Whitehorse Council on 22 June, adopted a budget that rejected MeBUG’s submission for additional cycling funding. All submissions from. other community groups and individuals were likewise rejected
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.
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.