The Andrews government has pledged major expansion of the trails network in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.
The highlight is the commitment to complete the Plenty River Trail, planned to be a major bike artery in the north east.
The announcement talks of an additional 17 kilometres of walking and cycling trail stretching from Mernda to the Western Ring Road at Greensborough.
This will join the extensive bike network that will be delivered closer in by the North East Link Project, creating a greatly enhanced set of routes for people in the north eastern suburbs that can be used for commuting and recreational purposes.
But there’s more...
The government also pledged to invest in new bike and walking trails across Nillumbik, Moreland, Banyule, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea council areas, based on the priorities identified in the Northern Trails Strategy.
The strategy, released in 2016 following extensive investigation by a grouping of councils across the northern suburbs, identified all the important trail routes and connections across the north, and created a preferred order for investment.
This means the government, should it be re-elected, has a template for a rapid and efficient roll-out of the new trails.
Bicycle Network will bring you details of the selected routes when they become available.
The trails are part of a $150M election commitment to create 6500 hectares of new parkland across Melbourne. Another $35M will be spent to acquire and redevelop land for new parks in established suburbs, as well as $10M to re-furbish old parks.
Labor has dedicated an additional $8 million to build new open space between Lawrie Emmins Reserve and Skeleton Creek along the Federation Trail, as part of the Greening the Pipeline project.
Park developments of all sorts are good for the biking community. Riding a bike is by far the best way to get to and experience a park. Park managers know this and are keen to provide bike trails and facilities in their parks.
A decade ago there was a plan to connect Melburnians to all parks via a trails network called the Metropolitan Trails Network. It was abolished when the previous Liberal/National government won power in 2010.
There is now a chance that the vision will return.
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said: “Only Labor will create the new parks, bike and walking trails to give thousands of Victorian families more open space close to home.”
Parks announced by the ALP
In Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs:
- Establish Cardinia Creek South Parkland, a 508 hectare parkland near Officer
- Create the Sandbelt Parklands, a 355 hectare chain of parks running from Moorabbin to Dingley Village with walking and bike trails, conservation and adventure play areas
- Complete Clyde Regional Park, creating a 120 hectare parkland
- Plan for the Frankston Greenbelt that will link together 1,881 hectares of parks and reserves for locals to enjoy between the Seaford wetlands and Mornington
In Melbourne’s north and north-eastern suburbs:
- Create a new 2,778 hectare Upper Merri Park, near Craigieburn
- Expand the Quarry Hills Parkland to cover 1,088 hectares, near South Morang
complete the Plenty River Trail, building another 17 kilometres of walking and cycling trail stretching from Mernda to the Western Ring Road at Greensborough
- Invest in new bike and walking trails across Nillumbik, Moreland, Banyule, Darebin, Hume and Whittlesea council areas
- Undertake a feasibility study for a new Wallan Regional Park
In Melbourne’s west and north-western suburbs:
- Create a new 1,008 hectare Jackson Creek Park, near Sunbury
- Complete Kororoit Creek Park, creating a 260 hectare parkland
- Complete Werribee Township Regional Park, creating a 340 hectare parkland
- Complete planning for a new 130 hectare Toolern Regional Park at Melton
- Complete planning for a new 223 hectare Werribee River Park at Wyndham