Bicycle Network: Regional Routes
Geelong City - Linking the Barwon, Bay & Bellarine trails
The 'three Bs' are the major links needed to connect the heart of Geelong. The 'three Bs' are the Barwon River path, Bellarine Rail Trail and the Bay Trail.
New bike lane bridges Barwon
26 October 2010. The new bike bridge over the Barwon River in Moorabool Street is getting plenty of use.
The structure, which is protected from motor vehicle traffic by a strong steel fence, is an extension to the side of the existing road bridge, first built in 1926, and widened to four lanes in the 1950s.
The new shared path is on the west side of the structure.
Kardinia Link extends Bellarine Trail
11 October 2010. Bellarine Rail Trail riders will now have even easier access to Kardinia Park thanks to the installation of a separated lane along Lonsdale Street in South Geelong.
Improvement works between the terminus of the Bellarine Trail, South Geelong Station, and inner Geelong continue. It should now be much easier to access Kardinia Park for the Cats 2011 season, although be aware that there are still issues with cars blocking the entrance to the trail at the bottom of Strong Street.
Confused residents threaten key Geelong link
24 March 2010. The eagerly awaited Swanston Street link in Geelong, which hooks up several major city routes, is being opposed by a noisy cabal of local residents who seem mystified by the purpose of separated bike lanes.
Geelong's Swanston Street is the vital connection in the strategy, supported by the State Government and the Greater Geelong Council, to link the Bay to the Barwon River.
Now the Council appears to have the wobbles, and is considering compromising a substantial section of the link to assuage residents who have complained that the proposed bike lane will . . . wait for it . . . "slow down traffic".
For those who don't know Swanston Street, it is massively wide with only one traffic lane in each direction, with parking. A more suitable configuration for a high quality bike route would be hard to find.
Alternatives now put forward include potentially making the McKillop Street to Barwon Terrace section of Swanston Street a widened shared path. Curiously the residents in attendance at a meeting with the council appeared to support the removal of numerous trees to achieve this. This option would also be far more expensive.
It appears the linking of the Bellarine Rail Trail (refer map, Light Blue) to South Geelong Station and beyond to Kardinia Park will proceed. There is still a short gap (Map, Red) along Strong Street.
The original Swanston Street path plan was a signal that Victoria's second city was prepared to adopt internationally accepted best practice in the design of important bike routes. Now there is a danger that we could end up with second rate provincialism instead.
View Geelong_Swanston St Mar2010 in a larger map
Barwon to Bay on display
4 February 2010. Geelong is forging ahead with the design of an exciting separated lane system for the Barwon to Bay Trail link along Swanston Street (indicated on map below in blue).
The Geelong City Council has placed the plans on display for public feedback.
Detailed plans are available here: Section 1, Section 2, Section 3, Section 4, Section 5.
The proposal shows a separated bike facility, similar to North Swanston Street in Melbourne that places the bike space between the curb and one metre wide barriers. Vehicles can park on the outside of these. In some locations where the space was more challenging due to bluestone channels and roundbout approaches the path will go up onto a widened shared path.
Council staff have briefed Bicycle Network Victoria in detail and the proposals are generally strongly supported. Some aspects may need revisiting at a later date when opportunities present, such as when the Eastern Beach Road/Swanston Street intersection is reviewed.
Council need your support and want to here from you.
Bicycle Network Victoria has also been given plans to complete the Bellarine rail Trail from the current end at Strong Street, through to the West Geelong Station and onwards to Moorabool St at Kardinia Reserve (indicated on map below in yellow).
These two projects would effectively complete the The 'three Bs' (Barwon River path, Bellarine Rail Trail and the Bay Trail). which are the major links needed to connect the heart of Geelong.
View Untitled in a larger map
Focus on plans for Geelong
5 November 2008. Bicycle Network Victoria staff recently spent a day in Geelong to review progress and priorities for bike facilities in the city.
Meetings were held with VicRoads South West Regional office, City of Greater Geelong and consulting engineers to discuss a wide range of issues of concern to local bike riders.
Among proposals reviewed were plans for linking the Barwon River trails to the Bay, extending the Bellarine Rail Trail to South Geelong Station and Kardinia Park, and an investigation of options to upgrade the southern Barwon River crossing.
Discussions were positive. As always we will be seeking some improvements but we are optimistic that the authorities are open to ideas and input.
The link to Kardinia Park has a lot of merit, not only in better connecting bike riders from the Bellarine Trail to the city, but as a better method to move people from South Geelong Station and surrounds to the football in season.
The picture below is looking from Kardinia Park to South Geelong Station, where a wide shared use path, separated from motor vehicle traffic on one side of the road would work well.
There is ample room on this road reserve for such a path. There are currently two travel lanes on Lonsdale Street and angled car parking on both sides of the road reserve.
A comparable road width in inner Melbourne would be able to host three travel lanes in each direction with parallel parking on both sides, meaning there is more than enough room to accommodate a wide shared use path.
Bellarine Rail Trail moves closer to South Geelong Station
Feb 2008 VicRoads have allocated $291,000 in the 2007/08 Bicycle Facilities Program to help fill the gap between the existing Bellarine Rail Trail (at the showgrounds/Breakwater Rd) to South Geelong Station. Greater Geelong City Council are delivering the project. We will be seeking the details of the final design from Council to ensure a good result for riders.
Both Stages One and Two (see map, right) between Breakwater Rd and St Albans Rd will be a 2.5m wide sealed asphalt path and the target completion for the 2km trail extension is 14 March 2008
Stages 1 and 2 can be viewed in the map (see right). This link is a great win for locals and visiting riders. The Rail Trail provides a viable commuting route from Leopold whilst visiting riders will be able to get to the trail by VLine train at Sth Geelong Station.
This project still leaves the path a few hundred metres short of the South Geelong Station. To complete the link to the Station we will need some separation on Strong St, a direct and sealed route through the reserve on Foster St and a clear and separated route through the carpark.
The final stage will be a separated pedestrian and bicycle route along Lonsdale St and crossing signals at Moorabool St. This last route will also serve the football fans coming to the Stadium by train.
Planning underway to finally link the Bellarine, Barwon and Bay Trails
Feb 2007 In the flurry of announcements before the November 2006 State election the Labor Party promised $3.5 million to link the Bellarine, Barwon and Bay Trails. This was great news after many years of campaigning.
VicRoads in Geelong have now started looking at the best design option for linking the trails and are consulting with local riding groups and Bicycle Network Victoria. We are keen to see an on-road separated bike lanes (similar to Swanston St in Melbourne) built along Yarra St or possibly Swanston St.
This project will link three of Geelong's best trails and will significantly increase the number of people riding bikes for recreation and transport.
Bicycle Network Victoria has been liaising with the Geelong City Council about new opportunities to fund the missing link as well as general improvements in rail trail quality.
We are hopeful that early 2006 will see some positive meetings with council, the rail trail advisory group and the Barwon Regional Bicycle Council leading to commitments to build the missing section of trail.
Bicycle Network Victoria has a vision to see Geelong's three great trails, the Barwon River Trail, the Bay Trail and the Bellarine Rail Trail linked up to provide a fantastic off-road network for residents and visitors. See map at bottom of page.
Bicycle Network Victoria visited Geelong in December 2003 to look at how it could be done. To connect the Bay Trail to the Barwon River Trail a north-south link through the town centre makes sense as it provides links to shops and schools.
We measured road widths and looked at possible connections along Yarra St and Swanston St.
The generous road space on these streets should make it possible to install an off-road cycling facility (see photo, above). It's just a matter of working out how to do it.
At a meeting with the Barwon Regional Bicycle Council we discussed options, pros and cons and how a cycling facility could be installed. A protected bike lane is one option which would offer a car-free experience through town.
See protected bike lanes for more information.
While in Geelong we also met with Cr Bruce Harwood to discuss the concept of linking the trails and the potential tourism as well as local benefits it would bring.
The Bellarine Rail Trail needs to be extended from the Showgrounds along Carr St to South Geelong Station where it would meet up with the proposed bike facilities on Yarra or Swanston St.
The City of Greater Geelong has identified further development of the trail in their Open Space Strategy, with plans to link the trail to South Geelong station, the Barwon River trail and Eastern Park but it needs to move from a vision to reality.
Over the last couple of years Geelong Council has done some good work for bikes with the installation of new bike lanes on Ryrie Street through the town centre, a $1m upgrade to the Barwon River path network (including two new bridges at Buckley Falls) and extra bike lane funding from VicRoads.
The next step is to connect up some of these facilities to create a cycling network.