Eastern Regional Trails Strategy

The seven Eastern Metropolitan Councils of Melbourne (Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges) along with the Victorian Government have undertaken a strategic review of their regional shared trails.
 
A contract was awarded to Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architecture (FFLA) to develop the strategy, which was completed in January 2019.
 
 
The report provides a useful overview of the trail network in Melbourne’s east as well as some requirements for upgrades to the various trails studied. However, other than an initial questionnaire, there does not seem to have been much input from cycling groups, nor their input particularly sought. This is rather disappointing. It remains to be seen whether this report stimulates greater investment in shared trails, or becomes just another consultant’s report sitting on the shelf.

We have prepared these comments on the report:

 
Earlier documents relating to the project include a  Community Bulletin which explains what the project is about and the key areas of focus.
 
MeBUG members have previously prepared the following proposals that may be useful in developing the Strategy:

We received the following feed back from Maroondah Council on 5 March 2019, regarding our comments:-

Dear David Blom and the MeBUG Committee,

Thank you for the feedback on the Eastern Regional Trail Strategy (ERTS).

The ERTS is a strategic planning document to finance and deliver high quality, low stress and better connected trail network. Its purpose is to encourage and manage the impacts of more walking, cycling and to a lesser extent horse riding to provide economic, community and environmental benefits. We want the region’s trails to be world class, delivery diverse experiences and be inclusive for all.

The Strategy has already proven effective in securing investment with the recent $2.5M announcement for stage 1 of Yarra Valley Trail. Stage 1 connects Lilydale with Yarra Glen. The anticipated completion is October 2019. 

Regarding the auditing process and missed sections of the network. One of the purposes of the Strategy was to clearly define what classifies as a regional trail and what isn’t. This classification was then used to guide the focus of the audits. The trails missed by the audit were classified as municipal links and thus precluded.  The exceptions are Stud Road Trail and Wellington Road Trail. We can utilise the Council’s assets information to determine the level of service issues for these links. 

The analysis does highlight some missed potential regional trails. The ERTS is an agile document and we are committed to reviewing the network in response to regional development, transport pipeline projects and the delivery of new trails. Reviews will use the criteria articulated in the ERTS to assess trails for inclusion in the trail network. It is acknowledged that some routes might be better classified as Strategic Cycling Corridors only or in addition to trail classification.  

The minor links (Dorkings Road, Bushy Creek, Mt Dandenong Road, Lincoln Road) would be classified as designated cycling or municipal links. They will most likely remain as municipal links until the connectivity challenges of the road network allows for their union.  

If you require any further information or would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me directly.

Regards,


 
Michael Blowfield 
Transport and Sustainability Planner “