Darebin link completes bike chain: Concerns about environmentally sensitive nature of the land it will cut through

One of the bridges over Darebin Creek. Photo: Justin McManus

The biggest gap in Melbourne’s web of off-road bike paths will be joined, with the Baillieu government committing $18 million to connect the dead-end Darebin Creek trail to six other bike routes.

Cycling advocates who have fought for two decades to have the trail extended hailed the decision as a watershed moment for pedal-powered transport in Melbourne, which will make it easier for thousands of people to ride across the city.

The 1.8-kilometre extension will link the southern end of the Darebin Creek trail in Alphington with the main Yarra trail in Kew, ultimately connecting it to a 600-kilometre network of off-road trails through the suburbs.

Work on the path will begin next year and is expected to take three years to complete. It will require the construction of four bridges – a 50-metre bridge across the Yarra River and three smaller bridges across Darebin Creek…

The new path will skirt Alphington Grammar, the Latrobe Golf Club and Kew Billabong.

The environmentally sensitive nature of the land it will cut through provoked strong community debate when the trail was originally planned several years ago. Opponents, including three local councils, sought to block its development in court. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ultimately granted Parks Victoria approval to build the trail in 2009.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/darebin-link-completes-bike-chain-20121208-2b2ho.html#ixzz2EVfMSlxA