Active Whitehorse News – August 2022

Welcome and Thanks

Photo credit Bike Hugger

Aspecial welcome to a number of new WATAG Members.
Here’s a cheery wave to Michael, Peter, James, Greg, John,Sue & Arthur, Jennifer, Anthony and Luke.
After reading the last edition of Active Whitehorse News
We all want more of a good thing
they agreed that applies to them too…and ‘signed up’.

We invite you to check it out.
We’d love to welcome you too. Simply Click here

And a big thanks to all the existing Members who have helped the WATAG treasurer by paying their 2022-23 Membership promptly.
A BIG welcome to Jeremy as a LIFE MEMBER.
He joins Bill who became a LIFE Member a couple of years ago. Something for you to consider?

If your Membership is still outstanding Click here to bring your Membership up-to-date.

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Give a nudge? Or make a difference?

In a recent article, Strong Towns* gave some good advice to city planners and transportation ‘specialists’ by explaining: “Why Transportation Nudges Are Stupid”.
There’s no denying that the nudges used by marketers to get us to buy more or to prefer a certain brand, or used by Google to get us to look at certain sites or advertisements, do actually work.

But as Strong Towns explain:
“However, the way we nudge people to safer roads isn’t to change their thinking, it’s to respond to their behavior. Nudging isn’t about trying to fix people’s brains, to make them “better” or more perfect humans. It starts with acknowledging that humans are flawed, irrational, prone to error and faulty assumptions. They are, in a word, ‘human.’ If we want to improve safety, we need to design our transportation systems for humans and all their flaws.”

“When we design streets with wide lanes, we aren’t creating a safety buffer for the theoretical non-reckless driver. Instead, we are giving all humans a false sense of security, one that speed studies demonstrate induces them to drive faster.”

“When we make it difficult to walk on our streets, especially in situations where we know people will be walking, we aren’t making things safer by suppressing the number of people who walk or cross the street. Instead, we make people on foot largely invisible to drivers, making our friends and neighbors walking or biking the anomaly drivers aren’t anticipating or compensating for.”

If we really want to nudge drivers to behaviors that improve safety, we [should be] designing streets so that drivers feel insecure, so they have a feeling of tension and anxiety, when they are driving at speeds that are unsafe for that environment.

Strong Towns advocates “Narrow lanes. Remove buffer areas by bringing in curbs. Add separated bike lanes. Bring in street trees. Tighten up corners and curves.”

“In other words, the exact opposite of standing transportation design practice.”

Want to learn more about what Strong Towns think that we actually need to do to fix our broken transportation system?

Here’s a great book to read. It’s available to be borrowed from your local Whitehorse-Manningham Library. Check the catalogue here for availability.

* Strong Towns is a nonprofit media advocacy organization in Minnesota USA. They advocate for cities of all sizes to be safe, livable, and inviting. (Don’t we all want that?)
They seek to elevate local government to be the highest level of collaboration for people working together in a place, not merely the lowest level in a hierarchy of governments.

We think that’s a pretty good goal to aim for!

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Sip’n’Nibble and Chat too

Photo: Anna Kucera

The August Community Chat meeting will again give you a chance to meet your neighbours, hear from a distinguished speaker (see below), have your say, and hear what others think about local matters.

Wednesday 24th August. Blackburn Lake Visitor Centre.
Come from 7 pm for a social chat. Then at 7:30pm we will hear from a very special guest, Professor Anna Timperio from Deakin University to talk about activity and health – especially for children. We will talk about how our neighbourhoods can be changed to make them safer and children friendly, and the associated health benefits.
You might have some ideas to share about this.

Anna is a leader at Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) – a world renowned organisation.
(Check that website – wouldn’t you love a playground like that near you for your kids or grandkids!)
Anna’s research interests include the measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour, particularly in children and adolescents, and evaluation of health promotions and public health interventions.

What are your views on children’s activity (or lack of it!)? How they can be encouraged to do more? How could the community and Council become more involved with this?

Refer to Working with the best in the last edition of Active Whitehorse News.

NOTE: This will be a popular night, and places may have to be limited. Also we need to ensure we have enough goodies to sip and nibble on!

Please register here if you’d like to attend.

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Speaking about Professor Anna Timperio – here’s a terrific Citizen Science project you’ll be interested to read about. Anna was one of the collaborating authors. This was taken from Communities4Walkability website as part of an ISPAH (International Society for Physical Activity and Health) blog. We present it here as a pdf for ease of reading.

Things we like: Walk-friendly city centres

From a contributor to Victoria Walks recent newsletter.

“Great to see Bendigo making a bunch of little improvements to make walking around the city centre even easier. People in cars can still get to where they want, but in a slightly lower speed environment.

‘This one in Mitchell Street is the latest … The pavement has been raised and a zebra crossing painted…. I’m a local resident that likes to park once and walk around town. This location always bugged me (having to give way to cars and step down onto the road) as there are more pedestrians using it than cars.”

WATAG totally agrees with local Councils making improvements to suit pedestrians and the disabled.
There should be more of it!

If you want some terrific walk suggestions, click here to subscribe to Victoria Walks regular newsletter.

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The wonder drug

Here’s great advice from the Heart Foundation Walking initiative.
Walking for an average of 30 minutes a day can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes by 30 to 40 per cent….Plus, walking regularly has been proven to:

Manage weight, blood pressure and cholesterol
Reduce your risk of developing some cancers
Maintain your bone density, reducing your risk of osteoporosis and fractures
Improve balance and coordination, reducing your risk of falls and other injuries
Click image to get a FREE walking plan

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An update

A while back we arranged a petition to get local support for replacing some steps with a ramp at the rear of the Spotlight/Anaconda site in Box Hill so that everyone in the community can have safe DDA compliant access. Click the image below to see the article in April Active Whitehorse News where we reported on this.

We asked for the Whitehorse Council to discuss the matter with the property owner, Spotlight Holdings, so that together they can come up with a solution.

Pleasingly, we can report that Council has followed through with this, and has made Spotlight aware of the problem. We hope to be able to report next time that they have come to an agreement about implementing a solution which solves this problem.

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Covid or cars – which is the most deadly?

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Is this crossing potentially deadly?

This point in Blackburn Rd, Blackburn Victoria, attracts many to use it because it is at the eastern end of well-used paths through Blackburn Creeklands, and the crossing affords access to Alandale Rd leading to very-poplular Blackburn Lake,

Because it has a small island in the middle of the road this gives the impression that it is an official crossing point. It gives the illusion of safety, but does not afford adequate safety because cars have no requirement to stop or even watch out for people crossing. It is used by many people of all ages – school children to get to school, older people out for exercise, dog walkers, disabled people and those with mobility aids. With a high volume of motor traffic on Blackburn Rd – often at times when the foot traffic is greatest – it is a major safety issue for most people.

The crossing point is 0.6km from the nearest controlled point at Canterbury Rd to the south and 0.8km from the next safe crossing point to the north at Railway Parade. These distances would mean an additional journey of 1.2km or 1.6km for someone to get to a safe crossing point and return if they simply want to cross the road at this point. This is quite unreasonable and is a deterrent to many who want to cross over, It’s a deterrent to parents allowing their children to cross – particularly when going to and from school.

A local “Blackburn Road Crossing Group” recently met to discuss how to remedy this situation. There were many ideas about getting support from users of the crossing point, local residents, local schools, and others interested in safety for walkers and cyclists.

WATAG will let you know if you, as a supporter of safer ways of moving around the community, can help this. Keep a look out for an email from us about this.

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Reproduced from a LinkedIn post by Bernard Salt AM, widely regarded as one of Australia’s leading social commentators by business, the media and the wider community.

Image credit: ADENE – The Modern Noah’s Ark

“Sometimes the census delivers a powerful if blunt social truth. Over the 5 years to 2021 the number of cars in Australia (as measured by the census) increased by 14% whereas the population and household numbers increased by 9%. It’s official. Cars are growing faster than people.
This can come about because of strong growth in the car-driving cohort, because foreign students sold their cars to locals before going home, because Australians are richer and can now afford more cars per adult. 
But more importantly the census shows where the new cars are being added. The number of no-car households increased by 5% over the 5 years to 2021. But the number added to households with 4+ cars increased by 21%. More cars are being bought by big households in regional Australia and on the urban fringe (see mapping).
This is city planner’s worst nightmare. More cars in outer suburbia meaning that planners now have to get more people into the city centre every day using either public transport or more motorways. But this wasn’t the way things were meant to be.
By encouraging inner-city living Australians were meant to forsake their cars. No they’re not. By densifying development along rail corridors Australians were meant to take public transport. No they’re not. By creating an urban growth boundary cities were meant to be contained. No they’re not being contained.
Perhaps its time to rethink big-city planning and support the 20-minute master-planned community, and especially with work from home.  The problem for planners whose strategic thinking is tied to densification is that, well, the census is showing that these plans aren’t working.text”

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No short cuts to get low traffic

“Ignore the culture warriors – low traffic neighbourhoods don’t close streets, they liberate them”

George MonbiotThe Guardian 3 Aug 2022

Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) were introduced to stop residential streets being used as rat-runs for those wanting to avoid congested main roads. A relative few drivers do this, but its at the expense of the many – those who want safe passage for children & cyclists, users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Residents who want cleaner air and less noise.

‘Once these changes have bedded in, opposition collapses.’ A LTN in Southwark, London, in June 2021.
Photograph: Richard Baker/In Pictures/Getty Images

There has been strong push-back by a very vocal few. They appear to be those who tend to concentrate on personal rights who say the LTN’s have been imposed on them.

Well, as George says in his article:
“whether they agree or not, there are consultations. But no one was consulted about their streets being used as short cuts. No one was consulted about facing a higher risk of asthma and dementia as a result of air pollution, or seeing their communities split by walls of traffic. No one was consulted about losing the places where neighbours could talk and children could play.”

He goes on to point out that “Public opinion follows a consistent trajectory: once these changes have bedded in, opposition collapses. For instance, in Waltham Forest, 44% of residents objected to their LTN before it was created. But five years on, only 1.7% wanted to see the change reversed.”

It is unfortunate that people often can’t envisage the benefits in advance – they need to experience them. A re-read of Placemaking and tactical urbanism in Active Whitehorse News November 2021 gives some views on helping communities adjust to proposed changes

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Something to think about

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Eastsider News – not to be missed

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Interested in being Active too? Here’s how

Join as a WATAG Member and help the whole community to be active.
See above

Join a local group that enables you to be active and social too!

  1. Like walking (and some bike riding too)?
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, meet new people and take up a physical activity for your health then explore the MWBC website.(Click image above)

2. Or is regular bike riding your idea of fun?

Whitehorse cyclists
We are a happy group of men and women who love the outdoors, enjoy riding bicycles and thrive in other people’s company.

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Bike parking is easy for morning tea time at Aqualink Box Hill during a Whitehorse Cyclist’s Easy Tuesday ride.
Around 25 riders getting fitter and enjoying the company of friends.
Good for local business too by putting money back into the local community.

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