Joint City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park Bike Plan, Australia

Developing Western Australia’s first ever joint bike plan

For the first time in Western Australia, a bike plan has been developed across two adjacent Council areas. The plan provides a long-term vision for a strategic cycling network over the City of South Perth and Town of Victoria Park areas, and a short-term implementation plan. The overall intent is to double the number of people cycling in these areas over the next five years.

The bike plan was developed in line with the State Government’s Perth and Peel Transport Plan@3.5million, a long-term growth strategy for land use and infrastructure provision as the region continues to grow. It intends to increase the off-road commuter and recreational cycleways from approximately 172 km in 2016, to 850 km by 2050.

In addition to the plan’s infrastructure improvements, Aurecon developed a range of supporting initiatives. A comprehensive list of behaviour change initiatives and innovative trial projects were included as part of this, with the intent to improve the user experience and differentiate the area from its surrounds.

Pedalling forward in partnership

This is the first time two local governments have worked together to deliver a bike plan in Western Australia, achieving consistent outcomes and benefits for the local cycling community.

The project required close consultation with the project working group that included representatives from the City of South Perth, Town of Victoria Park, and the Department of Transport. Together, Aurecon, the project working group and departments within the two councils, developed the future cycle network with improved safety and convenience for cyclists.

Two wheels to the plan

The bike plan consisted of two key components:

  • A long-term strategic plan for cycling within the two local government areas, including capital investment works
  • A 5-year implementation plan of priority projects to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes

Work-related trips to the Perth CBD were considered key with shorter travel times than by car possible with prioritisation and strong network design.

Following the path of design-led principals

Aurecon followed a set of internationally-recognised bike path design-led principals to develop the bike plan. One such principal was the concept of 880 cities, that if everything we do in our public spaces is great for an 8-year-old, and an 80-year-old, then it will be great for everyone. The resulting bike plan considers the 880 concept in its recommendations, to allow for a safe and practical cycle network for all users.

The plan included a detailed evaluation of existing cycling conditions and involved significant stakeholder and community consultation, with the overarching intent to intimately understand the user needs.

Stakeholder interviews were conducted with an extensive range of local and state government agencies, and community groups including Bicycling Western Australia and the South Perth Bicycle User Group. The knowledge and input gained from stakeholders was critical in shaping the recommendations of the bike plan. The plan will be reviewed every five years to assess the progress and further optimise the network.

The communities came for the ride

To develop the bike plan, the local community was invited to provide feedback on their cycling needs with the aim of identifying common routes, existing issues, barriers to cycling, and desired locations to improve or provide additional facilities and infrastructure.

The feedback was requested through one or all of the following methods:

  • Completion of a survey (online or hard copy)
  • Input into an interactive online mapping tool
  • Attendance at a community workshop

The interactive online mapping tool was open to the public for one month, and allowed members of the community to place pins on a map and comment according to the following:

  • ‘Bike issue’ (red pin) – may include locations where there are missing links, unsafe crossings, lights, or other issues relating to the cycling experience
  • ‘I enjoy riding here’ (green pin) – may include locations that are enjoyable to ride, have great end of trip facilities (i.e. bicycle parking, lockers, showers) or are notable for other reasons.
  • ‘Bike idea’ (yellow pin) – may include locations that are not necessarily unsafe or an issue, however, would like to see an improvement.

Workshops were held using a user-centric, design-led approach. This involved empathising with the end-user ‘cyclist’, to focus on all of the cycling issues within the area, voting on key issues, and then prototyping solutions that would help achieve the desired outcomes of the plan.

One key outcome here was that the community wanted to continue its involvement, and Aurecon engaged further with each Council to organise a final workshop, which allowed the community to verify the appropriateness of each of the recommendations. This second workshop significantly contributed to the project’s success, achieving acceptance and buy-in from both the community and Council, with endorsement attained in 2018.

As more people take up cycling, and cycle network infrastructure continues to improve, there can only be more positive environmental health, economic, and physical health and wellbeing benefits.

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