Melbourne’s western suburbs are planning to use bikes to tackle some of the lowest physical activity rates in Victoria, along with some of the highest levels of obesity and preventable lifestyle diseases.
The move is part of the Time for the West campaign, a bid to get better transport options for one of Australia’s fastest growing regions.
The western municipalities argue that residents in the region are spending too much time commuting, so have pitched a six point plan to the government for better transport and less time commuting.
“We can help to tackle these important issues, as well as problems of traffic congestion and parking by increasing the number of people who choose to walk and ride to where they need to go,” the campaign says
To achieve this target the campaign proposes coordinated investment in cycling infrastructure:
- Fixing missing links in off-road bike path networks
- Building more connections to train stations, shops and schools
- Providing more facilities to keep bikes safe
It also suggests a Western Active Transport Target, which is regularly monitored and updated, would help to unite government, communities and individuals to consider leaving the car at home.
More than 800,000 people already call Melbourne's West home, with the population set to more than double over the next 30 years, to 1.8 million.
“Politicians need to do more make sure we have the transport services we need,” the campaign says.
“It takes too long to get to work, and there often aren’t any alternatives if our normal route is disrupted.
"Services don’t connect well enough to our local schools, shops and community centres, and they are too disjointed, confusing, and infrequent to rely on.
“Lots of our destinations are within cycling distance, but the routes don’t feel safe and easy to ride."
The six-point plan of action
- A region-wide analysis of current and future transport needs
- Access to safe, frequent and reliable public transport across the west
- Safer, easier ways to walk and cycle in the west
- A new, high-frequency network of bus connections between major centres
- Well-coordinated connections into train stations and local centres
- New transport services planned and activated at the right time in growing communities.