Hobart mayors pitch bike network for election

Greater Hobart council mayors have called on parties and candidates contesting the federal election to commit to $18 million in funding for an Active Transport Network for the region.

The mayors have released a wishlist for the election, which includes a cycling network that would have an All Ages and Abilities (AAA) rating so could also be used by people on scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

The network plan has been put together using current council and state government cycling strategies.

The determination that the network be rated AAA is a first for Tasmania and recognises that people wanting to ride for transport are not all lycra-clad, super fit, confident cyclists.

A AAA network should cater to children riding to school and after-school activities, less confident riders heading to work or shops, people on mobility devices like e-scooters, and cargo and trike bicycles.

The network would be made up of three types of bike infrastructure:

Local Street bikeway – Streets with 30 km/h speed limits and fewer than 500 vehicle movements per day.

Protected bike lane – Provides physical barrier separation from motor vehicles on higher speed and higher traffic volume roads, as well as separation from pedestrians in locations where foot traffic is high. The facility should provide adequate width for comfortable passing and accommodate all types of wheeled active transportation such as e-scooters and cargo bikes.

Off-road cycleway – This is shared with pedestrians and needs to be a minimum of 3 metres width. Road crossings need careful consideration and grades should be minimised as much as possible.

Some of the listed routes are already funded and being designed, including new Tasman Bridge paths, separated lanes on Campbell, Bathurst and Campbell streets, and widening and sealing of the northern end of the Whitewater Creek Track.

The first projects that $18 million in funding could help build include: a shared path along the Tasman Highway from Mornington to the Tasman Bridge, a path linking Lutana to Glenorchy, extension of the Intercity Cycleway to Austins Ferry, and further extension of the Whitewater Creek Track.

The call for federal funding was made on behalf of the Greater Hobart mayors.

The mayors are also part of the Greater Hobart Committee that was formed by Greater Hobart Act 2019. The committee has released a vision for greater Hobart and is working on a metropolitan plan that will incorporate the cycling network and other transport plans and is due for adoption this year.