Bicycle Network: Regional Routes
Black Forest Road Woodend
This section of the old Calder runs between Macedon and Woodend. It now has plenty space for bikes.
Dark deeds on Black Forest Drive
7 April 2011. The new State Government has reversed safety initiatives on Black Forest Drive at Woodend, scrubbing out the newly installed bike lanes.
The bike lanes had been installed by the previous government as part of a set of measures designed to to throttle back the road's alarming crash rate.
Black Forest Drive was previously the Calder Highway, but since the freeway to Bendigo was completed, there has been a huge reduction of traffic through this location.
The four lane design can carry 40,000 vehicles a day and the two lane design half that. Yet the road only carries 2000 vehicles a day. The road has 20 times more capacity than is needed, and costs vastly more to maintain than it should.
Despite the big drop in traffic, safety on the road got worse. This paradox is a well known consequence of highway de-commissioning around the world. A common and effective way of dealing with the problem is to reduce the former highways from four to two lanes while adding bike lanes.
But when VicRoads and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) took this action last year, in the lead up to the State election, the safety measures became a political issue.
Local Liberal candidates, unaware (or unwilling to admit) that the changes would actually make the road safer, promised to have them reversed.
Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O’Donohue said yesterday the Coalition promised to reverse the decision to narrow the road to two lanes because it "made the road more dangerous."
“I am delighted that the Baillieu Government has met yet another of its election commitments, with this major win for the local community.”
Mr O’Donohue said the southern section of Black Forest Drive, between Nursery Road and approximately 1.5 kilometres south of McBean Avenue had been resealed and line markings had been reinstated to four lanes.
“The new seal on the southern section will enhance visibility of the new line marking and avoid confusion with old lines,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“The wire rope safety barriers will significantly improve safety and protect motorists by reducing the impact of run off road crashes.”
Northern Victoria MP and Woodend resident Donna Petrovich said the result was a credit to the local community who campaigned hard against the "dangerous decision of the previous Labor Government."
“I’m pleased the new government has listened to the local community,” Ms Petrovich said.
Black Forest consultation starts
11 October 2010. VicRoads has started formal consultation over its plans to narrow the crash prone, four-lane former Calder Highway at Woodend, following opposition from interest groups opposing the plan, which includes bikes lanes on Black Forest Road.
The Stakeholder Reference Group, established by VicRoads to study options for the improvement of Black Forest Road held the first meeting on 4 October in Woodend.
The Group is expected to meet regularly over the next few months.
Improving the safety of the road remains Bicycle Network Victoria's primary focus. Narrowing the road as proposed by VicRoads would have a positive effect on improving the safety of the road for all users.
Bicycle Network Victoria is eager to see how those opposed to the VicRoads plan propose to deliver the same kind of improvements while keeping four travel lanes on the road.
Join the Ride on Sunday
21 July 2010. Join the ride this Sunday to support the new bikes lanes on Black Forest Drive, Woodend, that have come under threat from locals wanting to preserve their favourite unofficial drag-strip.
This road is part of the old Calder Highway which has been made redundant by the new freeway to Bendigo.
With four lanes it is now vastly over the required capacity for local traffic and VicRoads has seized the opportunity to create bike lanes on the road whilst narrowing it to match the demands of current traffic use.
Astonishingly, some provincial politicians and community leaders, have opposed the installation of the bikes lanes, claiming that the lanes would make the road more 'dangerous' for cars.
For decades now, all over the world, bike lanes have been proved to reduce crashes, not only for riders, but for cars. There are clearly some tiny pockets of Australia where facts don't penetrate.
The VicRoads plan is a good one and must be followed through on. There is a ride on Sunday 25 July, starting at 10am from Woodend Cycles, to support the bike lane plan.
Any rider who can make it should go along and show the flag.