Active travel has boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the ACT Government to remind motorists travelling through Canberra’s suburbs to slow down.
ACT Minister for Roads and Active Travel, Chris Steel, said ‘slower streets’ is a community initiative that encourages motorists to slow down and be mindful that there are more people out and about in the neighbourhood walking and cycling.
“This is not an enforceable requirement. It is simply a request to people driving to be on the look-out for their neighbours who are walking and cycling through residential streets,” Mr Steel said.
“This initiative may even help to address a significant issue of motorists travelling around corners too fast, making them unprepared for any hazard ahead such as a person walking on the road or riding a bike.”
The ACT Government is working with residents’ groups to install signs to remind people to slow down and look out for one another. The residents of Aranda, Crace, Downer and Farrer will notice slow down signage has been installed at various locations around their suburbs.
The decision follows a call in late April from Australian health and transport experts, sent to all State and Territory transport ministers, to enact urgent measures to support safe walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Ben Beck, from the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, led the call and is concerned paths and cycleways are inadequate to handle the physical activity requirement during this crisis.
Experts also noted safe cycling and walking will be imperative in reactivating the economy when social distancing measures are relaxed, enabling people to travel to work and school using transport modes that are both safe and healthy.
Minister Steel said the ACT Government would like to sustain the increase in walking and cycling beyond the pandemic, and “at an appropriate time, welcome commuters back onto public transport”.
To encourage active travel to continue long term, Mr Steel said the ACT Government is “fast-tracking new and upgraded paths throughout the Territory and we will soon be licensing e-scooter share schemes so that more mobility options are available to Canberrans.”
For more on the slower streets initiative including how to take part, visit www.transport.act.gov.au
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