Box Hill unblocked for bikes

A major redevelopment of the Box Hill Central shopping centre will clear the way for desperately needed new bike connections through the precinct.

Shopping centre owner Vicinity is gifting a slice of land for a new elevated active transport crossing of the Ringwood rail line thus enabling a new north-south bike corridor to finally be established through the suburb.

And the extension of Main Street westward to Prospect Street as part of the development will add a crucial east-west connection for bikes and pedestrians.

Prospect Street connects to Nelson Street from where the elevated railway crossing will connect. Nelson Street to the north and Thurston Street to the south of the rail line are part of the official north-south Strategic Cycling Corridor through the precinct.

Presumably, the Department of Transport will already be developing concepts to connect that corridor to the proposed east-west trail along the rail line from Box Hill to Hawthorn.

The Box Hill station precinct and the adjoining shopping centre has long blocked safe and convenient bike travel in just about any direction.

Yet the rapidly densifying district needs good bike links more than ever as the living and working population climbs and roads become saturated, ruling out private vehicle growth.

In a sign of the times, the massive new redevelopment will actually reduce the amount of car parking.

The recently approved redevelopment of stage one of 10-year makeover of the 5.5-hectare centre has a strong focus on better walking and biking links.

There will be a substantial increase in bicycle parking in the new development that is easily accessible from the primary pedestrian network with excellent amenities for staff and visitors.

“Box Hill is a bustling place, it’s the economic centre of Whitehorse and beyond,” the Mayor Cr Tina Liu said.

“We need to support more jobs and homes in the area close to public transport, the hospital and schools. There will be significant community benefits delivered through this redevelopment.

“What is currently a concrete loading bay and car park at the western end of Main Street will become an urban plaza through landscaping, street furniture and open space for passive recreation.”

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.