The thought of a grade-separated car and truck-free route from Melbourne’s west into the CBD has aroused concern and suspicion among some sectors, with high-profile opposition notably coming from Melbourne City Council.
The Veloway concept is a proposed piece of infrastructure which is set for inclusion in the ancillary benefits being delivered during the West Gate Tunnel project. It is a response to the government requirement that there be a grade separated bike route from Footscray to the city.
It has been developed to boost the safety and convenience of bike riders through the Port of Melbourne precinct – lifting riders above heavily-trafficked roads, intersections and waterways.
But with opposition from Melbourne Town Hall, the response to the Veloway project has been reminiscent of resistance to now popular changes in Melbourne 40 years ago, when new ideas such as the Bourke Street mall and a car-free Swanston Street were similarly opposed.
In the case of the Veloway, all sorts of speculative fear has emerged. Too fast, too steep, too curved, too high, too polluted. And let’s not forget, all this is on the basis of artists’ illustrations.
The Veloway has not reached the detailed design stage. That’s why, in Bicycle Network’s opinion, any panic is premature.
Like all new bike projects it will be required to meet the relevant safety and engineering guidelines.
Bicycle Network will make itself available to assist designers in their task so as to ensure a great experience for bike riders.
When detailed designs are available, we can assess the infrastructure on its merits – but for now, we see it as a promising and positive concept that has potential to deliver wide-ranging benefits for the growing number of bike riders in Melbourne’s west.
And as always, Bicycle Network will continue to campaign for a wide variety infrastructure to suit all types for bike riders.