Cyclists on track for sleek new East West Link route

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The Age: Cyclists on track for sleek new East West Link route. September 30, 2014 Yolanda Redrup

An artist’s impression of the proposed bike path at Flemington Bridge station.

Melbourne’s lycra brigade could soon have some new tracks to attack. The most recent plans for the Coalition’s beleaguered East West Link revealed a number of new bike paths, which will connect some of Melbourne’s most popular cycling tracks.

The new paths include a loop for cyclists over Hoddle Street and a new “cycle spiral” linking Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, Capital City Trail, Flemington Bridge station and Debneys Park.

“The inner suburbs within the East West Link’s project area are very popular for walkers, runners and riders, and East West Link provides a great opportunity to enhance community connectivity through investments and upgraded cycling and walking paths,” a Linking Melbourne Authority spokeswoman said.

“We will have more information to announce on bicycle initiatives in the coming days.”

Other developments for cyclists and pedestrians include a bridge which will connect Royal Park and Ross Straw Field, where boardwalks and parks will be built as part of a water-themed playground, and a renewed foot and cycle bridge over the Eastern Freeway.

The spokeswoman said the popular Wellington Street bike lane would remain open to riders while the link is being built, as it would not be impacted by construction.

Bicycle Network general manager of government and external relations Garry Brennan said these developments were a positive result for bike riders.

“The Flemington Bridge station cycle spiral is especially clever, and will connect Moonee Ponds Creek Trail, Capital City Trail, Flemington Bridge Station and Debneys Park, where currently these key routes are disjointed,” he said.

“The Capital City Trail, one of the most important bike routes in Melbourne, appears to survive intact through Royal Park which is a relief after the uncertainty created by earlier designs.”

Mr Brennan said the new bike lane at the Hoddle Street interchange could also be beneficial, but would need to be connected to the eastern corridor bike path along the Eastern Freeway.

Cycling Victoria communications and membership manager Paul Lumsden said it was difficult to tell the extent of the bike paths in the west, but encouraged further consultation with cyclists.

“To date it seems the needs of cyclists have been taken into consideration in the East West Link planning, and we certainly welcome that consultation and inclusion,” he said.

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