WalkSydney supports Budget Submission for safe routes to school pilot

Local organisations in Wollongong have partnered to support a budget proposal for an active travel intervention.

WalkSydney supports the joint submission by Healthy Cities Illawarra, Safe-Streets-to-School and 30Please for an active travel pilot. It fits well into the NSW budget framework: The NSW Outcome Budgeting is a performance management approach which starts the conversation by asking

  • what outcome is being pursued,
  • how success can be tracked,
  • what policy options have evidence of achieving that goal and, finally,
  • the cost of alternate policy approaches. 

Key to the $10 million proposal is implementing 30km/h limits on most local roads and increasing crossing and footpaths on all arterial roads within 2km of schools.

Kelly Andrews, CEO, Healthy Cities Illawarra said momentum for the submission increased after Wollongong’s announcement as a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Bike City. 

“Wollongong being named ‘Bike City’ is an enormous win for the region, however, there are many opportunities to improve the cycling infrastructure in our neighbourhoods to make recreational and cycling for transport easier and safer,” she said.

“We have huge numbers of children being driven to school when they live less than 2km away – this is because of safety concerns, but it also causes traffic congestion. The introduction of lower speed limits and better connectivity for walking and cycling to school will have significant outcomes for health, road safety, the environment and connecting to community.”

In addition to health and safety benefits, Lena Huda, founder of 30please.org, a community group advocating for reduced speed limits said 30km limits provided significant social benefits.

“When streets are seen as being safer for children, parents are more likely to allow them to walk and cycle to school and to other places. Freedom to independently explore local neighbourhoods and to partake in outdoor play is vital for children’s emotional, social and cognitive development,”

Working action group, Safe Street to Schools, has already gained significant ground in advocating for safer streets. Their message is simple – Stop putting children in danger!

“Safe Streets to School is about more kids walking and riding safely to school,” said founder, Jon Lindley.

“Kids want to walk and ride to school but sadly, poor infrastructure and outdated traffic management plans in our LGA do not provide the safe streets they need,”

“If we’re successful with the submission, we’ll be able to ensure there are increased pedestrian priority crossings and footpaths on surrounding school streets.”

Details on the proposal and a cost benefit analysis can be found here:

Published by Lena Huda

Lena is the founder of 30Please.org. She grew up on a quiet residential street in Germany, where 30km/h speed limits were implemented in the 80’s. From 6 years old, all children in the neighbourhood either walked or cycled to school. It was normal for children to play on the streets. Lena believes Australia needs to experience lower speed limits to grasp the positive effect on everyone’s day to day life and make it finally possible for all Australians to appreciate walking and cycling as a mode of transport, not just a recreational activity. Before moving to Australia in October in 2019, Lena has had a successful career working in senior positions for major investment banks in London. The COVID19 crisis, gave her time to reflect upon contributions she could make to society so she decided to dedicate time to launch 30Please.org. Inspired by the successful 20’s Plenty for Us campaign from the UK and by a research paper calling to reduce the default speed limit of 50km/h to 30km/h published by the British Academy “If you could do one thing…” https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/cdn-nrspp/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/03/21123659/dannydorling_publication_id3924.pdf Lena decided to campaign for lower speed limits. This is a science-backed low-cost measure that would save lives, prevent injuries, reduce health inequalities, reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, promote stronger communities, enable more walking and cycling and reduce obesity. Lena lives in Wollongong council and started her campaign in her local neighbourhood. https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/6789059/illawarra-motorists-back-a-cut-to-speed-limits-in-residential-areas/

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