Drivers want better public transport

THE ease of driving and access to car parks in Bendigo is "not doing us any good" in terms of health impacts, a council report has found.

The City of Greater Bendigo's latest transport research shows a disparity between people's desires for public transport and cycling lanes, and the reality of how people commute.

The research showed about 90 per cent of Bendigo residents drive to work and 75 per cent of school-aged children are driven to school.

The city's strategy manager Trevor Budge said the figures were drawn from more than 1000 residents who added their views to stage two of the Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy.

He said despite the majority of people driving around the city, most people said they wanted to see investment in public transport.

"Our reliance on the car to easily get us to our daily destinations is not necessarily doing us any good, with just over half of Greater Bendigo’s population overweight or obese," he said.

“The majority of those who took part in the consultation process asked for better access to buses, including increased frequency and longer hours of operation, and were less likely to want increased road capacity or car parking improvements."

The research noted a direct link between where we live and how we get around, and our health.

The report said people who live in low-density, city fringe areas rarely take part in physical activity and are at more risk of becoming obese. 

Bendigo has one of Victoria's highest obesity rates, with 56.9 per cent of people obese.

Mr Budge said a clear theme from people surveyed was for greater access to public transport.

He said the council would look at a range of ways to keep Bendigo moving.

"It is important to plan for that development now and include residents’ ideas on how they want their suburbs and city centre to evolve over time," he said.

“In the future, there will be a need to better accommodate those who cannot or choose not to drive a car."

A public meeting with the council's strategy staff will be at the Bendigo Town Hall at 6pm on Tuesday, December 10.

The full stage two transport report is at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/transportplanning


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