Bike SA was a Gold Sponsor of this week’s Australian Walking and Cycling conference held in Adelaide. Here are some of the key takeaways – including Auckland’s massive transformation.
Auckland is spending serious, serious cash on cycling.
Between 2013 and 2014 – South Australia spent just $7.6 million on cycling. Auckland has decided to spend $200 million over the next three years – you heard it – $200 million!
Auckland stood out – and its transformation towards shared spaces stood out as inspiration for what sound planning and design can achieve.
Behind the award Winning City Centre Masterplan (2012) Gyles Bendall described a city in an arranged marriage with cars ‘where residents don’t have the option for divorce’. The masterplan suitably involved major investment in public transport ($2billion spent on a cityrail link) and the creation of cycling networks ($200 million). What are the key drivers? Gyles attributes it to sound leadership and funding, the pressure of deadlines (Rugby world cup) and national pride (kiwis’ love of Rugby).
The published plan was in an attractive coffee table book format (instead of a wordy policy document) leading to unanimous approval by council and 95% public support.
Removing conventional street elements lead to behaviour change on a human level. Early evaluation showed greatly decreased traffic speed and volume compared with increased pedestrian and consumer spending. Presenting this impressive data effectively saw the effects of the interventions compounded as community and local business involvement continued to rise.
Shared space is not for everywhere, but can greatly enhance some under-utilised urban corridors providing vibrant pedestrian network. Read the guidelines here for inspiration.
“You don’t measure the demand for a new bridge by the amount of people swimming across the river”
Joan Beetham from Opus shed light on the impasse between practitioners and public regarding latent demand, by resenting convincing evidence that if you build It they will come. By adopting behavioural methodology research can more accurately forecast the potential for modal shifts between different infrastructure upgrades.
There is a natural default within populations predicated to adopt modal shift. Opus research showed minor upgrades will cater only to existing users and only the safest, easiest bike lanes will see large scale behavioural shifts. As Joan pointed out ‘you don’t measure the demand for a new bridge by the amount of people swimming across the river’.
Nothing beats a bit of urban acupuncture
Urban designer Robin Abad Ocubillo’s account of San Francisco’s pavement to parks program may have sounded familiar to some. Placing Splash Adelaide within a broader context shows the potential for seemingly small localised interventions to spark wide changes. Robin highlighted community engagement through design competitions and innovation and sound project evaluation as keys to converting spaces to inspire public use.
The effects of community uptake of the projects stood out. While the cost of such interventions might seem high, the flow on effects of local communities empowerment so often leads to further reinvigoration of public space, to which Robin shrugs ‘that’s ok with me’.
“When you welcome women – you welcome everyone”
Former competitive cyclist Monique Hanley showed ‘when you welcome women, you welcome everyone’. Over the past four years, since election to the board of Cycling Victoria, on the clear platform to increase female participation her efforts have significantly affected female participation at both the organisational and membership level. Implementing structural changes within the organisation has made support available for clubs to do the same, while working on influencing at the international level. Notable achievements include equal prize money and the ban of ‘decoration’ girls on the podium.
Useful to any organisation wishing to consider ways to increase participation of women, Monique showed how training leaders to implement their own ideas has worked and the importance of sharing the ride, so as not to see momentum fade as individuals inevitably move on.
Bike SA was pleased to be a gold sponsor of the 2015 Australian Walking and Cycling Conference. A major part of this sponsorship was the announcement that Bike SA will host an annual SA community cycling awards program.
Readers may recall that one of the recommendations from last years’ Citizen’s Jury was to establish a local government awards process program. Well, we believe a local community awards program deserves equal recognition.
The annual SA Cycle Friendly Community Awards will highlight, celebrate and reward outstanding contributions from community groups, individuals, businesses and partnerships that support communities becoming more cycle friendly.
The first award winners will be announced at the conference in 2016 and we will advertise both the category formats and judging panel later this year in October.