The City of Boroondara has released a draft of its next 10-year bike strategy, promising to usher in a new era of sustainable, active transport across Melbourne’s middle, eastern suburbs.
The strategy has been several years in the making, but the City seems set to make up for lost time, simultaneously launching an implementation plan to jump start new bike infrastructure from 2022.
Melbourne’s inner and middle eastern suburbs have long been potentially fertile ground for healthy, active transport, with the right demographics and employment and education destinations.
But stodgy political leadership has hindered community aspirations for decades.
Now the winds have shifted and local and state government representation across the east have become acutely aware of the climate crisis, and of how active transport fits in to the solution.
The action orientation of the new strategy and action plan, with its clear priorities and initiatives, and integration with plans by state and other local government entities, bodes well.
The strategy says that the key limitation of the existing bicycle network in Boroondara is the lack of connectivity and safe, protected routes to cater for the travel needs of the entire municipality.
"While safe off-road paths exist and are highly utilised, there are very few connecting on-road links and these links generally only cater for experienced or confident riders as they typically do not offer any protection from vehicular traffic,” the strategy says.
"This results in only a relatively small proportion of the overall travel demand being met by the existing fragmented network, with many residents unable to access safe bicycle facilities unless they reside in close proximity to an off-road path.
"A significant opportunity exists to increase bicycle mode share through the creation of a safe and connected bicycle network spanning the entire municipality.
"This would make bicycle riding a viable travel option for more trip types, and encourage higher levels of participation particularly among women and children who are currently underrepresented in bicycle ridership across the community.”
Among the initiates outlined are:
- Work with the State Government (Department of Transport) to develop the Strategic Cycling Corridor network.
- Create a high-quality off-road shared path network by upgrading existing paths in line with current standards and providing new links.
- Improve bicycle safety along main roads and intersections through the implementation of on-road cycle infrastructure treatments which respond to the existing road corridor environment.
- Create a supporting network of safe bicycle streets which encourages bicycle access and supports local trips by bicycle.
- Improve management of paths used by both pedestrians and bicycle riders in formal gardens across the municipality.
- Provide improved quality and quantity of bike parking and end-of-trip facilities.
- Provide high quality wayfinding.
- Continue to run and support promotional and educational programs aimed at encouraging people to ride bicycles through raising awareness of the benefits and developing safe riding skills.
Community feedback on the draft strategy closes at midnight Monday 28 February 2022.
After the draft Boroondara Bicycle Strategy is reviewed and updated in response to community feedback, it will return to the council for formal adoption in early 2022.
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