Being a municipality that is fairly compact, it’s a joy to get out and about either on foot or by bike. Popping down to Barkly Square on the fixie or taking a stroll to brunch is one of the aspects that makes living in Brunswick so pleasurable, however Council must ensure that residents and visitors alike are able to do this in a safe and efficient manner.
The Council recently committed to spending $1.6 Million on upgrades to footpaths and cycle path infrastructure. I applaud this spending if it is spent in the right way. It needs to be spent on serious upgrades to the Upfield bike path, as it is clear that Sydney Rd is far too dangerous and busy for cyclists to use. The Upfield bike path plays an important role. as a 'major artery', connecting cyclists to surrounding suburbs as well as the city.
This budgeted money must be spent on making sure that cyclists and pedestrians are safe from the dangers of fast moving traffic. The statistics are very clear that bicycles and cars do not mix, with around 85% of cycling accidents involving another vehicle. The Council must do more to create more options for cyclists, and this includes improvements/upgrades to the Upfield bike path.
Plenty of local residents also use cycling as a means to commute to work which is why the East Brunswick shimmy and West Brunswick shimmy must also be included in the spending on the upgrades. There are too many instances of people having accidents that could have been avoided if bikes had their own dedicated, and safe, bike lanes.
Walking around our suburbs is also an important aspect of our local community, the recent lockdowns have meant that more than ever we've had to explore our suburbs by foot.
The Council has also pledged to spend more on pedestrian crossings at roundabouts and T-intersections, Whilst being a good idea, it doesn't go far enough in providing for community it is rediscovering the local trails and footpaths. Zebra crossings, pedestrian traffic lights and resurfaced foot paths is what is needed to make sure that people can get around safely.
At peak exercise times throughout the day the Merri Creek trail is not only used by cyclists, but increasingly used by those who wish to take a stroll away from busy streets, and what I've noticed recently is that the paths provided are inadequate to the amount of foot traffic that is using it. Some of this $1.6 million dollar budget needs to be spent on the improvement of the Merri Creek trail so that walkers and cyclists alike can utilise this at anytime throughout the day.
Walking and cycling is an integral part to people's daily routines, whether that be to commute, a brief respite from being locked up at home or a part of your exercise regime. The council needs to make sure the infrastructure suits the needs of our community. I'm passionate about the safety and quality all of our cycle and walking paths in Moreland and will make sure Council provide the improvements that are so sorely needed.