Residents and commuters of Ballarat’s north-western suburbs will soon have a safer riding route, with three kilometres of shared pedestrian and bicycle path to be built.
The works form part of City of Ballarat's Ballarat Cycling Action Plan 2017-2025 as the most north-western identified link in a “cohesive network of cycling routes” which are targeted at “novice and everyday riders” (as set out in page 9 of the Plan) .
Construction has been planned to create two separated shared-use paths between Soldiers Hill and the Ballarat station precinct, eventually combining with the Learmonth Road shared-use path to form a safe riding corridor from the outer north-western suburbs to the city centre.
Bicycle Network’s Four Photos campaign highlighted key connections within Ballarat that need updating to keep riders safe, and a recent update showed that progress has been slow, with work underway on a shared-use path on Sturt Street representing one out of four on the scorecard.
The Ballarat Cycling Action Plan uses Bicycle Network Super Counts data, to show there was a 35% increase in the number of recreational cyclists from the year before the plan was created, which showed an opportunity to make bike riding more commonplace in Ballarat, particularly as a mode of commuting.
The Plan also referred to the Super Counts rider gender data, which estimated that women represented less than 1 in 5 commuters counted in the Super Tuesday data. Studies have shown that separated, off-road bike riding infrastructure is likely to encourage women to ride, and this separated Learmonth Road shared-path is likely to encourage new riders to choose cycling for their commute.
Victorian government's $9.3 million Ballarat Safer Cycling Connections project, funded through the TAC and aiming to upgrade 12km of riding paths in Ballarat, may also contribute funding to this project, although this is yet to be confirmed.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.