Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
North: Epping precinct
Epping has been identified as one of Melbourne's major activity centres and generates a high volume of trips. Incorporating bikes will be a challenge
A truly great path cut short
8 March 2012. Bicycle Network Victoria has ridden the new path (see below) and we can report it is indeed of the highest standard.
Other stakeholders could reap many tips from the well designed and thought out path. Many of its strengths are in the details.
However the one glaring weakness is the lack of connectivity to Epping Station with the path ceasing at Darebin Creek, a mere 240 metres short. Instead the alternatives are on road bike lanes which seem to be occupied all day by parked cars.
Bicycle Network Victoria will work with the project team to see why their May 2009 commitment to provide this connection weren't delivered upon. The path at the South Morang Station end looks to be top notch, with the path feeding directly into the station precinct and the Parkiteer cage also at the doorstep.
Many of the surrounding roads and grade separations have also received bike lanes as part of the the government's forward-thinking 'mainstreaming' strategy. The government are to be commended for this fine facility. The Parkiteer cage at Epping Station is already proving popular as locals take advantage of this blue ribbon facility.
This image taken at the Epping end of the path illustrates how frustratingly close the project gets path users. One wonders as to why the existing pipe bridge uprights (image, left) werent taken advantage of to build an economical link into the station along the available corridor to the station (You can see the train waiting, top-centre of image).
The diagram below illustrates the missing link.
Green is existing facilities, Blue the Epping Station, Red is the current narrow bridge and bike lanes filled with parked cars and the yellow line represents the easy solution.
Left: Cooper St 'bike' lanes.
Right: Civic Drive South Morang, the recipient of new bike lanes
North to South Morang
1 March 2012. The new bike path from Epping through Mill Park to South Morang, built as part of the South Morang Rail Extension Project, has been officially opened.
The three-metre wide path between the Epping and South Morang station precincts includes connections to local footpaths and bike trails at Darebin Creek, Hendersons Drain, McDonalds Drain and the on-road bicycle network.
The path, which runs alongside the South Morang rail extension, passes underneath a number of local roads and connects to overpasses at key locations ensuring pedestrian and cycling connectivity is safely maintained across the rail corridor.
The path is the result of the government's forward-thinking 'mainstreaming' strategy which mandates bike infrastructure provision to be considered as part of all major projects.
Opening the new bike path on behalf of the Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder, Mr O‟Donohue said:
“The new shared use path along the South Morang rail extension is a brilliant example of the positive and lasting impact this kind infrastructure can bring to communities.
“In addition to providing pedestrian and cycling links between Epping and South Morang, this path also ensures people can safely access the services and facilities they need on either side of the rail line,” Mr O‟Donohue said.
“Traditionally, rail lines have been seen as dividing lines in communities. But the South Morang rail extension and shared use path have been designed and constructed to ensure community connectivity is enhanced through the area.
“This path is also great news for cyclists. Along with improvements to the bicycle lanes around the Epping station precinct, we have completed what was a missing link in the on- road bicycle network in this area.
“The path also includes rest points with seating and landscaping and lighting at key junctures, to ensure good visibility for cyclists and pedestrians at night.
“Importantly, fencing separates the path from the rail environment, ensuring people of all ages can feel safe using the path with trains running alongside,” Mr O‟Donohue said.
Links to stations and on-road network
“Locals will use this path in so many different ways; whether it's to get to the train station, to cross the rail line to arrive at school or work, to wander to the shops, or enjoy a walk, run or ride.”
“The new path essentially links the new South Morang station to the new Epping station, and along the "pedestrian superhighway‟ on Cooper Street through to Epping Plaza, the High Street retail precinct and the Northern Hospital.
“This means locals now have greater choice regarding local transport options and access to local facilities,” Mr Ondarchie said.
The rail corridor also holds historical significance in the community and Mr O'Donohue said
the project team worked with the Whittlesea Historical Society to include this history in the path's design.
The path is now open for public use between the Darebin Creek trail in Epping and Civic Drive in South Morang, with the final section to be opened once the project is completed in April this year.
Some of the elements of this path are best practice and riders will be impressed. Give us your feedback.
Epping sizes up new lanes
24 January 2012. Modern bike infrastructure is not just for the inner suburbs as Epping, on Melbourne's fringe, looks at the introduction of Copenhagen-style lanes.
Whittlesea Council will investigate the separated lanes, which run between the curb and the parked cars, for the redevelopment of High Street between McDonalds and Childs roads in Epping.
Melbourne has a number of such lanes, and the local experience has followed international understanding that the configuration results in less crashes and more riders.
The Coroner recently recommended that the government look at a wider introduction of Copenhagen lanes as a strategy to reduce the number of doorings.
VicRoads is developing design standards for separated lanes so that councils can have more confidence in installing them.
Whittlesea Council is taking the concept to community consultation.
RACV has stated it did not support Copenhagen-style lanes because they increased road congestion. But this is not backed up by any evidence and RACV is expected to eventually face facts and support the concept.
Rail Project broadens bike horizons in the North
21 May 2009. The recent State Budget has funded a rail corridor bike path along the Epping to South Morang rail extension, due for completion in 2013. This is great news for public transport and bike travellers alike.
This commitment is an example of the State Government's recent pledge to 'mainstream' bikes as part of major projects, and to incorporate them into the core of the transport network; initiatives strongly supported by Bicycle Network Victoria.
The project will include a Parkiteer cage at the new South Morang Station and a shared path along the rail corridor. This east-west path will connect with the Darebin Creek Trail and the Broadmeadows 'drain trail'.
Information currently available basically shows the path running along the south side of the rail corridor from the Darebin Creek Path and heading west to South Morang.
There were concerns over the western end (indicated in red, below) as there was no clear statement regarding the path reaching Epping.
Initial concerns over the western end of the path and its connectivity have been allayed after discussions with the Project Director who has assured Bicycle Network Victoria that this will be incorporated in plans currently being developed
View Epping Rail project in a larger map