Our submission to the Geelong Council Budget for your information:
Attention Manager Financial Services,
Please consider this submission from Bicycle Users Geelong regarding the City of Greater Geelong proposed budget 2016-2017.
This year’s budget…
We’ve noted the improvement in funding for the upcoming budget.
- Implementation of the Geelong Cycling Strategy 2008 – 2013 ($200k)
- Shared riding/walking paths improvements ($200k)
- Moorabool Street/Barwon river shared bike/walk ramp improvements ($500k).
We are happy that this has increased from last year’s budget, and from years gone by.
However, this is not enough to get more people riding, walking, using public transport or reduce car dependence – which is the city’s agenda.
In the budget draft, we’ve noted:
- $0.8million for new roads
- an overall road budget of $18million (a $2.4million increase in funding for ‘roads’)
- $4.99million from the federal government’s Roads to Recovery projects
The information below sets out our understanding of the City’s agenda and aims to demonstrate a complete and clear need to spend money on infrastructure that discourages car use by getting people riding, walking or using public transport.
Riding for transport is the City’s agenda
There has been at least 15 strategies since 2003 that say the City should prioritise riding, walking and public transport or reduce car dependence.
“The Strategy, while acknowledging the ongoing role of cars and other motorised vehicles, also considers the need to reduce car dependence through better integration of transport and land use planning and by better promoting other modes of travel such as walking, cycling and public transport.” – Geelong transport strategy 2003
- Geelong transport strategy 2003
- Walking More Walking Safely 2004
- Western Wedge framework 2005
- Retail strategy 2006
- Central Geelong Structure Plan 2007
- City Plan 2009 – 2013
- SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: Infrastructure Development Guidelines 2009
- City Plan 2013-2017
- City of Greater Geelong and Wyndham City Council Urban Heat Island report 2013
- Central Geelong Action Plan 2013
- Geelong Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017
- Central Geelong Car Parking & Access Strategy 2014
- Environment Management Strategy 2014
- Greater Geelong Physical Activity Strategy 2014 – 2017
- Geelong Integrated Comprehensive Transport Plan 2014
These strategies were all publicly available or are currently. They provide a clear case to avoid spending money on roads that encourages driving.
Greater Geelong’s car dependence
Car dependence could be described as:
“Automobile dependence is when a city or area of a city assumes automobile use as the dominant imperative in its decisions on transportation, infrastructure and land use. Other modes thus become increasingly peripheral, marginal or non-existent until there are no real options for passenger travel other than the automobile.”
The following data provides a snapshot of the car dependence issue for Geelong.
The ABS data from 2006 – 2011
- +17 daily riders
- +6,655 daily drivers
The issue has been recognised since 2007 by the City:
“Central Geelong is also highly car dependent. A range of measures are needed to make walking and cycling more attractive and safer.” Central Geelong Structure Plan 2007
The City, as custodians of Greater Geelong have failed to stop or slow the increase in car usage. The City has not provided adequate transport options that support its own agenda
Why is active transport important
Bicycle riding for transport that reduces car use provides many important benefits to our community, like:
- healthier residents and lower health costs
- reduced pollution and lower carbon footprint compared to vehicles transport
- reduced traffic congestion
- reduced demand for parking
- reduced road maintenance costs.
Our feedback on the budget
We request that the budget for new roads ($0.8million) be reassigned to active transport initiatives. While we’re unaware of the nature of these new roads (they are not individually listed in the budget), we anticipate they are not intended to reduce car dependence, which is clearly contrary to the City’s agenda and should not proceed.
We also ask that the Federal Roads to Recovery fundings ($4.99million) and any subsequent funding from other grants be only assigned to roads projects if they are determined to reduce car dependence or encourage more sustainable modes of transport (like riding, walking or public transport).
We ask the City review its expenditure on new roads in this budget and only support road infrastructure that aims to takes cars off the road or clearly prioritise riding, walking or public transport.
Thanks for your time.
Bicycle Users Geelong
(City of Greater Geelong Cycling advisory Committee member)