The Tasmanian Government has started the process to distribute $2 million to greater Hobart councils to implement cycling projects.
The Better Active Travel in Greater Hobart Grant Program opened at the start of February and the Hobart, Glenorchy, Clarence and Kingborough Councils have two months to apply for matched funding for local cycling projects.
The councils have also got together with the government to agree on a Greater Hobart Cycling Plan, which will help guide how the grant funding is allocated.
The plan brings together all the cycling projects each council would like to build on one map to show the connections across council boundaries.
Cycling South is the organisation that the greater Hobart councils fund to help them coordinate their cycling efforts and it’s helping to prioritise projects based on how “shovel-ready” they are and likely impact on rider numbers and connectivity.
The first project given the green light is an underpass under Summerleas Road in Kingston for the Whitewater Creek Path.
When the underpass is built it will mean riders can travel from the Huon Highway up to the Bunnings intersection without crossing a road.
Hobart Cycling Plan
The new Greater Hobart Cycling Plan is distinguished from past plans by stipulating that the routes must be built to an All Ages and Abilities standard.
This means separated cycleways on busy roads or off-road paths. There may be some sections on road but this will only be where speeds are 30 km or less and fewer than 500 vehicles a day – similar to the short road section on the Intercity Cycleway which is used by rowers to access the sheds.
Councils will still be able to implement painted lanes but they won’t be part of the greater plan and won’t be eligible for the state government funding.
Infrastructure Tasmania gets active
The grant funding is allocated through Infrastructure Tasmania, which has a specific remit to improve active transport in the state.
It has recently updated its website with policies and news about the government’s active transport efforts.
Of interest is the long overdue update this year of the Tasmanian Walking and Cycling for Active Transport Strategy 2010 and the government’s application to the global Bloomberg Initiative for Cycling Infrastructure fund.
The Bloomberg program will provide ten cities around the world with up to US$1 million for cycling infrastructure and expert advice on consultation, planning and design of world’s best practice cycling infrastructure. The announcement of the winning bids will be made before June this year, with a three-year implementation timeline.