cycling networks
- Double the number of children walking or riding to school in major centres across NSW
- Halve deaths and reduce serious injuries by 30% for pedestrians and cyclists
- Modernise active transport regulation by cutting unnecessary red tape and simplifying planning and design standards
“I was particularly pleased to see a strong focus on behaviour change”: Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean.
Bicycle NSW was involved in developing the Active Transport Strategy and says it is pleased to see the final document incorporated the advocacy organisation’s advice.
“The strategy outlines a strong direction forward to advance active transport in NSW and Bicycle NSW fully endorses it,” the organisation’s CEO, Peter McLean, said.
“I was particularly pleased to see a strong focus on behaviour change under section 5.4 of the strategy and Bicycle NSW is in discussion with the NSW Government to assist in delivering some of these school education programs.”
“We have a big job ahead of us in reshaping our built environment and neighbourhoods, and even the cultural biases of our community, to make active transport as much a day-to-day part of our lives.”
The Active Transport Strategy builds upon the Government’s Future Transport Strategy, which was released in September and set out key actions to connect communities and encourage more people to choose active transport, including:
- Delivering continuous and connected cycling networks
- Improving the safety and comfort of people walking and riding bikes by providing fit-for-purpose active transport infrastructure and appropriate road speeds
- Facilitating children’s and young people’s independent mobility by improving safe walking and bike riding options for travel to and from school
- Supporting multimodal journeys by integrating active and public transport
- Supporting emerging technology choices such as e-bikes and other micromobility devices
“We have a big job ahead of us in reshaping our built environment and neighbourhoods, and even the cultural biases of our community, to make active transport as much a day-to-day part of our lives as in so many other successful cities around the globe,” the Minister says in his introduction to the document.
“The release of our State’s first Active Transport Strategy is the beginning of that journey together. It collects this monumental task into five focus areas that will start to reorient our public life around walkable, liveable 15-minute neighbourhoods, build connected and continuous active transport infrastructure, enabling safer and slower streets and precincts, promoting walking and cycling and encouraging behaviour change, all while supporting our partners to accelerate that change.
“This Strategy provides our ambitions as the NSW Government for a future where road space and our transport networks are truly centred around active transport as the mode of choice.”
The strategy is complemented by a Cycleway Design Toolbox and other best practice tools, to help councils, community groups and industry design streets orbiting around active travel.
“For too long, roads and rail corridors have divided our cities and neighbourhoods, making them less safe, less attractive and less accessible. To provide for individual mobility and autonomy, now we must all work in partnership to ensure the citizens of NSW can be free to choose how they move in and around their own cities and towns,” according to the document.
It says the approaches to establish 15-minute communities in regional areas will be different to the solutions in major cities.
Transport initiatives to create 15-minute neighbourhoods in regional areas include:
- Improving town amenity where possible by moving car parking away from main streets to provide more space for walking and lingering, such as alfresco dining
- Ensuring footpaths are on both sides of streets within 400m of a local destination or main street, and within 800 metres of a strategic or city centre
- Exploring low-speed heavy vehicle bypasses of main streets and strategic or city centres
- Providing and upgrading safe cycle routes that establish or complete local networks
- Providing low-speed traffic environments to make walking and cycling safer
In metropolitan and other urban areas, priority will be given to:
- Rolling out low-speed zones supported by physical changes to the road environment
- Upgrading existing paths and streets for better walking and cycling experiences
- Planting trees along streets and paths to provide amenity and shade and reduce urban heat
- Reallocating vehicles lanes to other types of accessible public spaces, including footpaths where walking space needs to be prioritised
- Prioritising pedestrian movements at key destinations, including at traffic lights
- Using low-cost and temporary infrastructure to trial active transport initiatives
- Streamline planning processes to make it easier for government and councils to deliver walking, riding and place making initiatives.