A new program encourages school students and parents to adopt a healthier way to travel

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Got a problem in your suburb that needs fixing? email me at lordmayor@bmag.com.au

I want to start this column by congratulating all the students, parents and teachers who helped cut the number of car trips around their school last year through our Active School Travel program. Each year council signs up about 20 new schools to help them change their travel attitudes to incorporate more opportunities to walk, cycle and catch public transport not only to boost childhood health, but also to improve road safety around schools, cut traffic congestion, help the environment and create friendlier communities where children and parents feel safe to walk the streets.

One way we do this is by holding Walking Wheeling Wednesdays, when schools work with students and their parents to organise a dedicated day each week where they commit to using active travel options to get to school.

In the busy world in which we live it’s these small steps that are essential to delivering a lifetime of change. And we’re seeing the results.
Last year’s participants have done a fantastic job, cutting the number of cars on the road around their schools by an average of 18 per cent in just 12 months. That is a major achievement when you consider that, on average, only about half of the children at these schools are now travelling to school by car on these days, compared to about 75 per cent the year before. However, the challenge is keeping up the effort which is why we provide ongoing support to schools once they graduate the program. Since 2004 we’ve had 137 schools participate and we’ve signed another 21 this year.

This is one of my favourite programs because of the many different aspects of life in Brisbane that it’s helping to improve with just a simple attitude change and we’re continuing to support it through a variety of funding measures. This includes our record investment in public and active transport infrastructure such as $120million for new bikeways and putting 360 new buses on the road this term. We’re also spending $31million on better footpaths and it’s paying off, with the amount of cracked footpaths in Brisbane dropping by more than 1700 kilometres in the past three years. Over the same period we’ve also built 300 extra kilometres of footpaths so that people can walk safely around their local neighbourhoods.

To get involved in Active School Travel see Brisbane City Council‘s website or call 3403 8888.

Storm green waste collection
I’d also like to give you an update on the green waste situation following January’s destructive storms. At the time of writing this column we’re about 90 per cent complete, with more than 26,000 tonnes of green waste collected from footpaths, and we should be complete by the time this edition of bmag hits your letterbox. However, as I drive around the streets of Brisbane, I’m still noticing a lot of green waste out on footpaths in areas where we’ve already been. This green waste collection was about helping out thousands of storm-affected residents, which is why I announced a one-off city-wide green waste collection and warned that if you didn’t have your green waste out by the time we passed through, then we wouldn’t be coming back a second time.

Therefore, if you or your neighbours still have green waste out on the footpath for collection at the time this magazine arrives, then it’s probably safe to assume that it won’t be collected. If this is the case then I ask you to please bring it in off the footpath so it’s not left rotting at the kerb and dispose of it accordingly, whether that’s by using your free green waste tip vouchers that come with your rates notice or popping it in your green waste bin. If you don’t have one and would like to order one, you can do so by calling 3403 8888 or see our website.