Active Whitehorse News – June 2022

Just one minute will inspire you

Jan Kamensky

Jan says “Transformation also begins in the way we see our world. Utopia is helpful for this. It breaks with our habits of seeing. It is disruptive. It makes us look at the present with a new eye. And may it promote our actions.
Let’s begin to see our world in a new way!”

Whether you live on a local suburban street or live in a central area, can you imagine your street through Jan Kamensky’s eyes?

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Contents


We all want more of a good thing

We really value the fact that we have lots of newsletter subscribers.

But we want MORE!

We’d love YOU to show you love US and really want to help us – and the community too – by becoming a Member

Annual Membership is due NOW.
It’s only about 20c/week – ie $10/year. Pretty reasonable eh?

We’d love you to give it a go! Just Click here to check it out.

Or if you are new to this Newsletter, click the Subscribe button in the right column to be sure you get future editions approx. every two months.

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Are electric cars “part of the solution”?

In this era of Climate Change comment, it is assumed by most of us that electric cars are a part of the solution.
But how valid is this assumption?
Read this thoughtful article and decide for yourself.

So…is your next purchase the latest Tesla or an e-bike?

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What do your children think?

Glen Lyons is Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility at the University of the West of England.
His daughter Rose, aged 10, was Prime Minister for a Day a while back.
Glen posted on LinkedIn:
“We had been eating home made pizza and then out of nowhere Rosie gave me a tirade of her thoughts and frustrations about climate change. I sat there thinking ‘where did this come from? What she is saying is so on message – a wise head on little shoulders’. I don’t spend my time at home bombarding the children about climate change. But Rosie is clearly absorbing like a sponge what she hears, and she’s not daft!”

Here is the unedited, exclusive interview that followed.

Professor Glen Lyons daughter Rosie Lyons – age 10.

Imagine being only 10 and having this on your mind.

Have you had a chat recently with a younger family member, relative or friend to know a little more about what’s on their mind?
Their future is in our hands. And they know it.

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No more lip please

It’s unfortunate that Council Officers are sometimes subjected to a bit of lip when their decisions lead to dissatisfied residents voicing their discontent. So it’s great to report that at Whitehorse Council action has been taken to ensure that in future there will be no more lip where in the past it’s been normal.

Over the last few years the Council has changed its design for the ramps from footpaths down to the road so they are smooth and without the dangerous lip that can trip up those less nimble on their feet, or can make a wheelchair very unsteady or even tip over. It’s been a very positive move.

The problem is that this message didn’t get through to the section of Council that issues permits and drawings for private driveway crossovers, and they are still being built with a lip like the one shown.

Until now that is!

It can be reported that a request has been circulated through Council departments asking that the drawing standards relating to driveway crossover design be changed.

So it’s no more lip from Council in Whitehorse, at least as far as driveways are concerned. Well done Whitehorse.

If you have cause to complain to Council, it’s recommended that you take the ‘lip’ out of it too and be nice. They are just doing their job.

Snap send solve logo

And use Snap Send Solve for best results

We’ve written before about the benefits of using Snap Send Solve to report things to Council.
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

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Are we walking tall but not thinking big?

In the context of a major Metropolitan Activity Centre (MAC), is a 51 story residential tower or a 28 story commercial building to be built by Vicinity Centres in Box Hill, Melbourne really surprising?

With the confluence at Box Hill of train, tram, bus, the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL), and a major shopping and restaurant precinct outside their doors, what better place to concentrate city dwellers?

Read the full article here:

Here’s a video which shows how Whitehorse Council felt about this north-south access back in 2019.
Now in 2022, WATAG would like Council strongly advocate for commitment by the Victorian State Government to build that bridge now, rather than at some uncertain future.

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Better streets for [insert your suburb here]

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Your Street, Your Say: Better streets for Darebin

Your Street, Your Say is a Local Area Planning project proposed by Darebin City Council with a focus on placemaking around streets. The goal of this project is to recommend a series of interventions and sub-projects for translating streets into better public spaces by building on aspirations of the local community (gathered through an extensive survey).

“I don’t feel safe crossing this road because there is too much traffic and no pedestrian crossings,” A Darebin resident

“The Council has undertaken a community survey using an interactive engagement platform in which it appealed residents to share their experiences of using streets in Darebin and provide location-specific feedback about particular issues.

Some of the common expressions were like: “I don’t feel safe crossing this road because there is too much traffic and no pedestrian crossings,” or “I don’t feel safe riding along this street because there is too much traffic and no bike lanes.”. Following on from the findings of this engagement process, the council intends to develop a series of place-making interventions for better utilisation of its street network as a public space.” … more

Why not talk to YOUR local Council and ask them to consider a similar program for YOUR suburb?

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Winter reading

Two more highly readable books. Both are available for loan from the Whitehorse Library (or will be soon).

Image credit – Scribe Books

Changeology – to bring about change for good.

NIGEL TOPPING, CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER, CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECT says:

‘A beguilingly simple framework for effective social change, illustrated with loads of helpful and inspiring examples — thought-provoking at every turn. I finished the book buzzing with new ideas to try out in my own work.’

This book offers proven ways of influencing the behaviour of human beings for the better. It deals with change projects both large and small, and in almost any area of activity, but with an emphasis on key topics such as climate change, poverty, obesity, AIDS, and tobacco and drug use. It is aimed at a worldwide audience of people who are acting to make change in their corporations, cities, and neighbourhoods, as well as in their own lives.

Read a full review at Scribe Publications

Movement is a book which will change the way you think about streets.

‘This book will — no question — make you think in new ways. Why have we surrendered our cities to cars? What might it be like to inhabit a space designed for people instead? It’s exciting and hopeful — this we can do!’
BILL MCKIBBEN, AUTHOR THE FLAG, THE CROSS, AND THE STATION WAGON

Making our communities safer, cleaner, and greener starts with asking the fundamental question: who do our streets belong to?

Although there have been experiments in decreasing traffic in city centres, and an increase in bike-friendly infrastructure, there is still a long way to go.

In this enlightening and provocative book, Thalia Verkade and Marco te Brömmelstroet confront their own underlying beliefs and challenge us to rethink our ideas about transport to put people at the centre of urban design.

THIS BOOK IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Read a full review at Scribe Publications

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Free public transport?

Justine McIntyre from Montreal, Quebec said recently on Twitter
“I had the opportunity to study free public transit in depth for an economics project at HEC. Although my colleagues and I were initially favourably biased towards free transit, our study led us to conclude against it. Here’s why.”

This was in response to a Twitter post by @TaylorNoakes advocating free services shown below:

“Charging people to take public transit during the era of the climate emergency is stupid, particularly given that we should be trying to incentivize people by whatever means necessary to stop driving their cars.” Refer: cultmtl.com

“More people would use public transit if it was free, and it would be a major financial relief for the poorest among us. The environmental impact would be considerable as well, which is what should be motivating us more than anything.”

Here’s Justine’s response:

  1. Modal transfer. Based on research from cities where free public transit was implemented, modal transfer is often quite low for drivers (20%) and higher for active transit users, like pedestrians and cyclists, many of whom are already occasional transit users.
  2. Problem misidentification. In fact, the obstacles to transit most mentioned by transit users or would-be users is not cost, rather: crowding, lack of frequency, and service interruptions. All of which risk being exacerbated by free transit.
  3. Social receptivity to taxation. The money to fund transit has to come from somewhere. Residents are extremely reticent (= they hate) being stuck with a new “transit tax” whereas transit users are already in the habit of paying to ride, as long as the cost remains reasonable.
  4. Rebound effect. In the short term, there may be a rush to “try out” free transit, creating temporary de-congestion on roads. Perversely, this could create an incentive for drivers to get back in their cars.
  5. In conclusion: Yes, we need to get more people taking public transit. Making it free isn’t the way to do it. Making it efficient, frequent, accessible, safe and clean is.

Many will appreciate @TaylorNoakes article on this topic. But Justine shows that a problem solution has to be considered in depth for the full consequences – that we’re going to need to be a lot more ambitious about the nature of the public transport offered. And that the public need to be sold on the idea of paying for something superior. They need to value it and want to use it.

What are your thoughts? Click here to comment on this.


A national approach is needed

Great promotional video from Chris Boardman.Credit: Active Travel England

Credit: Active Travel England

We need someone of the stature of Chris Boardman in Australia – someone with exposure and reach – to advocate for a BIG National solution to our car-problem too, so that Active Transport can become a national priority here too.
We have many of us advocating for this, but it’s receiving scant attention and, if budget allocations tell what their priorities are, it’s way down the list of things our national government sees as important.

Sure, we have WeRide Australia and Bicycle Network, but they are bike focused. And Victoria Walks is walking focused. We’d like a full national Active Transport focus.

We’d also love to have Safe Streets too as advocated by 30please.org. It’s a small but vocal organisation campaigning for 30km/h to become the norm for our neighbourhood streets.https://30please.org

It will mean that our kids can walk to school and use their local streets with cars being the respectful visitors. And our older folk and disabled friends can move around safely too. We’d love 30km/hr to be a national norm for local street speeds as agreed in Stockholm in February 2020 where over 130 Global Ministers mandated 20mph or 30km/h speed limits wherever cyclists or pedestrians mix with motor vehicles with exceptions only where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe.This was ratified in August 2020 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

We’d love people here to treat cycling as so normal that they dress for the destination, not the journey. It means that the “special clothes” worn by sporting cyclists (often moving advertising lycra banners for their sponsors) are not required, and kids and others wearing lycra are not mistaken for the fast & furious cyclists who are more hardened to dangerous car traffic.

We need an ACTIVE TRAVEL AUSTRALIA and the funds to support it.

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What we’d love to see

Would you like your local streets to be like this?

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A Sip’n’Nibble anyone?

Photo: Anna Kucera

It’s a great way to get to know you local community – meet for a Sip’n’Nibble at WATAG’s regular Community Chat meetings. Plus you get the chance to have your say and to hear what others think about local matters. Sometimes we will have a guest speaker to give us the benefit of their specialised knowledge. In summer, an outdoor BBQ in the beautiful bushland setting of Blackburn Lake might be arranged.

WATAG has changed its normal Committee Meeting schedule (4th Wednesday of the month) so that every 2nd month we get away from Agenda’s, have a Community Chat, and check-in with the community so that we have local buy-in when we advocate to Council or the Government.

  • We enjoyed a BBQ and lively chat in the open air seating space at Blackburn Lake in February.
  • It was a big welcome to Jeremy Lawrence from Streets Alive Yarra in April. Jeremy explained how the community in Yarra City is aiming high. The weblink above says: “Let’s build a beautiful, liveable and accessible city”.
    Jeremy maintains a superb website. It’s really worth a visit. Lots of ideas for Whitehorse City!
  • June was a time to talk about a safe crossing for Blackburn Rd at the end of Creeekland park at Heath St to give access to Blackburn Lake, and allow children to walk and ride to local schools. A small local working group has been set up to progress this over the coming months.

Next Community Chat: Keep the date free – Wednesday 24th August. We have invited 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.

Mark it in your diary now and look for notification of the meeting closer to the time.

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A Farewell and a Welcome

They say all good things come to an end. It’s true but sad when they do.

Farewell

David Berry has been a WATAG Committee Members since inception. But he has moved suburbs to be nearer grandchildren, and has resigned from the Committee.

David has been active in the community for decades now, and is a legend on the topic of the Whitehorse environment – particularly plants and trees. David was President of the Blackburn & District Tree Preservation Society for many years.

His contribution to WATAG (and earlier to the City of Whitehorse Bicycle Advisory Committee) has been outstanding.

We wish David and his wife Sally good health and a happy life in their new setting.

Welcome

Irene Moser has been a member of WATAG for nearly 5 years. She joined as member within six months of incorporation. The WATAG Committee is delighted to welcome Irene as a new Committee Member.

Irene is an Associate Professor at Swinburne University of Technology. Her LinkedIn profile gives her interests as “Experienced Lecturer in Data Science. Research interests include knowledge discovery, optimisation, combinatorial problems (traffic, vehicle routing), search spaces – amongst other experiences including AI.”

Irene speaks several languages including Finnish, Russian & German (and perfect English!)

A recent paper co-authored by Irene “Do Safe Bike Lanes Really Slow Down Cars?” shows that WATAG, and our community, will benefit from her knowledge.

Welcome Irene!

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Working with the best

The Deakin School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, within the Faculty of Health is Ranked #1 sport science school in the world. It’s a leader in its field and is the only school in Australia that brings both nutrition and physical activity together in both its teaching and research.
The School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences hosts the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN). The majority of our school’s research is conducted through IPAN.

All this here “in our own backyard” in Whitehorse. How lucky can you be if you are an advocacy group promoting walking and cycling as the best way of getting around:

  • Best for your health
  • Best for children’s welfare and safety
  • Best for the environment

WATAG is having active (we like the word Active!) discussion with faculty and IPAN members Professor Anna Timperio, Professor Jo Salmon and Dr Anthony Walsh.

We are hoping to collaborate to help understand community needs and attitudes and how to bring about change so that everyone in the community can be active and enjoy the benefits noted above.

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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)?
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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?

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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.

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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?

yes
Click here

Thanks for answering!


Your view

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

6 Responses to Active Whitehorse News – June 2022

  1. John Mc says:

    The article by Bridget Doran was real gob-smack! Wow!

    Like

    • WATAG says:

      Thanks for reading Briget’s article. It sure does get one thinking. The recommended book “Movement” will get your brain whirring even more.

      Like

  2. Kevin Earl says:

    Looking forward to seeing you on a bicycle battling the winds in Box Hill, being the population is aging. Where do you put your walking sticks on the bicycle? Enjoy my time in Brunswick, where there many bicycles being used, but where in Box Hill is there a parking spot for a sit down bicycle to be parked, or a 3 wheeler, or a trailer for the kids or a bicycle built for 2? Have spent time helping care for a man on a bicycle, in the middle of Middleburgh road, no bicycle lanes. Can list the bicycle paths on 1 hand in Box Hill, Where is the public transport after 12 midnight, did some one say get taxi, the night rider on a Saturday or Sunday. Think many questions need to be answered before we all rely on bicycles or walking, Even the SRLA will not run 24/7.

    Like

    • WATAG says:

      Thanks for you comments Kevin. WATAG had been advocating for years for planning in Box Hill that is for the future not our past perceptions if it.
      There is so much redevelopment happening in Box Hill that it’s almost like a greenfields site, and the enjoyment you get in Brunswick should be able to be built into Box Hill as it grows. It needs even more advocacy than we can put forward to try and make this happen.

      Like

  3. We should not blindly assume that “we need to get more people taking public transit.” There are two reasons why more people on public transit may not reduce emissions. First, as Justine said, “modal transfer is often quite low for drivers.” Census results support this. The proportion of Canberra commuters who drove cars increased from 2011 to 2016, despite increases in walking, cycling and public transport. Second, emissions from public transport are often comparable to or greater than emissions from the car transport that it displaces. For examples, see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/greenhouse-emissions-from-travel-sydney-leon-arundell/

    Like

    • WATAG says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. So many blind assumptions are made about people’s need for, and chosen mode of, movement.
      The recommended book “Movement” will challenge most people’s blind assumptions. We need much more thought about people’s need for movement.
      The graph you link to is interesting. So many times we can see a mega-tonne diesel bus roaming the suburbs with very few passengers and obviously very high carbon footprint/person. But some people need to commute by bus and the existing bus services are, in many cases quite deficient in their frequency. It’s a challenge to ensure that all people are thought of when movement solutions are proposed. However Australia has a very low take-up of low-carbon-footprint walking and cycling for the most common short journeys people take. Which is one reason WATAG advocates very strongly to maximise opportunities for, and the safety and desirability of, walking and cycling.

      Like

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