The vision of a connected, safe bicycle network across Far North Queensland moved a step closer to reality today with the release of the Principal Cycle Network Plan for Far North Queensland.
Member for Cairns Desley Boyle, Member for Cook Jason O’Brien, Member for Barron River Steve Wettenhall and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt jointly welcomed the plan.
“Investing in cycling is an investment in healthy, sustainable, liveable communities,” Mr Wettenhall said.
“Far North Queensland has one of the highest rates of cycling in the nation – three times higher than Brisbane’s.
“Cycling ticks all the boxes – you can save money, help the environment and tackle obesity – by simply choosing to cycle for a few of your trips each week.
Ms Boyle said the plan serves as a blueprint for State and Local Governments in determining priorities and delivering a consistent network of cycle routes across FNQ.
“A key theme of the Principal Cycle Network Plan for Far North Queensland was a coordinated approach across different levels of government.
”By working together, we can make sure future projects such as road upgrades consider the needs of cyclists,” Ms Boyle said.
“Over time, we will achieve a quality and consistent infrastructure network promoting cycling as a convenient and safe way to travel and enjoy the region.”
Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said the Principal Cycle Network Plan for Far North Queensland identifies the most important cycling routes in the region, from Wujal Wujal in the north, to Mareeba in the west, and south to Cardwell.
“These routes will function as the highways of the cycle network and connect major destinations within towns and throughout the region.
“Community workshops were held across the region, with community groups, local government officers and residents pooling their local knowledge to inform the plan,” Mr O’Brien said.
The plan released today also includes designs to kick-start more detailed planning for high-priority routes. It is also the first Principal Cycle Network Plan to be recognised in a statutory land use plan – the Far North Queensland Regional Plan 2009 – 2031.
Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, said there is no single infrastructure solution for a principal cycle route.
“Each route is considered individually. For example, what type of cyclists are most likely to use it? How experienced are they? The concept designs in the plan are examples of the type of infrastructure that could be built to meet these needs.”
One of the highest-priority routes in the plan, from the Cairns Central Business District to Aeroglen, has already secured joint funding from the State Government and Cairns Regional Council.
Ms Boyle said the Bligh Government has committed $4.6m to the project and a further $1.5m is being contributed by Cairns Regional Council.
“The Cairns Central Business District to Aeroglen cycleway is the first stage in connecting the city’s northern beaches to the city centre,” she said.
“Cairns Regional Council has taken ownership of this project, and I look forward to hearing the community’s recent feedback on the detailed design proposal released earlier this year.
“The community has made a significant contribution to developing the Principal Cycle Network Plan for Far North Queensland and will continue to play an important role as the plan is implemented.”
More information on the Principal Cycle Network Plan for Far North Queensland can be found by visiting www.tmr.qld.gov.au