The brand spanking new section of the Upfield Trail through Coburg and Brunswick is now open.
The wide concrete trail—separated from pesky pedestrians who have their own exclusive track—is courtesy of the elevated rail, new stations and level crossings removals project.
The bike-only trail stretches 2.5km from north of Bell Street through Munro and Reynard streets to Tinning Street, south of Moreland Road.
The new path is 3m wide, with smooth, quick surfaces and additional lighting.
There are two bicycle repair stations along the way, featuring pumps, steel core tyre levers and tools attached.
The Coburg Station precinct has 61 bike hoops and the Parkiteer, which is open, has capacity for 25 bikes. The Moreland Station precinct has 16 bike hoops and the Parkiteer, which will open soon, has space for 22 bikes.
There are public toilets at both railway stations.
The newly created space under and beside the elevated track also has enabled the walking path and a collection of new recreation facilities soon to open.
These include three table tennis tables, three half basketball courts, parkour and mini skate areas, exercise stations, two new playgrounds and an enclosed dog park.
The open space contains plenty of newly planted trees and understory vegetation, along with seating among the new gardens with a BBQ and water stations.
As the final touches are applied, some temporary fencing will remain in place through the area.
The overall design is bold and inviting and will be a terrific asset to the local community, as well as those using the trail.
It is a great reward for a community that from the outset recognised the opportunities that elevated rail over the level crossings provided for the development of new open space and a better bike route.
Those that have argued against elevated rail to remove level crossings can see again the outstanding benefits that have been delivered along Bell-Moreland as was along the Caulfield to Dandenong corridor.
Not every level crossing project has delivered great outcomes for bikes, but this one did.
From the outset Bicycle Network was involved in the planning and design, and the design teams and engineers in both the reference design and the contracted design had combined good instincts and the ability to listen with their technical and problem-solving skills.
Projects of this scale will have imperfections, but this one sets a standard that the government should seek to match or exceed in all such future projects.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.