Swan Hill Active Transport Strategy

Design Feature
Type of Project
Policy, Local Government Initiative
State
Victoria
Location
Regional

Swan Hill Rural City Council has a role to play in creating an environment conducive to active transport, particularly through the provision of infrastructure, planning and development, and in coordinating advocacy and awareness in partnership with health services. Swan Hill Rural City Council’s Active Transport Strategy 2014-2034 aims to make walking, cycling and using public transport easier for more trips within the Swan Hill municipality. Through identifying strategic walk and cycle networks, other key interventions and addressing key barriers that deter people from walking and cycling, the Council hopes to transition to an environment and culture that encourages active lifestyles.

Encouraging active lifestyles 

The Swan Hill Rural City municipality has a higher than average rate of chronic diseases, many of which are directly related to inactivity. Active transport is a form of activity that can address this issue, as it is accessible to the majority of the community, embedding physical activity as a way of life and promoting social connections. The vision of the Active Transport Strategy is to make Swan Hill Rural City a walking-friendly, cycling-friendly and public transport-friendly municipality. Information from the community through surveys, workshops and meetings, indicated that walking or cycling is not the default way of thinking for the majority of residents. Additionally, there are some significant deterrents to active transport, including designated tracks, safety, time, distance and infrastructure. 

Cod shaped bike rack.
Cod shaped bike rack.

The Active Transport Strategy incorporates eight interlinked strategies to make active transport and connection to public transport safer, more convenient, attractive and prestigious, and more appropriate for more trips. This includes increasing the provision of quality on-road and off-road bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, effective maintenance of the bicycle and walking network and improving the environment for walking, cycling and public transport use.

Outdoor gym equipment.
Outdoor gym equipment.

The strategy integrates and works across a range of other strategies and initiatives to assist the Council in delivering functions required under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and Local Government Act 1989. Since its endorsement, the Active Transport Strategy has seen a number of key achievements. 

Achievements include funding from the Victorian Government to develop a walking path loop along the Murray River at Boundary Bend, creation of a shared path along the Swan Hill Riverfront from the caravan park to local wetlands and a feasibility study and development design work for a trail from Swan Hill to Lake Boga.

There have also been improvements in pedestrian and cycling links between Swan Hill and a residential estate, completion of a shared path connection for children to walk or cycle to school, bus shelter upgrades and installation of traffic lights (and bike lane) within the city centre. The design and construction for improvements to footpaths, pedestrian crossings and shared paths continue to be implemented across the municipality. There has also been an improvement in both amenities and facilities along walking tracks and pathways to further encourage use. Furthermore, there is additionally promotion and awareness of bicycle riding for recreation and tourism, while events to promote activity are being supported, such as the Swan Hill triathlon in Riverside Park, skate park competitions and the Colour Your Run event.

Project team

  • Swan Hill Rural City Council
  • Swan Hill District Health
  • Robinvale District Health Services
  • Bicycle Users Group – Swan Hill
  • Community groups
  • Primary and secondary schools

Project cost

Ongoing

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