Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Planning Minister Matthew Guy has used his ministerial powers to approve a missing link of Melbourne's bike track network.
The government says the Darebin Creek Trail involves the construction of a 1.8 kilometre shared trail that will link Melbourne's six most popular bike trails by a bridge over the Yarra River, connecting the Darebin Creek Trail to Melbourne's eastern cycling network.
Bicycle Network Victoria has been campaigning for the connection for 17 years and last year the state government allocated $18 million to complete the project, including a route along the Darebin Creek and a new bridge across the Yarra.
All the local councils had extended planning permits, except for Boroondara council, where the Yarra bridge will bring the trail through Willsmere Park to connect with the Main Yarra Trail.
In April, the Boroondara council refused an extension, but last week Mr Guy used his ministerial powers to overrule the council and approve the project.
Mr Guy said the route had been marked in the Melways for 20 years and it was a crucial link to improve safety and access for cyclists.
''Bicycle is trunk transport infrastructure. We need to ensure we have good bike paths as transport,'' Mr Guy said.
''I respect the fact that there are differing views in Boroondara. But it is not a freeway, this is an important part of the cycling jigsaw.''
He said Boroondara's alternative connection plan would have required more land acquisition and the trail would have been more prone to flooding.
Bicycle Network Victoria had written to the government urging it to take action to assure the community that the project would go ahead. Spokesman Garry Brennan said the network welcomed the decision, which would ''unlock'' a large amount of off-road trails to other paths."
I had to review my opinion of him.
At least for a while.
I'll have to bite my tongue. I don't want the Planning Minister to realise he has just encouraged something friendly to the environment.
I wish he would use them for the Mullum Mullum trail to Eastlink trail connection.
Oh well, somethinng is better than nothing.