We’re calling on all local governments to prioritise projects that enable walking and cycling

COVID-19 has created a huge increase in walking activity. Walking SA, together with BISA, Bike SA and the Heart Foundation, calls on all local governments to prioritise projects that enable walking and cycling.

During COVID-19, more people have chosen to be active every day in local neighbourhoods. Participation in walking and cycling has significantly increased. The provision of footpaths and safe crossings, open space and access to roads in our neighbourhoods is more important than ever. Walking SA encourages prioritisation of projects that enable active, safe and connected communities.

View statement (PDF)

The call

Letter from Walking SA, Heart Foundation, Bicycle Institute of South Australia and Bike SA.

11 May 2020

Dear Mayor, Councillors and CEO,

In these difficult and unprecedented times, we would like to congratulate you on your continued support of your community.

During COVID-19, more people are choosing to be active every day in local neighbourhoods. Participation in walking and cycling has significantly increased. The provision of footpaths and safe crossings, open space, and access to roads in our neighbourhoods are more important than ever.

We recognise that council budgets have been impacted both by a reduction in some forms of revenue, and by additional expenditure required due to the current situation. As you are re-assessing your budgets for the upcoming cycle, we encourage you to prioritise projects that enable active, safe, and connected communities.

We call on you for your commitment to:

  1. Shovel-ready walking and cycling projects. Increased budgets and commitment to delivering basic, safe and innovative walking infrastructure with construction and maintenance of: footpaths, safe pedestrian crossings and refuges, wider kerb ramps, signalised crossings with a shorter cycle and phasing to suit seniors, vision impaired, people with disabilities and children to safely cross the road
  2. Temporary street closures or shared zones to allow for people to safely walk and ride on local streets during COVID-19
  3. Slower designed streets and speed limit reduction for all people to walk and cycle safely
  4. Wider, connected and safe footpaths (which also allows for essential physical distancing)
  5. Better shading of all paths through tree planting and shading structures
  6. Local mixed used and multi-generational parks, playgrounds, nature play and green space that create community hubs and destinations within walking/cycling distance of homes
  7. Separated walking pathways from bicycles, e-bikes and e- scooters in high traffic or commuter routes
  8. Removal of slip lanes that cause unnecessary risk to walkers and riders, or an addition of zebra crossings until slip lanes have been removed
  9. Commitment to implement your local walking and cycling strategies, preferably integrated into an overall active transport and recreation strategy. Develop strategies if
  10. Liveable and active streets designed for all: children and our more vulnerable walking or wheeling residents
  11. Investment in walking programs (10,000 Steps, Heart Foundation Walking, parkrun and local bushwalking groups) through local funding, resources and supportive

We know how important a safe and healthy community is to you. Walking and cycling facilities are one of the lowest cost services that you can provide to your residents to improve their health and wellbeing, generate better community cohesion and create benefits for local business.

Thank you for your interest in supportive active communities. We would be happy to talk to you about how you can support our organisations and the localised active travel and recreation of neighbourhoods for your residents, businesses, and visitors.

For any further queries, contact Helen Donovan, Executive Director helen.donovan@walkingsa.org.au or 0457 006 620 on behalf of Walking SA, the Bicycle Institute of South Australia, Bike SA and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

On behalf of Walking SA, Heart Foundation, Bicycle Institute of South Australia and Bike SA.

Media Release: This Walktober encourage kids to walk, skip, hop, scoot or ride to school

MEDIA RELEASE

If more kids walked to school each day, then they would be more likely to reach recommended physical activity guidelines, be less likely to be overweight and perform better at school.

About 80 per cent of five to 17-year-olds do not meet recommended physical activity guidelines.

The number of kids using active transport choices to get to school has dramatically declined since the 1970s.  These days, almost a quarter of five to-12-year-olds have never walked, cycled, or scooted to school.1 But three-quarters of kids surveyed would like to.2

This October, Walking SA, Department of Transport, Planning and Infrastructure’s Way2Go program and the Heart Foundation are promoting the message that we should be encouraging our kids to walk, ride or scoot safely to school. Not only is it more fun for the kids, it means less cars on our roads, and at drop-off points around schools.

“Parents can be great role models for their children by getting out and walking together more often,” said Walking SA Chair, Jeremy Carter.

Way2Go is a statewide South Australian program promoting safe, active and green travel for primary school children and their families.

“We encourage parents to visit our families website to plan safe and active travel to and from school,” Margaret Howard, Manager Living Neighbourhoods and Travel Behaviour said.

“Have a few practice runs over the school holidays and choose a safe route to school.”

Imelda Lynch, Heart Foundation CEO, has been leading the push for more walkable environments in South Australia.

“The Heart Foundation would like to see the development of a statewide walking strategy, that prioritises children’s active travel to school,” Ms Lynch said.

This “Walktober”, Walking SA is asking all South Australians to celebrate Spring by going for a walk and taking a picture with the tag #WalktoberSA. Walking SA is encouraging kids to walk to school by asking them to take a picture along the way. Just use the tags #WalktoberSA and #Way2Go with a short description about the view and it will be eligible to win vouchers from the Scout Outdoor Centre. Parents/Carers can load the images onto Instagram or Twitter or the Walking SA Facebook page.

To help plan your walk to school during #WalktoberSA, visit Way2Go families website www.dpti.sa.gov.au/Way2Go/families/home

For more information about Walking SA, visit www.walkingsa.org.au

For more information and T&C about the “View from my walk” competition visit walkingsa.org.au/walktober

Media enquiries: Jeremy Carter, Chair of Walking SA – 0412 846 576

 

Walking SA is the peak body that leads, promotes and supports all forms of walking in South Australia, including walking for recreation, transport, health, wellbeing, organised events, adventure, environmental appreciation and fun experiences. Our vision is to see more people walking more often. Our members include walking clubs, informal groups, individuals and organisations whose aims, and objectives align with those of Walking SA.

 

New trail: $6m Great Southern Ocean Walk along the Fleurieu Peninsula

Map of Great Southern Ocean Walk

The SA Government has announced an investment in creating the Great Southern Ocean Walk – an upgrade of the iconic Heysen Trail along the Fleurieu Peninsula, connecting Deep Creek and Newland Head conservation parks, and Granite Island Recreation Park.

Parts of the Heysen Trail will be upgraded, and day visitor facility and a fully accessible destination constructed at the heart of Deep Creek Conservation Park to ensure our parks are a place people with disabilities can enjoy. Existing campgrounds and amenities will also be upgraded to cater for growing demand.

The Great Southern Ocean Walk will be a 5-day walk with campsites. Over the past two years the Friends of the Heysen Trail have been involved with the working committee to develop the concept, having previously been involved in providing feedback in the concept research.

The $6 million project is part of the government’s $11.8 million New Parks Investment as part of the upcoming 2019-20 State Budget. The $11.8 million for parks will enhance nature tourism, will improve access, amenities and services in our national parks, and ensure they continue to play an important part in the lives of South Australians, and in building our visitor economy.

Watch the announcement video.
Read the government media release.

View our response, joint Media Release with the Heart Foundation.