Tide turns with $115 mil Govt bike strategy

Praise for new strategy, is this the turning of the tide?

 by Clay Lucas The Age March 24, 2009

 CYCLING groups have hailed the State Government's new $115 million bike strategy as historic, saying VicRoads will now be required to consider bike lanes in every major road project.


The Victorian Bicycle Strategy, released yesterday by Premier John Brumby and Roads Minister Tim Pallas, identifies key roads within 10 kilometres of the city centre that will be developed or reinforced as bicycle routes.

The strategy also aims to link these inner-city bike lanes to the six "central activity districts" nominated in middle and outer Melbourne: Box Hill, Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Footscray, Frankston and Ringwood.
Mr Brumby and Mr Pallas released the new strategy in North Fitzroy, where a new bike and pedestrian bridge will be built over the Merri Creek linking two important cycling routes.
Under the plan, 23 bike paths around Victoria will be completed in the next 18 months, and 33 bike cages built at train stations around Melbourne.
Mr Pallas – who angered cyclists in 2007 for his decision to stop safer bike lanes being built on St Kilda Road because they would disadvantage car drivers – said the cycling strategy was crucial to encouraging more people to ride to work and for recreation.

Key projects of the bike plan include:

  • Extending the off-road Federation Trail from Altona to Yarraville.
  • The Merri Creek Pipe Bridge, a new path as part of an upgrade of a pipe bridge in Northcote by Melbourne Water.
  • Widening and improving the Gardiners Creek off-road bike path from Hawthorn to Kooyong.

Bicycle Victoria chief executive Harry Barber said the strategy was great for cyclists around Melbourne.
"For the first time in Australia, bike riding has been formally recognised as part of the core transport system," Mr Barber said.

Is this the turning of the tide?

Mr Brumby also said his Government was "elevating cycling as an essential core element of our transport strategy".
"Cycling is now an essential part of the transport plan," the Premier said. "That is a big shift from where we were a decade ago, where really what funds were available to cycling were just an add-on."

 The bike plan will also include safe cycling programs in schools, and a "look out for cyclists" campaign. The Government will spend $18 million a year on cycling.

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