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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The state Labor MP for Box Hill, Paul Hamer MP has announced that $370,000 has been provided in the 2019-20 state budget for an initial study into the feasibility and possible route for the Hawthorn to Box Hill shared path. The project would leverage off the planned rail grade separations at Surrey Hills and Mont Albert. MeBUG warmly welcomes this announcement.
We have put in a submission to Whitehorse Council for the 2019-20 budget, seeking adequate investment in cycling infrastructure. Our covering email stated:-
“Attached herewith is a list of 14 projects for improved cycling infrastructure that MeBUG requests be considered for funding in the coming Council budget. This list is a subset of a list submitted a year ago for the previous budget. Not one of those suggested projects received funding. The revised list has fewer projects with those clearly rejected by Council, having been removed.
In putting forward this list, we remind Council that:
In the 2018-19 budget, not a single metre of new bicycle path was budgeted nor built. This is, even for Whitehorse, a low water mark in cycling investment.
The 2016 Cycling Strategy records that community consultation placed ‘Build more off-road paths’ as the top priority.
The strategy also notes that ‘Interested but Concerned’ cohort, representing 60% of the community, ‘Find situations in which they have to negotiate with traffic streams uncomfortable but respond well to stand alone paths and streets with little and slow traffic’.
We are fully aware of the Easy Ride Routes project and welcome any investment to encourage cycling. However we remain to be persuaded that this project will have a significant impact in encouraging the non cycling community members to take up cycling, with the attendant benefits in health and reduced traffic congestion.
We ask you to make every effort to include at least some of the projects in the list attached, in the coming budget.”
We have just completed this comprehensive proposal for linking Box Hill (and the Box Hill to Ringwood Path) with the Anniversary Trail. This was prompted by the state government’s announcement of grade separation projects at Surrey Hills and Mont Albert to be constructed in 2019-2020.
We will be using this report to advocate to local politicians and Councils. we will be working closely with other cycling advocates such as Boroondara BUG to promote this key piece of new cycling infrastructure.
MeBUG president David Simm, attended the tree planting on the HFR reserve on Saturday 15 July, arranged by the Friends of the Healesville Freeway Reserve. Plants were provided by LXRA as an offset for the trees lost as part of the the Blackburn Crossing Removal. The location is on the left between the Davy Lane car park and the horticulture centre so should not impede the subsequent plans for the bike path.
Also present was an LXRA communication person who was made aware of our case for the Elgar Rd bridge and acquainted with the Cochrane St bridge as the sort of crossing we would like.
David subsequently spoke with Cr Munro about the Pipe Track and Council’s need for a plan B to spend the previously allocated money on. David suggested the path along Mahoneys Road . He seemed quite interested but suggested we write to Mayor Bill Bennett, as it was in his ward.
MeBUG volunteers participated in the Whitehorse Council and Maroondah/Manningham Council Bike It events held on 21st and 27th November 2018.
Here are expressions of appreciation from both councils…
22 November 2018
Hi David and Elaine,
We just wanted to say a massive Thank You to the both of you for representing MeBug at Bike it! last week and for all your amazing volunteer work. Your contribution to making the day a success was so much appreciated. You both did such a fine job at the trail ride activity. The feedback we have received from the schools has been terrific, with all of them commenting on how fantastic the volunteers at Bike it! were with the students and their encouragement and support of the kids during the cycling activities.
These events are not possible without the generous help of people like yourselves. Thank you so much David and Elaine, it was a pleasure once again being in your company at Bike it! We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did.
We hope that Bike it! will continue to inspire and encourage more young children in our community to cycle more often for fun, fitness, health and for an active travel alternative around Whitehorse and Boroondara City Council’s. Bike it! is also an excellent opportunity for the students to see the volunteer groups in our community and how they can get involved in the community in the future and the value in all of the community working together.
Justine Girgin & Chris Hui (Whitehorse City Council)
Nellie Montague (Boroondara City Council)
28 November 2018
Dear Michael Hasset,
On Tuesday 27 November, Maroondah City Council in partnership with Manningham City Council and Road Safe Eastern Metro, held Bike It! 2019. Bike It! was attended by 125 students from five primary schools.
St Clements of Rome
It was incredible to witness the fantastic bicycle skills demonstrated by students. All team did well and competed in the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship. A team from Milgate Primary School are our Bike It! 2019 Champions. With teams from Mullum Primary School coming second and third.
Bike It! could not happen without the support of these organisations and club.:
Bicycle Network – activity marshalling and judging.
Croydon Lions – BBQ catering for the event. Serving 240 sausages to the ravenous students.
Croydon Cycleworks – bicycle checks and bike safe activation.
Cycles Galleria – bicycle checks and prize support to the value of $1000.
Metro East Bicycle User Group (MeBUG)- activity marshalling and judging.
Norwood Secondary College – all students performed their allocated roles exceptionally well. They were positive, encouraging to the participants and fair.
Victorian Police –activity marshalling and judging.
We thank you and your members for being part of the successful event. Please forward our thanks on to Scoot Green, David Simm and Marion Hick.
The verbal feedback from Councillors, teachers, students and parents was overwhelmingly positive. The teachers noted that the event was well organised, engaging and complimented their Bike Ed programs. The teachers all recommended prioritising this event in their school calendars for 2019. The students said the event was fun, the ice poles were awesome and some of the activities were difficult.
I look forward to working with you on Bike It! 2019.
Michael Blowfield Transport and Sustainability Planner