The Federal and Tasmanian governments today struck an agreement to speed up a 'City Deal' for Hobart which will see funding for new developments, including transport.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it will be a “big game changer” for the city and increase its liveability as a “blueprint for the greater Hobart City and its future."
Details of what might eventuate are not entirely clear, however. It has been reported that a transport strategy will be developed, but buses, light-rail and ferries were the only modes mentioned.
Billions of dollars are expected to be made available as part of the deal, which creates a huge opportunity to fix Hobart’s congestion with a modern and long-term plan. This must include bikes.
Bikes have the ability to move greater numbers of people more efficiently than buses and trams, and we all know the community and health benefits they deliver. Yet the City of Hobart has been lagging in bike policy for a long time – its bike plan is decades old and has goals set for 2012.
And in an election year, the state government also needs to lift its game – its bike spend per head is the lowest in Australia. Bicycle Network has some pointers to help them too, with more to come when it launches its Vote Bike campaign.
One of the first projects the government could commit to fixing with their new swag of money is Collins Street. The completion of this route would give a smooth ride from the Rivulet Track into the city create a clear path for commuters.
A network of bike routes in the city that eliminate the need to drive would also help bust congestion and future-proof the city.
Talking about the agreement today, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, Paul Fletcher, said that "as cities grow, it's very important that their transport systems keep up with, and indeed, facilitate that growth."
Let’s hope that bikes are written into the City’s plan and become a key part of its future transport system.