A firm commitment to make Toowoomba an easier and more enticing area for residents to walk to work and more generally move around the city today was formalised at the signing of an international charter for walking.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today signed the Walk21 – International Charter for Walking with Walk21 research lead Dr Rod Tolley, from the UK and who is now based in the United States, on one of the new pedestrian pathways near the Toowoomba City Hall Annex and Civic Square.
Mayor Antonio said the signing followed Council’s December 2017 endorsement to join the global group that includes more than 500 councils worldwide.
“The Toowoomba Region has bold ambitions and the signing of the charter, backed by Council’s long-term strategic plans such as the Sustainable Transport Strategy, offers us the ability to move forward and deliver a more inclusive and liveable region,” Mayor Antonio said.
“I am pleased to pen Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) support to advance projects and strategies that aid pedestrian movement around the city and the wider region.
“I’m especially delighted that Toowoomba is among the first cities in Queensland to join the Charter, along with more than 35 other local governments across the country.
“Council’s support means we will endorse eight key principles (*see below) that will refocus existing policies, strategies and activities in a way that encourage more residents to walk in their daily lives.
“The Charter reinforces a number of strategic actions and goals in Council’s Corporate Plan, the Sustainable Transport Strategy and the City Centre Master Plan.
“It offers guiding principles about how these strategic decisions can be incorporated in design features and programs that will make walking far more accessible and enjoyable for all residents.
“Outcomes such as better social inclusion and health benefits become apparent when residents see and use new or improved facilities like Kwong Sang Walk, the refurbished footpaths and crossings as part of the Ruthven Street Streetscape Upgrade Project and the new pathways and seating in and around the Civic Square and City Hall Annex Refurbishment and Upgrade project.
“Council’s Laneway Strategy continues to look at ways to offer safe and convenient pedestrian access, especially in the city centre. Council’s imminent planning is for a new pedestrian link at 174 Margaret Street.”
TRC Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor said the signing of the charter reflected the importance that Council placed on walking as a healthy and viable mode of travelling around the city.
“Council is well aware of the challenges associated with encouraging more people to walk to work and to improve convenience and safety in and around Toowoomba’s city centre,” Cr Taylor said.
“Toowoomba has a compact urban centre, which means it is possible to traverse the central city area in 30 minutes. Based on this, Council is working to promote the importance of walking as a means of travel in the city and in urban areas around the region.
“New and better pathways have been key features in park master plan upgrades that have been completed along Oakey’s linear creek corridor and that are being planned at Pittsworth.
“Council maintains an ongoing program of footpath extensions and improvements across the region. An example is the recently completed Toowoomba City Golf Club shared cycle/walkway, constructed in conjunction with the state government, that links USQ and the city centre.
“Another current example of planning for pedestrian convenience is the review of options for the Central Highfields Master Plan that is looking to create a vibrant sub-regional centre to serve this growing area.”
Cr Taylor, who also is the chair of the Regional Active and Public Transport Advisory Committee, paid tribute to the committee members who advocated for Council to sign the charter.
“I’m particularly grateful to my fellow committee members who saw how practical benefits could be delivered for residents.
“Other advice around better and more equitable access also has been offered to Council through our Regional Access and Disability Advisory Committee.”
• Increased, inclusive mobility,
• Well designed and managed spaces and places for people,
• Supportive land use and spatial planning,
• Reduced road danger,
• Less crime and fear of crime,
• More supportive authorities and
• A culture of walking.
Caption: Top: Walk21 research lead Dr Rod Tolley (left) signs the Walk21 – International Charter for Walking with TRC Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor and Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio.
Right: Walk this way ... TRC Deputy Mayor Cr Carol Taylor (left), Dr Rod Tolley, Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio and TRC Infrastructure Services Group General Manager Mike Brady sign up to the Walk21 – International Charter for Walking.