Active Whitehorse News – May/June 2020

Active Transport for Everyone

Nathan enjoys his bike very much!

Nathan lives in Blackburn and loves his bike. It enables him to enjoy the open air in a different way to being in a wheelchair. His mother Vivien helps him manage the bike safely. His family bought it in Adelaide six years ago, so its been able to be adjusted to suit him over that time. Vivien takes him in a wheelchair at other times.

But being active isn’t always easy!

One of the problems people in wheelchairs, mobility carts and those who are not so fleet-of-foot face, is the instability when using footpath ramps crossing onto roads.

Whitehorse has a legacy of many crossings similar to the one shown. Last year WATAG asked Council to include a budget allocation specifically for these to be progressively replaced over a period of years without residents having to request this.

As noted by Council on its Facebook page recently, an officer inspects 400km of footpaths each year, and completes the city’s 1200 km of footpaths every 3 years. So Council has the means to be aware of crossings which would be a challenge to Daniel and so many others.

WATAG ‘s request to fund a program for crossing upgrades was added as a last minute amendment to last year’s budget. (Refer to the article in our Sept/Oct 2019 Newsletter).
It’s very disappointing to see that the draft budget now before Council does not include this an an ongoing item. We have asked that this be restored, and suggest that you contact your local Councillor and ask them to support this.

See the following item for WATAG’s current draft budget submission .

If you see a crossover that looks like the one in the photo above, use Snap Send Solve to let Council know it needs fixing. Council fully endorses using Snap Send Solve this way.

Nathan and many others will thank you for it!

Here’s what’s in this edition

Whitehorse budget inequity

Last year WATAG highlighted the great inequity of capital expenditure in Whitehorse.

Unfortunately, the draft budget for 2020-2021 continues this gross inequity.

The graph below shows that 18% of the population will receive a massive 79% of the budget related to recreation.

Why does a footballer, golfer, swimmer or other sport participant requiring specialized infrastructure have such an advantage over the rest of the community who like to walk, ride or simply enjoy our parks for leisure?

WATAG is NOT against sport participation, but this situation is simply not equitable, and it’s a persistent inequity evident for years now.

Here’s the WATAG submission to the Council for you to scroll through.

Action needed now

WATAG has proposed to Council that it undertake a fast-track the implementation of the city’s ‘Easy Rides’ cycling routes program. See above document.
We suggest immediately allocating $600,000 as part of Council’s Covid-19 response, to install sharrows on 100km of Council’s nominated Easy Ride routes.

Governments (at both levels) are encouraging the immediate implementation of ‘shovel-ready’ projects to create employment and have already announced several programs to provide funding for this. So it is possible that funding may become available to supplement an expenditure Council has already agreed it will spend over time anyway, as a result of adopting the Bicycle Strategy.

A very detailed report for WATAG, compiled by Committee Member Peter Carter, shows how this can be done. It has been sent to Council for their consideration.

Scroll through the report below.

Let your Councillors know if you agree!

The Economics of Walking

By Melissa Bruntlett – Mobycon

Walking is, in my opinion, one of the most often under-rated form of mobility. A lot of ink is spilled on the topics of driving and cycling, be it innovations, improvements or investments, and I would not argue there isn’t value in those discussions. However, the humble act of using the power of your own two feet–including adapted options for those with personal mobility limitations–holds incredible power in providing completely self-sufficient mobility. Walking also holds myriad economic benefits for communities, and as we look ahead, this simple mode of travel could be the easy solution cities need to maintain and even bolster their economy.

Walking saves–and generates–money!

Walking our way to a bright economic future

Current events have left most cities in a state of economic uncertainty. Small businesses and local entrepreneurs in particular are having to be creative in finding ways to generate income while their customer base is staying home, and most wonder if they’ll weather the storm. At the same time, we are seeing a groundswell of support for local businesses. This, combined with more of us walking in our communities, could prove to be the magic combination of not just helping them entrepreneurs survive, but even thrive in the days and months to come.

Read the full article here.

What If?

Know your rules

Here’s an RACV reminder about bikes and the road rules.

What’s a bike boat?

This will amaze you. Both German and English commentary!

A survey – Our life at home

How have you managed with exercise whilst being effectively kept at home?
This study lets you help the researchers find out!
Click here to participate

First Victoria-built electric bus

It gets thumbs up from a bus expert

Volgren-BYD bus

The new bus is a “route bus” Volgren Optimus body on a Chinese BYD DR9A 860 (K9) chassis, with 16 battery packs adding up to 324kWh capacity, giving it around 300km and using a little under 1kW of power per kilometre driven.

For details check here

8 Principles to Better Sidewalks

If done right, better sidewalks can lead to people-friendly streets and cities. Photo by Mariana Gil/WRI Brasil

By Hillary Smith and Paula Manoela dos Santos    October 8, 2019

This is an excellent article with clear drawings to illustrate each of the principles.

Clear drawings for each principle
  1. Proper Sizing
  2. Universal Accessibility
  3. Safe Connections
  4. Clear Signage
  5. Attractive Spaces
  6. Security
  7. Quality Surfaces
  8. Efficient Drainage

Livable sidewalks following these principles can now be found in many cities in Brazil and around the world where city leaders have decided to move toward people-centered public spaces. Enhancing the quality of sidewalks is about prioritizing infrastructure for people instead of cars, giving the many ways we use the sidewalk the attention it deserve.

Read the original article here, or download the full study the article is based on.

Bikes don’t scare off customers

Article from Bicycle Network Newsroom 22nd April 2020

Another study has found that building better bike infrastructure through shopping districts does not result in economic damage to local traders.

Mostly it is actually the other way around: business rises sharply for many merchants.

The National Street Improvements Study was conducted by Portland State University researched the economic effects of bicycle infrastructure on 14 corridors across six cities in the United States — Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis, Minneapolis and Indianapolis.

Key findings were:

  • Street improvements had either positive or non-significant impacts on corridor employment and sales.
  • The food service industry seems to benefit the most from the addition of active transportation infrastructure. Even in cases where a motor vehicle travel lane or parking was removed to make room for a bike lane, food sales and employment tended to go up.
  • The retail sector benefits somewhat from the addition of active transportation infrastructure.

Click for the Bicycle Network article

Click to read the full study

Bike or Gym?

Riding a bike is 39 times better than going to the gym, Queenslanders say

“The numbers are irrefutable – Queenslanders want to be active, whether it’s about getting to work or getting some exercise.” says Bicycle Queensland CEO Rebecca Randazzo “We need to provide safe spaces for people to ride, and the time to act is now.”

78% of Queenslanders who have taken up bike riding for exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic prefer bike riding over going back to the gym.

This is one of the findings in a survey commissioned by Bicycle Queensland, which had more than 3000 responses from new and existing bike riders over the past two weeks.

Bike riding and sales of bicycles have boomed during the home confinement phase of COVID-19 restrictions, as Queenslanders seized the opportunity to get out of the house once a day for exercise. Families with children being home-schooled also were grateful for the chance to be outside, often riding together for the first time.

Read the full article here.

Dunlavin Rd and Rooks Rd

There is a solution to the problems at this intersection detailed in our last newsletter.

WATAG members have good experience from past professional work, and because we keep on top of best-practice in the world of Active Transport. We have prepared the following suggestion based on best-practice design, and have discussed it with local Ward Councillors and local Members of Parliament.

Here’s the current situation.
Here’s WATAG’s proposed Protected Intersection

Scroll through the full presentation shown below and make up your own mind.


It should be noted that this is a vital link for implementation of the Easy Ride routes (noted in the article above) which are part of Council’s strategy.

Over to you Victorian Department of Transport (VicRoads) and Whitehorse Council!

Transformation IS possible

If you wanted to cycle straight-on in the before situation (top photo) you had to position yourself in between two rows of (sometimes moving) motor vehicles. A terrible place for anyone, but especially for a child.

The new (current) situation is completely different. Motor vehicles have their own space and so do people cycling. The separation in place and time is huge.

This is a Dutch example from the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Read the full article posted by Mark Wagenbuur of Bicycle Dutch – 29 April 2020.

Oh … and in case you are wondering, the population of ‘s Hertogen Bosch is slightly less than City of Whitehorse. Maybe WATAG’s Dunlavin/Whitehorse/Rooks solution shown above CAN be more than just an idea!

AND… Victoria now has its first Protected Intersection at Albert & Landsdowne Streets Melbourne. Check out this video of how it works.

As you can see – Transformation IS possible.

Box Hill – Here we come?

DHL photo – Electric delivery bikes for Miami

With Whitehorse Currently considering a new Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS) for Box Hill (see last newsletter) one idea suggested in WATAG’s response (see below) was to recommend that an enhanced opportunity for use of cargo bikes be studied.

Check this article out to find out what DHL Express and Miami are doing.

How about it Whitehorse?

Oh… and do let us know what YOU think! We’ll pass your comments on.

Box Hill ITS update

Scroll through WATAG’s recent response to the draft ITS Strategy for Box Hill.



Eastern suburbs rail trail investigations begin

From Bicycle Network Newsroom 21st May 2020

The 11 kilometre route’s catchment houses a demographic that suggests it could generate many more bike commuters than are currently counted.

The under-provision of decent bike facilities is clearly suppressing the growth of riding in Hawthorn, Camberwell, Canterbury, Surrey Hills, Mont Albert and surrounding suburbs.

The existing on-road options from the east such as Burwood Road, Canterbury Road and Riversdale Road are only suitable for the brave, experienced and skilled riders.

Read the full article here

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)?
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, meet new people and take up a physical activity for your health then explore our 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.

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.

A question for YOU

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!

2 Responses to Active Whitehorse News – May/June 2020

  1. scott green says:

    excellent newsletter , always enjoy it. just out of interest i rode through lansdowne/albert st east melb yesterday. new marking is good , especially if you start on a light change. but if you travel straight through and a car turns left , riders are still in danger . the vicroads graphic does not show this scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

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