Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ballarat releases draft footpath plan

The City of Ballarat Council will today release a Draft Footpath Construction Strategy for community review and feedback.

The draft strategy guides how the City of Ballarat will prioritise and fund where new footpaths are built to improve safety, transport choices, health and wellbeing, as well as supporting local economic activity and productivity.

It also identifies where new footpaths are needed most, where sealing of existing unsealed footpaths should take place, and highlights missing links in the city’s footpath network.

Councillor Mark Harris thanked the community for having their say in a recent round of community consultation and encouraged all residents to now provide feedback on the draft strategy.

More than 460 residents contributed to the initial consultation, with 264 surveys completed and 580 contributions made to an interactive pin-drop map.

“Community feedback highlighted the importance of footpaths providing access to a range of local destinations,” he said.

“The draft strategy identifies a framework to promote local living so that footpaths can now be prioritised in a way that aims to provide a complete network between activity centres.

“The strategy will work to ensure footpaths are accessible to all, prioritising construction where coverage is poor, and in the locations where people have the strongest reliance on footpaths for mobility.”

The strategy features an equitable approach to the construction of footpaths, outlining a community-informed prioritisation framework for identifying which gaps in the footpath network should be built first.

It is designed to improve accessibility for communities most in need including, but not limited to, carers, people with disability and those without access to private transport, the Council said in a statement.

Key recommendations of the draft strategy include:

  • Undertake regular demographic analysis of population segments to ensure a clear understanding of which communities may have greater needs from the footpath network;
  • Explore opportunities to apply special rate and charge schemes to footpath provision, where willing residents could help co-fund their local footpath, if the path is not earmarked for construction;
  • Engage with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners on each year’s Footpath Construction Plan to support landmarks or sightlines of cultural significance near planned footpath construction;
  • Investigate opportunities to improve personal security, physical safety, accessibility and connectivity of footpaths to ensure women have equal opportunities to benefit from footpath construction, and
  • Prioritise footpath gaps for construction according to a framework that prioritises primary and secondary pedestrian routes aligned to the Principal Pedestrian network, as well as local connectivity, adjacent road speed and suburb and locality footpath index of need.

Feedback from the Ballarat community will inform the final Footpath Construction Strategy.

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