Tragedy, Sadness and Healing

Tragedy in the North

Climbing the Great Wall at Moonarie Gap

Climbing the Great Wall at Moonarie Gap

The news that two climbers had died at Moonarie Gap, on the escarpments of Wilpena Pound, came out of nowhere. Immediate thoughts were with the families and friends of the two young men. We learnt that the cliff at Moonarie is a renowned climbing destination so thoughts included the local and international climbing communities. But the effect on the traditional custodians of the land was a wake-up call for the climbing and the walking communities alike.

The reaction of the Adnyamathanha, the indigenous nation of the northern Flinders Ranges, was unexpected. It was immediately evident that an impact on climbing and walking in, around and beyond the Wilpena Pound was a distinct possibility. I am a back-packing walker of the northern Flinders Ranges going back to the 1960s and a Heysen Trail end-to-ender but this was new to me. What should I think? What should we think? How should we react, if at all?

Map of where Moonarie Gap is on Wilpena Pound

I wrestled considerably with my thoughts, and the thoughts of others, until I came to three words: Respect, Listen, Learn. This story is about the follow-up of users of this wonderful country, in recent times and over thousands of years.

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Conference Presentation: Getting More Green Man Time

Walking SA Board member, Ian Radbone, presented at the 2019 Australian Walking & Cycling Conference which was held in Port Adelaide on 24 & 25 October 2019. The theme of the conference was Active Transport in a Changing Climate.

Presentation: Getting More Green Man Time

Pedestrian phase + cycle time. Flashing src=Australia has developed the most sophisticated traffic light management in the world, designed to minimize the disruption to traffic flow caused by intersections. How does this management apply to Adelaide’s CBD, characterised as it is by:

  1. being a city centre
  2. having a strong orthogonal (grid) street network and
  3. wide roadways?

How is the imperative to minimize traffic disruption reconciled with the professed political priority for walking over other transport modes? This paper explores the options to gain more green man time.

View Walking SA’s Position Statement on The Green Man: Improving pedestrian signal phasing at intersections and other signalised crossing points. Walking SA calls for the development of state-wide pedestrian traffic signal guidelines. Walking SA calls for councils to review pedestrian signal phasing at intersections and crossing points in busy pedestrian areas, in order to reduce pedestrian wait times.

About Ian Radbone

Ian Radbone, member of Walking SA BoardIan has a passion for active transport, particularly in urban areas. Ian is a former chair of the Bicycle Institute of SA but has also been recruited to the Board of Walking SA to promote walking as a transport activity.

With a background in transport research, town planning and public policy at the UniSA, he has a wealth of experience in transport planning, advocacy and policy development.

Conference Presentation: Measuring walking and walkability

Walking SA Board member, Bill Gehling, presented at the 2019 Australian Walking & Cycling Conference which was held in Port Adelaide on 24 & 25 October 2019. The theme of the conference was Active Transport in a Changing Climate.

Presentation: Measuring walking and walkability

Along with breathing clean air and drinking clean water, walking is so much a given in our lives that people rarely think about it. Until they can’t. Bill will discuss why measuring walking is important, and the challenges in doing so. We will explore some practical methods to measure walking and how they differ from the ways we measure car and bicycle traffic. We will also discuss walkability, which are the causal factors that encourage or discourage walking in the community. We’ll look at the new technologies becoming available to measure walking and walkability.

View the supporting Technical Notes.

About Bill Gehling

Bill has a lifetime’s love of walking and cycling, as well as a career in science, information technology and policy, measuring and counting things that matter. He is on the Board of Walking SA.

Government review of Pastoral Act may impact access for recreational bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges

What is the issue?

The State Government is seeking input in order to review the Pastoral Act.

Much of the land in the Flinders Ranges north of Hawker is not private freehold land but instead is leased from the State Government to pastoralists to undertake grazing ventures1, and recognises the rights of Aboriginal people.

As the land is leased, people can undertake recreational off-trail bushwalking in these remote locations. They must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios. To clarify, by “off-trail bushwalking” we often mean following old vehicle tracks, or walking in a low impact environment, and can include camping for a few nights.

The Act also provides what are called Public Access Routes (PARs), which are often used by 4WDers for recreational use. They are well established and will likely probably remain, but our concerns are for access to other lands not part of PARs.

How could changes to Pastoral Act impact on recreational bushwalking? What are our concerns?

Currently, people intending to undertake bushwalks must notify the lessee of their intentions to walk, and the lessee can only deny access in certain scenarios. If support vehicles are to be used (or if the activity is recreational 4WDing), consent must be gained from the lessee.

Whilst we acknowledge that the Pastoral Act needs updating to allow for more flexible uses, including tourism and energy production, as well as the current need for cultural sensitivities, or mining activities, we’re concerned that access for recreational bushwalking may become restricted in these lands outside those limited, defined areas.

As tourism ventures are being considered to be included in the Act, this could further restrict access for recreational bushwalkers. We acknowledge that in some circumstances tourism ventures may be predicated on offering an exclusive access to experience the land, but would urge the Government to consider how this could adversely affect access for recreational bushwalking if it was widely implemented.

Who does this impact (in the context of undertaking recreational bushwalking)?

  1. Individuals doing self-planned self-guided bushwalking (in reality this is not individuals, but small groups of say 2-8 people)
  2. Bushwalking clubs, predominately those being Member Walking Clubs of Walking SA (the peak body for all forms of walking in South Australia), particularly those active in doing off-trail bushwalks north of Hawker, for instance Adelaide Bushwalkers, Friends of the Heysen Trail, and ARPA Bushwalkers (collective membership approx. 2,000 people) and other smaller walking clubs.

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  1. Pastoral land in South Australia covers 410,000 square kilometres of the state, comprising 324 leases. The management, condition and use of pastoral lands is provided for in the Pastoral Land Management and Conservation Act 1989. Link to Act.

Fact Sheet: Pedestrian safety and traffic crashes in metropolitan Adelaide

A review of road traffic crashes involving a pedestrian between 2013-2017

Fact Sheet - Pedestrian safety and traffic crashes in metropolitan Adelaide, A review of road traffic crashes involving a pedestrian between 2013-2017Here at Walking SA we’ve produced a one-page factsheet on crashes involving pedestrians in metropolitan Adelaide (Transport professionals prefer the term “crashes” to “accidents”, arguing that to call something an “accident” suggests that there’s nothing we could have done to avoid it.)

The factsheet uses data from the last five years to show where crashes involving pedestrians have occurred, both on a map and categorised by local council and the speed limit of the road.

The map also shows where the speed limit is 40km/h or less, and where slower speed limits are planned.

Two things stand out:

  • The City of Adelaide council is surrounded by neighbours that have at least some 40km/h zones (only the City of Burnside and City of West Torrens don’t.) All of the City of Unley’s residential streets are zone 40km/h. The City of Adelaide council by contrast sticks to 50 and 60km/h speed limits, with very limited exceptions: Victoria Square plaza, the western end of Hindley Street and the designated Shared Use Zones.
  • The City of Adelaide council has by far the highest number of pedestrian crashes of any council. In fact almost one in five pedestrians crashes for the whole State occur in the City of Adelaide council area.

The factsheet also includes a well-known graph from the State government’s Road Safety strategy that points out that your chances of surviving being hit by a car double if the speed of the vehicle is reduced from 50km/h to 40km/h.

If after looking at the fact sheet you would like further information, we have produced an interactive map for you to explore the data.

Walking SA thanks geo-spatial analyst Greg Vaughan for help in producing this factsheet.  We hope that it can be used to encourage safer speeds for pedestrians.

Walking SA Submission to 20 Year State Infrastructure Discussion Paper

Walking SA responded to a government discussion paper which outlines a plan for our state’s population growth over the next 20 years.

The paper by a newly formed independent body Infrastructure SA looked at a range of economic and social infrastructure options.

Walking SA strongly calls for walking to be considered as a fundamental form of transport and (foot) traffic, and that walking infrastructure is planned and funded accordingly.

Walkability will be key to the liveability of our state into the future.

Concerns about the development of private operator facilities by the Australian Walking Company on Kangaroo Island trails

Walking SA has concerns about the development of private operator facilities by the Australian Walking Company on the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail [reference source].

In summary:
We believe that appropriate and full consultation with all stakeholders is an essential part of any project that has community impact. We also highlight that any development of a wilderness area will have a detrimental impact upon the experience of those visiting the region. Any infrastructure should be of minimal impact on the local environment and the balance found between maintaining the environment and the walking activity that is being enhanced.

We’ve sent a letter highlighting our concerns to David Speirs MP, Minister for Environment and Water.

Key extracts of the letter are below, or view the full letter.

Walking SA believes that appropriate consultation with key stakeholders is an essential part of any project that has community impact. As a member of Friends of Parks we are concerned that the Friends of Parks communities on Kangaroo Island have not had their voice heard in an appropriate manner for the further development planned on the island contracted to the Australian Walking Company.

Walking SA has previously acknowledged the work done by your department in the establishment of the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. In fact the trail was recognised in our Walking SA Walking Awards of 2016 and we have been a strong advocate of the trail at our events, on our website and through social media.

We also welcome the development of experiences that allow more demographics of people to enjoy walking, however if this is perceived to be exclusive we believe this should not be to the detriment of the broader community.

Walking SA is aware of the rising tension across Australia at present in regard to the perceived development of commercial operators infrastructure on public trails. Walking SA’s member clubs and the walking community in general believe in the “leave no trace” approach to the environment that we walk through. Any infrastructure should be of minimal impact on the local environment and the balance found between maintaining the environment and the walking activity that is being enhanced.

Walking SA also raises that any development of a wilderness area will have a detrimental impact upon the experience of those visiting the region.

Walking SA strongly encourages you as Minister to ensure there is a process for

  • The Friends of Parks communities on Kangaroo Island and other concerned citizens to have their views heard on this development, and
  • that the Department in consultation with the Kangaroo Island community work collaboratively to achieve an outcome with the Australian Walking Company that minimises the impact on the pristine Kangaroo Island environment.

Walking SA has signed the Walk 21 International Charter for Walking

Rodney Tolley (middle) with Walking SA Executive Officer, Greg Boundy, and Walking SA Chair Tuesday Udell, having signed the Walk21 International Charter for Walking

Rodney Tolley (middle) with Walking SA Executive Officer, Greg Boundy, and Walking SA Chair Tuesday Udell, having signed the Walk21 International Charter for Walking

Today we here at Walking SA have signed the Walk21 International Charter for Walking to confirm our commitment to supporting the creation of communities where people choose to walk.

We are pleased to have supported Dr Rodney Tolley’s visit to Adelaide this week. Rodney is an international expert on making communities more walkable, and has been involved in the field of active, sustainable transport for over 40 years as a researcher, international speaker and consultant. This week he presented at the Adelaide Heart Foundation’s Think Tank – Let’s Make Walking Great Again!

About the International Charter for Walking

The International Charter for Walking is a common policy reference that cities, organisations, neighbourhood groups and individuals can sign up to and encourage more everyday walking and greater walkability.

The Charter was developed during the Walk21 conference series, starting in Portland in 2003 led by Daniel Sauter from Urban Mobility Research and launched in Melbourne in 2006. It is informed by experts from more than 35 countries, identifies the needs of people on foot and provides a common framework to help authorities focus their policies, activities and relationships to create a culture where people choose to walk.

To date the Charter has been signed by more than 5,000 people including 500 Mayors. We encourage other organisations including local councils to sign it too as a common framework to creating healthy, efficient and sustainable walking communities throughout South Australia and the world.

Advocating for improved pedestrian conditions on North Terrace

We continue to advocate for improved pedestrian conditions on North Terrace, and sent this letter to the new Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Sandy Verschoor.

Key extracts of the letter are below, or view the full letter.

In 2019 our priority actions will focus around pedestrian safety in areas with high vehicle traffic.

As you would be aware the majority of pedestrian casualty crashes occur in the city centre and North Adelaide. We congratulate you on your commitment to support 40km/h throughout the city.

It is with this in mind that we write to you with our concerns with the conditions for pedestrians on North Terrace, particularly at the western end now that the New Royal Adelaide Hospital has opened.

As I am sure you are aware, there is a much higher level of pedestrian activity here since the hospital has opened. Also with heavier flows of traffic at the West Terrace/North Terrace intersection as a result of the hospital, we are concerned with implications for pedestrian safety, both at the intersection and further east.

Due to a lack of formal crossing points, pedestrians are put at risk when crossing 5 traffic lanes and 2 tram tracks over North Terrace to get to SAHMRI and nRAH. Then being penalised by sparodic punitive police measures.

We do not think that this is satisfactory, particularly given the extremely long “green man” wait times (over three minutes at times) that are endured by people walking across the West Tee-North Terrace lights (Needless to say, people walking into the area from the Park Lands and crossing West Terrace as well have much longer to wait).

We note that Council’s approval of the Mini sterial DPA for the hospital provided for lights at a pedestrian crossing at Gray Street. This was to cater for people walking between bus stops on Currie Street and the new medical and university precinct. This is yet to appear. While this would be valuable , pedestrians also need a less time-consum ing way to cross at West Terrace.

We understand that Council is working with the State government on a plan to upgrade the public realm along the western half of North Terrace. We commend this and hope that plans can be turned into firm action quickly.

Nevertheless, we cannot wait for the necessarily lengthy and delayed processes involved in a major transformation of North Terrace and call on Council to provide safe, convenient pedestrian crossings of North Terrace immediately, in advance of upgrades to the overall public realm.

Calling for lower speed limits in Hindley Street where there is high pedestrian activity, to make the streets safer for pedestrians

We were concerned to hear about pedestrians being hit by a car in Hindley St and seriously injured this week.

Many ‘hit pedestrian’ vehicle crashes are completely avoidable or could be reduced in severity by slowing down vehicles to 30 km/h where there is high pedestrian activity. At a collision speed of 30km/h pedestrians have some chance of surviving a crash but this rapidly decreases with higher speed, with the majority killed if hit by a car at 50 km/h or above.

We support lower speed limits in Hindley Street and other areas in the Adelaide CBD where there is high pedestrian activity, to make the streets safer for those on foot.

In conjunction with the Heart Foundation we sent a letter to the Lord Mayor of the Adelaide City Council calling for lower speed limits in Hindley Street, which has high pedestrian activity.

Key extracts of the letter are below, or view the full letter.

A recent report on Pedestrian Casualty Crashes shows the majority of ‘hit pedestrian’ casualty crashes occurs in Adelaide city centre, where for the 5-year monitoring period there were 222 casualty crashes. This is followed by North Adelaide with 28 hit pedestrian casualty crashes. Around 26% of these casualty crashes were either serious or fatal.

Many of these crashes are completely avoidable or could be reduced in severity by slowing down vehicles to 30 km/h where there is high pedestrian activity. At a collision speed of 30 km/h pedestrians have some chance of surviving a crash but this rapidly decreases with higher speed, with the majority killed if hit by a car at 50 km/h or above.

We were concerned to hear about pedestrians being hit by a car in Hindley St and seriously injured this week. We believe that you are also concerned and would like to make the street safer for those on foot.

The Heart Foundation and Walking SA call for lower speed limits in Hindley Street and other areas in the CBD where there is high pedestrian activity.

We commend the City of Adelaide for the valuable work you are doing to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of your residents, visitors and workers. We were pleased to award City of Adelaide a Heart Foundation Local Government Award recognising your good work in 2016 and 2017. However, more needs to be done. Pedestrian deaths are not acceptable. We urge council to review the speed limits and continue to improve walking infrastructure.

Our focus on improving advocacy for walking

The voice of the people was heard about the sale of a section of Kangaroo Island coastline.

Here at Walking SA we are focussed on improving our advocacy for walking and on behalf of the walking community of South Australia.

Over recent months we’ve been involved with:

  1. Improving pedestrian crossings and crossing times on North Terrace with new RAH, SAHMRI and research precincts. We’ve been meeting with the Department of Transport Planning and Infrastructure to improve this.
  2. Input focussed on walking into the SA Health Public Health Plan Review
  3. Australian Adventure Activity Standards in consultation with Bushwalking Australia. After much discussion Bushwalking Australia will be finalising details shortly.
  4. Kangaroo Island coastline proposed sale to a private developer – Walking SA along with many other individuals and organisations including Friends of the Heysen Trail lodged a formal objection to this consideration. The voice of the people was heard and the Minister has advised that it will not proceed.
  5. Ongoing monitoring of gazetted changes to land use, such as unmade road reserves with review and lodging objections as appropriate when walking trail use or high-value potential walking trail use is compromised.

Of ongoing significant concern is still the issue of shared paths. This is still causing significant alarm to us and our members and the walking community at large. We will continue to make presentation to state and local government to address ways to improve the situation for all trail users. If you have issues of concern and examples of problems please get in touch with us.

Advocacy for Walking, May 2017 Update

Walking SA has been active in the following areas on behalf of the walking community:

Advocating for Walking, March 2017 Update

Walking SA continues to represent our member clubs, organisations and individual members as well as the general walking community in matters regarding walkability of all aspects of the walking environment.

Specifically, over the last six months we have raised our voice and will continue to do so on the issue of shared paths and trails to ensure the safety of walkers using those paths and trails. We are on ongoing discussion with the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) regarding trails in the national parks that they manage as well as local councils and other bodies with jurisdiction over other paths and trails.

DEWNR is about to launch a program in recognition of that advocacy and supported by other user groups with the I Share My Trail campaign, to make all users sensitive to the needs of other users when on trails. We will provide more information as it comes to hand.

We also plan to hold a forum in May where we can get walkers and the relevant organisations together to further discuss these issues.

Walking SA, through the commitment of a number of keen volunteers, continues to monitor, liaise and in some cases object to gazetted changes to land use that will have an adverse impact upon walkers. Our voice is heard and in most cases successfully so.

In addition, we are advised of other plans that we are sought to make comment on. The latest of these are detailed below. If you wish to make comment direct please do so if you wish to advise walking SA of issues and concerns please do so and we will consolidate that into our input for each consultation.

Burnside Council

The Council seeks comment to develop a strategy for Recreation Trails Strategy within the City of Burnside.

City of Onkaparinga

The Council is seeking comment on their new Trails and Cycling Strategic Management Plan (TCSMP) which will guide the delivery of trails and cycling projects into the future. View the map of their existing and proposed trails, including the proposed Willunga Basin Trail.

Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park

Located on the River Murray, 12km south of Swan Reach, the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources is seeking feedback on the draft management plan for the park.

Advocacy for Walking, November 2016 update

Over the last two months Walking SA has been engaged with the following in regard to representing the walking community: –

  • Adelaide City Council – Bike Summit
  • Dept. of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) – 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide
  • Burnside Council – Recreation Trails Strategy
  • Unley Council – Unley Integrated Transport Strategy
  • Office for Recreation and Sport – Trails usage – walkers and mountain bike riders
  • DPTI – Motorbike lane filtering
  • Local Government – a range of local government engagement is underway
  • Wirraparinga Trails project – see separate item below
  • Dept. of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DENWR) – “I share my Trail” campaign development

As well as they we have met with Minister Mullighan to raise awareness of Walking SA, the needs of the walking community and our desire to be part of the planning process for all projects impacting upon walking. The Minster was totally supportive of that and we have since been consulted on a number of issues.

If you have issues or concerns, please advise us at Walking SA so we can add that into our information bank for advocacy purposes to the relevant authorities.

Cycling on Footpaths, Response to New Regulations

Walking SA is the peak body for walking in South Australia representing the diverse range of walking interests of our members as well as the interests of walkers/pedestrians generally.

Whilst promoting increased walking in the community, for a wide range of individual and community benefits, we are concerned fundamentally with the safety of all pedestrians, whether it be those walking in the local neighbourhood through to those hiking in the bush.

We are concerned that cycling on footpaths, as allowed by the new regulations, increases the risk to pedestrians generally, and specifically for those more vulnerable such as children, the elderly and those with disabilities. We are also concerned that the impact of the change will be to discourage walking because of the perceived risks.

We note that there are many existing paths and trails that are for multipurpose users and the need for respect and tolerance between pedestrians and cyclists in these instances is paramount. This is not always the case in practice. Our anecdotal observations are that generally faster commuter cyclists would continue utilising existing shared paths and roads, with and without bike lanes. Those cyclists that do not feel safe in that environment are likely to use footpaths.

Walking SA would prefer for the regulation allowing cycling on footpaths not to have been implemented. Whilst acknowledging it has we would be seeking ways and means to minimise risks to both pedestrians and cyclists using footpaths so that injuries to either do not occur.

We are also concerned that the debate that has occurred around these regulations is of an “us and them” approach whether it be vehicle users and cyclists or cyclists and pedestrians. It is far more important to determine and implement solutions that encourage mutual respect and tolerance than encouraging conflict. There are many benefits to the community in both increased walking and cycling.

We highly recommend that:-

  • There be appropriate speed limits for cyclists on footpaths.
  • There be restrictions on cycling in heavy pedestrian traffic areas.
  • There be an education campaign to ensure appropriate understanding of the regulations and promoting a harmonious approach to footpath use.
  • That there be a campaign to encourage walking of all forms for the benefit of the community.
  • There be a review process to assess the impact of this change and modify as determined.