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VicHealth applauds council pop-up cycle lanes and footpaths

VicHealth applauds council pop-up cycle lanes and footpaths
August 28, 2020

VicHealth is applauding Victorian councils for creating pop-up cycle lanes and footpaths, so locals can easily travel by bike or foot when COVID-19 restrictions ease.

A new VicHealth survey reveals three in four (76%) Victorians want local and state governments to adapt infrastructure so more people can walk or ride.

VicHealth polled 1,000 Victorians about their attitudes and behaviours towards travel before, during and after Coronavirus restrictions. One in three (35%) Victorians planned to travel more by foot or bike than they did pre-Coronavirus when restrictions ease, but safety was a barrier for many.

VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs, Kirstan Corben noted it was encouraging to see councils create environments that promote walking and riding for both transport and recreation.

Corben adds “since the Coronavirus pandemic began, it’s been fantastic to see Victorian councils like the City of Moreland, City of Yarra, City of Melbourne and City of Greater Bendigo make changes so it’s easier for residents and commuters to walk, ride or scoot around their communities for enjoyment during lockdown and travel when restrictions allow.

“Some councils converted carparks and local streets into bike lanes, while others are installing more zebra crossings for pedestrians or reducing speed limits. We’re calling on other councils to follow suit.”

The VicHealth survey also found that one in two Victorians are concerned about travel to work, study and other appointments when restrictions ease.

For regional councils, where construction is allowed under the current stage 3 restrictions, now is a golden opportunity to upgrade infrastructure so locals can travel easily when restrictions lift.

In metro Melbourne, where stage 4 restrictions are expected to lift on Sunday 13th September, councils are being urged to prepare to build back better when it comes to active transport and healthy living.

Corben also highlighted “our survey shows people want to walk or ride to places like work, university, school or the shops when restrictions ease, but they’re concerned about their safety. Walking and riding is great for our physical and mental health during and after lockdown, and our environment and local businesses benefit too.

“Making temporary and permanent infrastructure changes can help Victorians feel comfortable and confident about active travel and ensure they can maintain at least 1.5metre from other people.

“No one wants to see an increase in commute times and traffic on our roads when restrictions lift. With Coronavirus restrictions still in place across Victoria and so many people embracing walking and riding, councils have a rare opportunity to get their pop-up bike lanes and footpaths ready for when everyone goes back to work, study and other activities.

“Local councils, the state government, workplaces and individuals all have a role to play in making it easier for Victorians to get around when restrictions ease. Let’s work together to build on the healthy walking and riding momentum, and keep people moving."

About the survey:

  • The survey attracted 1,000 respondents (771 based in metropolitan Melbourne and 226 located across regional Victoria).
  • The research involved a quantitative measure of community behaviours and attitudes to a range of issues relative to the Coronavirus environment in which people are now living.
  • The community feedback was collected in June 2020 via an online survey.
  • The final sample mix was controlled to ensure it reflected a representative sample of the total Victorian population across gender, age (18+) and metro/regional home location.

Image courtesy of RACV 

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