Hon A. P. Harriss
Legislative Council Parliament House Hobart 7000
Thursday, 15 November 2012
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Public Works. I understand you will be considering an upgrade to Rokeby Road tomorrow (Friday, November 16).
I am concerned that this upgrade could represent a major lost opportunity for residents in the area, because it fails to promote active transport as well as it might. The Rokeby Road upgrade is a major infrastructure project costing about $10m of federal roads funding + $2m state funding.
The Eastern Shore is an area with a growing population, with a number of new residential builds
proposed in the wider area. It should also be noted that there are two government requirements to make active transport – basically cycling and walking – central to infrastructure projects like this one.
These frameworks are namely the Federal Government’s following strategy: Our Cities, Our Future—A National Urban Policy for a productive, sustainable and liveable future. The Active Transport component says the strategy seeks “to encourage and support walking and riding as part of the transport systems in Australia's cities and towns”.
The same objectives apply at a State level, through the State Government’s Tasmanian Walking and Cycling for Active Transport Strategy. However, this project does not appear to treat all transport modes equally, namely equal provision for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
At a recent briefing myself (Bicycle Tasmania), Mary McParland (Cycling South) and Tom Allen (Sustainable Transport adviser to Nick McKim, MP), DIER maintained that funds are not available to include a shared pathway where Rokeby Road corners into Grange Road West and that full active transport provision “was not within the scope of this project”.
This project represents an opportunity to put in place the building blocks for a shared pathway effectively from the Tasman Bridge all the way along the Eastern Shore. DIER could create plans for such a walkway even if it does not have funds available for all components at this stage.
Ignoring such an opportunity then attempting to retrofit subsequent components does not represent best practice and is not in the interests of local residents. DIER’s current plans provide for
a shared pathway, which is then routed onto existing and very poor quality pathways at Rokeby Fire Station. Routing cyclists along poor quality footpath that also has poor sightlines in terms of driveways, is undesirable, especially when alternatives appear not to have been explored.
Local residents have opposed sound barriers in this area, which DIER has agreed to do away with. Given this concession, there appears to be ample scope to include a shared pathway. To their credit, DIER representatives agreed to “look at” provision of a full shared pathway at Rokeby Rd-Grange Rd West. However, the three of us have doubts about whether this consideration will have effect, given the plans are due to go to the Public Works Committee on Friday this week.
We would like to ask you to consider requiring DIER to incorporate true active transport equity in this project and to amends its plans accordingly.
Despite DIER maintaining there are no additional funds available, there is scope to submit this project, or elements of it, within the next round of Nation Building 2 funding. This next round is geared towards boosting Active Transport and there is still ample scope to make a submission.
Emma Pharo, B.Sc., PhD
Facilities Development Manager, Bicycle Tasmania