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Can Cycling Save the Suburbs?

The paper concludes:

The bicycle can provide the means of survival for the suburban ideal, by providing important health, independence and lifestyle benefits for suburban dwellers, whilst simultaneously reducing the environmental burden which current suburban lifestyles place on the community at large.

Implementation of this adaptation will require relatively inexpensive changes to transport infrastructure, promotion of the benefits to be gained through awareness and information campaigns, and some down-sizing of the road and parking infrastructure to discourage car use. Compared to trying to provide for full
motorisation of the suburbs, it will be a relatively straightforward technical job.
Compared to retro-fitting the suburbs with higher densities and mixed uses, results can be achieved much faster and perhaps with less opposition from existing property and other interests. Such re-structuring of the suburbs may also be important, but it is already becoming clear that it involves going against the grain of established development laws, policies, procedures and practices.

Creating multi-modal suburbs, with the bicycle as the main alternative to the car offers a potentially straightforward path to making the suburbs sustainable. The real challenge will be for local authorities to take the necessary steps to achieve the "trend breach", and to not be deterred by the inevitable resistance from those political instinct is to oppose collective action for the common good.

Paper TitleCan Cycling Save the Suburbs?
Paper AuthorTim Pharoah
Conference Details VeloAustralis - International Bicycle Conference Freemantle, Western Australia October 28th - November 1st 1996


Cycling, cycle planning, cycle promotion, suburbs