Active Whitehorse News – February 2021

It’s worth being cautious, but …

The origin of this great cartoon has been lost in the mire of the internet. Can you help so we can attribute it properly?

… 2021 might be a time for change.


Dave Hollis – Facebook 25 March 2020

Let’s make this normal

VicRoads – Facebook 10 Dec 2020

WATAG thinks this is GREAT advice. Will YOU give it a try?

If you have a view, click to leave a reply or comment

This could be normal too

What happens when an entire city chooses to tame car traffic?
Pontevedra had 0 traffic casualties in the last 19 years!

[Pontevedra] is best known for its urban planning, pedestrianisation and the charm of its historic centre. In recent years, it has been awarded several international awards for its urban quality and quality of life, accessibility and urban mobility policy, like the international European Intermodes Urban Mobility Award in 2013, the 2014 Dubai International Best Practices Award for Sustainable Development awarded by UN-Habitat in partnership with Dubai Municipality and the “Excellence Prize” of the Center for Active Design in New York City in 2015,] among others. The city also won the European Commission’s first prize for urban safety in 2020. Pontevedra’s car free center helped transform it into one of the most accessible European cities, leading to various European and American studies on its exemplary urban planning been carried out in recent years

How to change things


We can all think of things we’d like to have changed.
How many New Year’s resolutions to change something – lose weight, exercise more, be nicer to the mother-in-law – have you heard people express? How long do they last? Change is not easy, even on this personal level when you are the one supposedly calling the shots.

We might want something to change, but when it’s us that needs to change, that’s not so popular.

What about when it’s something in the community where lots of people might be affected? Who will take the lead, and get things going? What is the role of volunteer community groups in leading change?

Read more here…

If you have a view, click to leave a reply or comment

Amanda wants change

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Cr. Amanda McNeil was recently elected to Whitehorse City Council. For someone who has a lifelong vision impairment, what’s truly special is Amanda’s wish to get back on a bike again, after many years, as part of her fitness campaign.

Knowing that WATAG is all about advocating to Councils and other authorities to provide infrastructure to enable people of all abilities to become more active and healthy, she asked us for help. She would love to be able to ride a bike to the Council Offices, even to Council meetings, but has totally lost confidence after many years. So she asked whether we would help restore her confidence and be her ‘guide’ to ride there safely.

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Whilst Cr. Amanda is vision impaired and cannot drive, she can ride a bike if accompanied by others who can ensure she is safe. Imagine the freedom this will give to her.

Cr. Amanda wants to change, and she wants to encourage change too!

Read more here…

And here’s an update from a couple of weeks later.

Cr. Amanda’s Ward includes the area where a major level crossing removal is planned. She is a regular visitor to the area for shopping and to meet the locals.

She has continued to progress her cycling and recently inspected the site of the works at the Mont Albert Rd crossing as shown in this photo.

Click here to refer to our last newsletter article about the crossing removals at Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.

If you’d like to be a ‘riding buddy’ with Cr. Amanda, click here to drop her an email.

Sarah wants to change herself

Image credit: Sarah Berry

Sarah says:
“Hi…I’m 28, I live in London, and I’ve just learnt how to ride a bike.

It’s terrifying and exhilarating and I’m learning loads all the time — so I decided to start writing about it.

She has written
Diary of a New Cyclist

This is what Diary of a New Cyclist will be all about.

Navigating the seemingly impenetrable London streets as a newcomer who lacks confidence, skills and ability. But who, nevertheless, is giving it a go.

Check it out here.

I hope it inspires others to give it a go too.”

Sarah, we are sure it will inspire others. Keep it up.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJ_Berry, or via her blog at the above link.

Get inspired and give it a go like Cr. Amanda did too.

Let us know what would inspire you – click to leave a reply or comment

Australia wants change too

Image credit: Heart Foundation

Last newsletter had an article based on The Heart Foundation’s survey, titled “What Australia Wants“.
In a nutshell, we want to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods, and to redirect road funding to walking, cycling, and public transport.

WATAG totally supports this aim. We think that when the message is good, it’s worth repeating, and giving some of the study findings.

Our friends at Streets Alive Yarra featured the pages below. We think they are great too.

People want

  • active neighbourhoods
  • redirecting road funding to infrastructure for active transport
  • reducing speed limits
Image credit: Heart Foundation
Image credit: Heart Foundatio
Image credit: Heart Foundation

Do you have a view about active streets and neighbourhoods? Click here to tell us.

Your choice

It is often said, particularly by traffic engineers, that slowing traffic in suburban residential streets will cause delays and great driver frustration at being ‘held up’.

This graph shows clearly that the time taken to travel 3.5km is only marginally more when comparing 30 km/hr to 40 or 50 km/hr. Yet the risk of pedestrian death is much higher. Compared to 30 km/hr, the risk is eight times more for 50 km/hr, and three times more for 40 km/hr.

If you were able to change the speed for your street (assuming its a suburban residential street) what speed would you want?

WATAG suggests that if you would like a change to a lower speed, don’t just privately wish, let your Council know.

What do you think about lower speeds in local streets? Click here to let us know.

Have your say

The Victorian Government recently changed the Local Government Act 2020 to improve local government democracy, accountability and service delivery for all Victorians.

It mandates new requirements for internal procedural matters such as: Councillor Code of Conduct, Councillor Induction Training, Annual report, CEO employment and remuneration policy, Workforce plan, Recruitment policy, Staff Code of Conduct, Complaints policy, Procurement policy.

But most importantly it mandates how Councils must use Community Engagement for development of matters such as:

In fact Whitehorse is currently asking for community input into other areas of great public interest such as:

Recent engagements can be seen at the Council’s Your Say Whitehorse website.

WATAG and local supporters have been very active (we are an ACTION group after all!) by providing comment to Whitehorse Council about the need for Community Engagement at the earliest stages of project consideration.

We think that a face-to-face (Covid permitting) meeting around a table or on-site is essential before any preconceived ideas or plans are developed.

This ensures that all affected parties have input into agreeing what project/problem/matter is being thought about. Without agreement on a problem statement, it is difficult to reach a consensus on a plan to address the matter.

WATAG has made many representations in the past to Whitehorse Council about the need for round-table consultation at the earliest stages of considering projects (both large and small) which affect walkers, cyclists and the disabled. Unfortunately this has fallen on deaf ears. We hope this new era of Community Engagement will lead to better outcomes.

WATAG supporters will be pleased to know that two WATAG Committee members, Jeremy Maxwell and Chris Trueman, have been selected as part of a representative Community Panel to develop the Whitehorse 2040 Community Vision. So it’s good to know that WATAG’s views about safe, active streets and neighbourhoods will be well represented.

In a first for Whitehorse City, it’s a full deliberative consultation process. This involves the Panel meeting for three full days, plus other meetings, during February 2021, and it will culminate with the Panel drafting the actual Vision for Council consideration.

This link to Whitehorse Community Vision 2040 has lots of reference material – just some of the information the Panel will use in its deliberations.

Whilst the general community consultation process is finished, Jeremy and Chris would be pleased to receive any ideas you have.

Do you have ideas about Whitehorse 2040? Click here to let us know.

And here’s another easy way to have a say.

Snap send solve logo

We’ve written before about the benefits of using Snap Send Solve.
Download Snap Send Solve here.

Whitehorse Council encourages people to use Snap Send Solve to send reports about hazardous or other reportable situations encountered while walking or riding. Refer to the Council website.

In most cases it usually does lead to a good result. And not only for Whitehorse Council.
As you can see from the photos below of the Gardiners Creek Trail near High St Rd , a Snap Send Solve report to Waverley Council really worked.

(Move the central arrows sideways to compare before and after views)

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Interested in being Active too? Here’s how

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

  1. Like walking (and some bike riding too)?
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mwbclogo.jpg
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.

Some questions for YOU

  1. If you HAVEN’T received these newsletters regularly every two months, this question is for YOU.

Did you enjoy THIS newsletter, and would you like to read future newsletters every two months?

Click here

Thanks for answering!


Tell us what you think about articles in the newsletter in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

2 Responses to Active Whitehorse News – February 2021

  1. arthur dent says:

    Riding to shops.
    shopping centres are the WORST places to ride for novices. There are no bike lanes, drivers open their doors into traffic, and pedestrians step out in front of you between parked cars, and the passing motor traffic tries to squeeze you into the parked cars,
    Speed reduction in side streets.
    The biggest problem in side streets is the number of parked cars, a result of Councils and Governments being too gutless to insist that new developments have adequate off street parking. As a result there is often effectively only one traffic lane, and a lot odf car drivers assume that bikes will somehow magically get out of their way., the speed is not the issue, , its the lack of parking *


    • WATAG says:

      Thanks for your comments.
      You are correct – infrastructure at shopping centres could be much more focused on the safety of people walking and riding. Let’s hope Councils take note of your concerns
      Side streets need to be made safer for all. Internationally it’s recognised that lower car speeds do make streets safer.


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