Hawthorn to Box Hill Cycle Trail

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Background

Bicycle travel is a healthy and environmentally sustainable mode of transport in urban areas. Safe cycling routes encourage people to travel by bicycle. This is a proposal to create the “Eastern Rail Trail” (ERT) to improve east-west cycle travel through the Cities of Boroondara and Whitehorse in eastern Melbourne. Boroondara City Council actively supports cycling, as stated on the Council web site: “The City of Boroondara's is ideally located to enjoy cycling. Situated along the Main Yarra Trail and Yarra Bend Park and boasting good bicycle facilities, Boroondara offers a unique opportunity to enjoy this attractive, healthy and environmentally friendly form of transport and recreation.”

Source: Cycling in Boroondara, Boroondara Council circa 2005

Council is also committed to the implementation of Melbourne’s Principle Bicycle Network (PBN), which includes a mixture of on road cycle lanes and shared cycle paths. The Victorian Government is also an active proponent of cycling as part of Melbourne’s transport strategy.

“The Victorian Government aims to provide safer travel for pedestrians and cyclists, and to increase the number of people walking and cycling, through improved management of existing road space and the provision of more off-road paths and access.”

Source: Metropolitan Transport Plan Strategy 1.2: Improve safety and access for pedestrians and cyclists, Department of Infrastructure, Victoria, 2005

History

A detailed proposal for the Eastern Rail Trail was prepared in June 1996 by the Cities of Boroondara and Whitehorse and the Department of Sport and Recreation Victoria. The Eastern Rail Trail was identified and an important link in the Principle Bicycle Network for Melbourne. It was specified as one of the four radial routes identified by the State Bicycle Committee to link the outer suburbs with the City. Unfortunately, this proposal has not been implemented to date.

Ref: Eastern Rail Trail http://www.bv.com.au/inform.php?a=7&b=174&c=1254

Good shared bicycle paths are now available along the Gardiner’s Creek and the Eastern Freeway, both of which now connect with the Main Yarra Trail. While these paths are heavily used for both recreational and commuting purposes, they tend to follow major creek routes and do not service large sections of the inner eastern suburbs corridor well for travel in east-west directions.

Considerable progress has been made over recent years on implementing both on road lanes (such as Union, Balwyn, Mont Albert and Kilby Roads) as well as marking of wide left lanes (such as sections of Riversdale Road).

However, there is a lack of direct east-west “bicycle friendly” routes through the City of Boroondara to central Melbourne. The routes with wide left lanes such as Riversdale, Barkers and Burwood Roads frequently carry very heavy traffic, with narrow points at traffic light controlled intersections and many tram stops. These narrow points are very intimidating to casual cyclists and are a major deterrent to them making cycle trips along these routes.

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