traffic-pollution

Below is  submission to the City of Greater Geelong Environment Management Strategy draft. Let us know what you think.


We recommend important changes to page 21 of the draft –  this part particularly:

Transport

  • Influence – Number of bicycle riders counted on ‘Super Tuesday’ (held annually in March) Increase
  • Influence – Length of dedicated bicycle paths Increase
  • Influence – Number of school bus users (from Department Education records) Increase

Increasing the number of people who bike, walk or use the bus has many important social and environmental impacts. However, the targets for transport in thisstrategy are not well defined. I believe CoGG could achieve these targets without effort –  Greater Geelong’s strong population growth (say an increase of 2,000 – 3,000 people) would almost guarantee:

  • a few more bike riders on super tuesday
  • a few more kids on a school bus
  • and a few more metres of asphalt on the end of a bike path.

Our suggestions below aim to give the targets defined goals (our changes/additions in red):

Transport

1.       Influence – Number of bicycle riders counted on ‘Super Tuesday’ (held annually in March), ‘Ride to Work Day’ and from the ABS ‘journey to work’ statistics – 5% increase

An  ‘increase’ of just one rider per year on super Tuesday could indicate a target reached for the sustainable transport. But it would only be a indicator of business as usual –  our aims have to be concrete. If 1000 people ride on ‘super tuesday’, we should try to get 1050. We need a defined number increase to drive an effort to achieve. Also we need to measure other data… One count on one day cannot be an indicator growth in active transport. There is more data that should be included eg: ABS journey to work data.

2.       Influence Direct – Length of dedicated bicycle paths established by CoGG  – 5% Increase

CoGG are directly responsible for the provision of bike lanes on COGG roads and all off-road bike paths… We should increase and measure bike lanes on roads projects funded(part or fully) by CoGG. Vicroads funded projects should not be included as an indicator. This way we measure CoGG contribution to actual enhancements to bike paths.

An ‘increase’ that can be just 10 meters can count as a successful –  this would not be doing the environment justice…  We need to make targets clear. An extra 10 km of off-road paths(5% increase) or on-road lanes is not out of reach.

4.       Influence – Number of school bus users (from Department Education records/PTA) Increase

There is no need to only target kids on school bus journeys. An ageing population will benefit from a useful bus service. Journey to work by drivers are regular trips that people could get into the habit of catching the bus if it was quick, easy or cheaper. Measurements have to really specific – It’s no good increasing bus trips when can trips increase two fold.

5.       Influence – number or trips by vehicle  – % decrease

  • For this strategy to move to increase low carbon mobility. An indicator of success would be the reduction in single vehicle trips (10 more bike trips is meaningless for lowering emission if we have 1000 more car trips).

Example: ABS journey to work data for Greater Geelong in 2006-2011 (cited in the CoGG annual report for ‘increasing active transport’) had this result;

      • 5 less people walking to work
      • 19 more people riding to work
      • 319 more bus users
      • 6,655 more car trips to work…  

If transport stats for 2013-2017 were similar, we would be increasing emissions and speeding up climate change.

In Melbourne in 2006, motor vehicle emissions were 72 per cent of all carbon monoxide (CO) emissions says the EPA. Assuming Geelong’s vehicles are our largest carbon emitter, it should be one of the highest priorities for this strategy. An optimistic vehicle transport reduction target must be set.

I realise this could be very difficult to achieve, but it should not stop us from confronting the one of the largest problems the world is facing.

Tony G

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