News

Whitehorse Council budget again short-changes cyclists

Whitehorse Council has again produced a budget with woefully inadequate provision for cycle paths and other infrastructure.

Council has allocated just $327,000 for cycling which covers just one Easy Rides route and some minor unspecified cycle related items.

We have lodged a submission Arguing for more funding and a new approach, particularly in view of the COVID-19 crisis. In a nutshell, our submission:

  • Seeks redress of the habitual underfunding by doubling the current year provisions and tripling in subsequent years;
  • Notes the greatly increased cycling take up due to the Covid-19 outbreak;
  • Points out the disparity of cycling investment compared to general recreational and roads funding;  
  • Calls for ‘big picture’ thinking in leveraging existing infrastructure and working in partnership with the state government; and
  • Calls for a Council resolution to require officers to increase cycling funding in the future as well as a more holistic approach to cycle planning.

You can read our full submission here.

Box Hill Activity Centre Planning

Whitehorse Council, with consultants AECOM has been developing its Box Hill Integrated Transport Strategy since late 2019. The Stage 3 draft report was recently released for comment.

The strategy recognises the importance of active transport, walking and cycling. However MeBUG believes improvements can be made for cyclists travelling through Box Hill via the Box Hill to Ringwood path and the future planned Hawthorn to Box Hill path, now being planned by the Victorian government. MeBUG has made a further submission to address this issue.

Deakin Uni – safe cycling access

David Simm and Michael Hassett representing MeBUG met with Karly Lovell, General Manager, Travel and Transport and Yvonne Yip, Director of Property Infrastructure and Property Group, of Deakin University on 22nd October.

The meeting resulted from MeBUG submissions dated 30/8/18 and 24/7/19 to the Deakin Vice Chancellor requesting improvements to the safety of students and the general community accessing the Burwood Campus via McComas Gve and Holland Avenue.

Within the general discussions re cycling to campus we specifically discussed:

  • The dangers posed by vehicular traffic including buses from east & west funnelling into Holland Ave at the same time as cyclists from the SUP along the Burwood Highway.

  • Access to the Elgar Rd campus via Holland Avenue for students from the east and southeast.
  • The lack of a safe pedestrian and cyclist crossing of the Burwood Highway at its’ intersection with Holland Ave & McComas Grove.
  • The advantages provided by safe access to McComas Gve  including connection to Mt Waverly via The Lundgren Chain and Damper Creek Paths and a gradient free access to the Gardiners Creek Path to and from the south.
  • We provided approximate costing for circa 400 lin metres of SUP along Holland Ave and upgrades to the existing crossing.
  • We provided broad details of our “Dual Mode (bikes & trains) transport to Deakin “ information sheet. We agreed to assist Deakin by preparing Detailed planning of these routes.
  • We were able to provide details of responses from VicRoads who have “ agreed in principle subject to funding” for an upgrade of the crossing of Burwood Highway and from Whitehorse City Council who have stated  “there are no plans to make changes to Holland Ave”.
  • We discussed the new bridge over the Dandenong Creek and SUP at Vermont South and the need for “cut throughs” to service lanes.

Finally it was agreed to continue to co-operate on this project and for MeBUG to assist Deakin in achieving their targets of increasing cycling as a means to travel to the university.

Bikes on country trains

MeBUG members Lawrence and Breta Cohen have been quietly working to promote improved arrangements for carrying bikes on trains, especially country trains.

They recently attended a workshop in Wangaratta on this subject. Lawrence reports as follows:

“Breta and I accepted an invitation to attend a recent Workshop on internal design of proposed long-haul VLocity trains.  The Workshop was held at Wangaratta on the 4th of September.  We were pleasantly surprised at the tone of the Workshop.  There will be increased provision for bikes.  Further, there seems to be an increasing realisation that a booking system is important.  Ideally, with further lobbying and pressure, there may be a new booking system.  We have attached our report on the Workshop.”

Box Hill Metro Activity Centre (MAC)

An initial report has come out from Whitehorse Council’s consultants on the development of an updated structure plan for Box Hill. The plans include the development of an Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS).

The submission from MeBUG mentioned in the previous News item, relates to this Strategy. Further consultation sessions will be held over the next several months.

The initial report as of September 2019 is available here.

North East Link – Cycling advocates’ report released

A dedicated subset of the Community Technical Discussion Group (CTDG) – Walking and Cycling has completed a report on the desired cycling and walking infrastructure that should be included in the project. The report will form part of the tender documents issued to bidders for the project. Sincere thanks to all who contributed to this report.