Greater Hobart councils have banded together to ask the Tasmanian Government to fund a network of cycleways and better public transport in a joint submission update to this year’s budget process.
The joint submission update sent last week from Hobart, Glenorchy, Clarence and Kingborough councils calls on the government to provide funding and regulatory change to make it easier to ride and catch public transport in greater Hobart:
- Increase government spending on public transport services so Tasmania no longer has the lowest per capita expenditure in the nation, so we can encourage commuters back on to buses and we can achieve our aims of reducing congestion;
- Expand cycleway infrastructure to establish an integrated commuter cycleway network across Greater Hobart including trials of pop up cycling lanes, to encourage a switch to active transport;
- Establish a Public Transport Agency within State Government, to enable the development of coordinated and strategic active and public transport policy and provide support to Metro Tasmania and other contractors to increase the frequency, reliability, affordability and accessibility of buses; and
- Clarify responsibility, and increase funding, for bus shelters to help encourage people back into public transport and ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 by the deadline of 2022.
The councils say the Hobart City Deal and Greater Hobart Act 2019 are an “unprecedented opportunity” to work together with providers and the community to “establish a dynamic and sustainable public bus transport service and a network of integrated cycle ways”.
The submission welcomes the investment in transport to date through the City Deal but says “our success will be hampered without a strategic focus and additional specific investment in active and public transport in Tasmania”.
Pop-up cycleways in city centre
The submission points to the creation of pop-up cycleways around the world as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the local examples of trial and permanent cycleways in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
The pop-up lanes can help cities trial a bicycle network as well as encouraging a behaviour change switch to riding and walking.
Hobart Council has suggested using the third lane in Campbell Street as a pop-up cycleway until the formal cycleway trial proposed last year is built, and said it is keen to explore other potential sites for trial cycleways.
All the councils posed the idea of using highway corridors as potential cycleway routes, including the much overdue need to upgrade the Tasman Bridge to include a cycleway.
The specific request for the state government is a commitment to:
- fund the establishment of an integrated cycleway network
- fund trials of pop-up commuter bike paths across greater Hobart
- work with local government to plan a networked cycleway implementation strategy across greater Hobart.
The Tasmanian budget for 2020–21 is due to be delivered on Thursday 12 November, having been pushed back due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Image: Camille Gévaudan from Paris, France - Pistes cyclables temporaires Covid-19, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90215055