Sunday, December 7, 2008

On your bikes, says Brumby

COMMUTERS will be asked to leave their cars at home, share the drive to work, get on motorcycles and scooters or take to their bikes in a sweeping package of reforms to be unveiled as part of the State Government's transport blueprint this week.

But the Brumby Government's plan to upgrade bike paths — believed to amount to $100 million over 12 years — is likely to disappoint cyclists, adding only $800,000 to existing annual funding statewide.

"They have made the time scale very long," Bicycle Victoria chief executive Harry Barber said. "With this commitment, they are clearly not moving quickly enough to turn car trips into bike trips to relieve congestion."

Premier John Brumby yesterday confirmed that his much-anticipated transport plan will be released this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

The Sunday Age believes the plan's road-building focus, which reportedly includes the Frankston bypass, a port to CityLink freeway and possibly an outer ring road, will be offset by a large campaign to convince people to stop driving their cars to work.

Part of the campaign will be a push to make motorcycles and scooters safer, increasing their appeal to commuters as low-emission alternatives to cars.

The Sunday Age believes the Government will also aim to set a carbon emission target for its vehicle fleet. This is likely to mean state bureaucrats will in future be driving more hybrid Camrys and locally made small cars, such as the Ford Focus, instead of the traditional six-cylinder Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons that dominate the fleet now.

It is understood the transport plan will closely match the Government's ambitions to create newly designated business centres at Broadmeadows, Box Hill, Dandenong, Frankston, Footscray and Ringwood. Significant transport projects are likely to be focused around these areas in a "decentralisation" of Melbourne's transport strategy.

In his recommendations to the Government, Sir Rod Eddington said $60 million worth of new east-west bike tracks should be built in Melbourne. The transport plan's bike funding will commit $100 million over 12 years across Victoria, replacing the previous commitment of $75 million from 2006 to 2016. Cycling advocates were hoping for a much bigger investment. A new statewide bike strategy is expected next year, with upgrades to existing bike paths, new and extended paths, priority traffic signals for cyclists and better separation of cyclists and cars...

Read the entire article at

So... what bicycle will you be riding Mr Brumby!? (Don't worry... I'll escort you on the one I ride every single day, if you like. I'll even give you some tips!)

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