Clearing up the misinformation on Sturt Street paths

The stretch of the proposed bike path showing where it  moves to the sides of the median and then to the outer sides of Sturt Street.  Picture VicRoads
The stretch of the proposed bike path showing where it moves to the sides of the median and then to the outer sides of Sturt Street. Picture VicRoads

Clearing up the misinformation on Sturt Street paths

Some facts about the plan to improve bicycle safety around Ballarat. Yes it's an election year and Liberal Josh Morris didn't see the need to be factual in his letter on the bike path plan currently under consideration.

Fact 1. The Andrews government has allocated nearly $10 million to Ballarat to improve bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle safety around the city.

Fact 2. A cycle path on Sturt Street is just part of the plan under consideration with bike paths beside the rail line between Ballarat and Wendouree stations and other paths under consideration with a view to linking up the extensive system of off road paths which have been developed outside the CBD. 

Fact 3. Draft plans being developed by VicRoads have been developed in conjunction with the City Council and will not proceed without the City's approval.

Fact 4. VicRoads has made draft plans available as brochures and via their their engage.vicroads website. They have also consulted extensively via their pop-up shop on Sturt Street, their website, community meetings and they have talked with key stakeholders including dropping in to all businesses along the relevant sections of Sturt Street and consultation is ongoing. 

Fact 5. In regard to Sturt Street; over the last 5 years there have been 76 reported vehicle crashes with 106 people injured while crossing Sturt Street intersections. There have also been 34 pedestrians and 104 cyclists involved in crashes in the CBD over the last 5 years. The proposed Sturt Street pedestrian and cycle path can help to address the crash history and make the CBD safer for vehicle traffic as well as cyclists and pedestrians.

YOU CAN SEE THE PLANS HERE

Nowhere has it ever been suggested that the paths would be bright orange, as claimed by Josh Morris and no statues or trees would have to be moved. In fact the plan could make our statues and grassy median far more accessible to the public.

The last important point to make is that the proposals being developed by VicRoads are up for healthy, informed discussion and they can be changed to take in community feedback.

Misinformation can not assist helpful discussion and it is disappointing Liberals are using the opportunity to score cheap political points rather than supporting objective discussion.

I, along with most City leaders and VicRoads staff continue to welcome thoughtful feedback and again emphasise that the final plans for bikepaths across the CBD will only go ahead if approved by the City Council.

It is a pity if one Liberal councillor has judged the project ahead of objective consideration and is adding to misrepresentation of a plan aiming to make our CBD safer for all.

Geoff Howard, Member for Buninyong

Better use of underutilised space

I read with astonishment of the proposal to build a bike path down the centre of Sturt Street. Whoever came up with this proposal has no idea of the value statues, trees and garden beds and memorials, including the Cenotaph which are located in this beautiful and historic precinct. 

Had the designers taken the time to walk up and down Sturt Street from Grenville Street to Pleasant Street adjacent to the central garden beds they would have found that there are already paths suitable for cyclists between the former tram tracks and the central garden kerbs.

The stretch of the proposed bike path showing where it  moves to the sides of the median and then to the outer sides of Sturt Street . Picture VicRoads

The stretch of the proposed bike path showing where it moves to the sides of the median and then to the outer sides of Sturt Street . Picture VicRoads

The only time these paths are used is for pedestrians crossing Sturt Street and by Council vehicles doing maintenance along the garden beds. If the existing paths were used as cycle use only, riders could approach the cross streets in a manner similar to motorists. Cost wise it would be much more economical to pave the existing paths. 

With appropriate painting of signs cyclists could traverse Sturt Street in safety and enjoy the ambience of the magnificent garden beds in our beautiful and historic thoroughfare which would be maintained in present form well into the future. We are stuffing up the Civic Hall Site, we are stuffing up the Railway Station precinct and now they want to stuff up Sturt Street at well. Their thinking is beyond me.

Paul Jenkins, Alfredton.