Yarra Active Transport Campaign

After the  Yarra Bicycle Strategy … what next?

The City of Yarra had a Bicycle Strategy that ran from 2010–2015, and saw the establishment of a number of bicycle routes throughout Yarra. There was a refresh of the Strategy in 2016. The second phase of the Wellington St Copenhagen bike lane has been funded and will commence soon.

YCAN believes that for a municipality with a rapidly growing population, like Yarra, it is essential for the bicycle strategy to be ongoing. Routes need to be audited, to see which ones are working, which ones aren’t and how they can be improved. Links between the existing bicycle routes should also be factored into future budgets.

Many people walk to destinations within Yarra, and this practice needs to be encouraged and increased with careful thought going into improving walking routes. Vehicles always get priority. Often people walking to destinations are forced to use indirect routes because of insufficient and badly placed pedestrian crossings.

Use of public transport also needs to be made easier, with easy walking access to stations and adequate bicycle parking facilities.

YCAN is now lobbying for an ongoing Active Transport Strategy to cover all of these transport issues.

The City of Yarra facilitates the rapid growth of population with planning permission for high-rise apartments. It must also develop a concurrent plan to discourage new residents from driving cars.

Benefits of Active Transport

Active Transport Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Every time Yarra residents make decisions to walk, cycle or take public transport instead of driving, they are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We all need to think about every car trip we plan to make, and if it can be replaced with active transport.

Transport is responsible for 19% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions[1]. Choosing active transport wherever possible is part of what we all must do in a climate emergency.

Active Transport Reduces Local Pollution

Vehicles that run on fossil fuels release toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides as waste products. They also produce particulate matter, tiny particles of unburned carbon. These pollutants can result in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, bronchitis, and asthma. It results in an estimated 900 to 2000 deaths in Australia each Year[2].

Active Transport Increases Exercise

Walking and cycling increases exercise which brings health benefits such as a decrease in obesity, lung cancer, heart disease and depression[3]. Active transport is good for your health.

Active Transport Saves Money

Individuals who walk, cycle and take public transport save money on the costs of running a car. Communities that are designed to make active transport easier can reduce household costs, reduce social isolation and improve health and wellbeing[4]

Governments save billions of dollars on health costs and road deterioration.

YCAN’s Active Transport Campaign

We have recently begun a campaign to lobby the City of Yarra to introduce an ongoing Active Transport Strategy. We kicked it off by asking a Public Question at the council meeting held on 2 April 2019.

Then  we made further submissions to Council when the 2019–20120 budget was introduced.

Public Question re  Active Transport Strategy Apr 2019

Submission re Draft Yarra Budget 2019–20 May 2019

Verbal submission to Council Budget 2019–2020 Jun 2019

When the final 2019–20 Budget was released, it we were pleased to see funding for the completion of the Wellington Street Copenhagen Bicycle Lane and other bicycle infrastructure, as well as money to develop an Integrated Transport Strategy and Parking Management Plan. However, it was disappointing to see that there was no indication that Council had heard our calls for an emphasis on increasing destination walking.

As the end of 2019 approaches, a draft Integrated Transport Strategy is still a long way off. But we will continue to campaign as the next budget cycle approaches.

 

[1] Australia’s Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2018, Climate Council https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CC_MVSA0143-Briefing-Paper-Australias-Rising-Emissions_V8-FA_Low-Res_Single-Pages.pdf

[2] Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action 2012, Climate and Health Alliance and Climate Institute

[3] Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action 2012, Climate and Health Alliance and Climate Institute

[4] Our Uncashed Dividend: The Health Benefits of Climate Action 2012, Climate and Health Alliance and Climate Institute