Jen has kindly donated her time to write a response to the East-West Link Needs Assessment.
12 July 2008
BayWest Bicycle User Group submission
BayWest Bicycle User Group supports all types of cycling in the western suburbs of Melbourne, particularly in Hobsons Bay. Our members come from a diverse range of backgrounds and include a variety of ages. They are interested in recreational, commuting and road cycling. We would like to comment on the report as follows:
A central agency, responsible for cycling infrastructure, is essential if the vision of a cycling culture is to be sustained. Currently, planning and projects are haphazard and inconsistent across Melbourne. Cycling facilities for commuting are very poor in the west compared with those in the eastern suburbs. We need to encourage more people to cycle to reduce congestion, carbon emissions and improve health. Many journeys are only a few kilometres and could easily be cycled providing the cycling infrastructure is appropriate. There must be safe places to ride and store bicycles.
We support the provision of cross city cycle connections, particularly the Northbank proposal (project 7) and the extension of the Federation Trail (project 1).
Some of our members commute to St Kilda Road, the CBD and South Melbourne by bicycle and there is no easy, safe way to travel east-west. Reducing conflict with pedestrians on Southbank is a major issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
The potential of the Federation Trail will not be realised until it links up with the Bay Trail heading north into Footscray. Currently the Millers Road end of the Federation Trail leaves cyclists with no defined way to travel east.
These two projects should be commenced immediately as the need is apparent now. Record numbers of cyclists are commuting from the west to the city each day and with fuel prices increasing, more people will choose to travel by bicycle. This should be encouraged by government over private car transport. If you create places to ride, cyclists will use them. It is also a very cheap form of transport that is able to overcome problems with social disadvantage.
Recommendation 2 & 3
Rail services on the Werribee line are too infrequent and unreliable and need urgent attention. One train to the city from the Altona loop every 20 minutes during peak times is very poor. Unless services become more frequent and reliable, public transport will not attract new patrons because car travel takes half the time. People are virtually forced to drive everywhere. Something needs to be done well before the construction of a rail tunnel to alleviate this problem. Continuing with the current situation is not an acceptable option.
Decent facilities for bicycles at railway stations (such as cages with restricted access) would encourage more people who live within a couple of kilometres of a station to use public transport. This would reduce stress on car parks at stations and traffic in these areas. Bikes are commonly stolen from stations at the present time.
Unfortunately the overcrowding problem precludes taking bicycles on trains in peak hour. With extra services on the Werribee line it would be possible to use bike-train-bike to reduce congestion for example on the St Kilda Road tram network. Any new trains ordered should have provision for bicycles.
Melbournians must reduce their reliance on the motor vehicle. People should be encouraged to cycle using appropriate infrastructure perhaps combined with a revamped public transport system.
This submission was contributed by Jennifer Williams & Peter Undy (secretary) and the committee of the BayWest Bicycle User Group.