School riders fall into the “gaps”

By Sahar Foladi

The number of cyclists increases post-Covid in the Greater Dandenong area, but gaps remain in the bicycle network.

According to Garry Brennan of the Bicycle Network, riders are increasing every year.

“Our membership in Greater Dandenong and surrounding areas is growing, especially as the population ages, more people retire and seek healthy activities.”

The completion of the path on the Dandenong railway line between Yarraman Station and central Dandenong is a “priority project” for the network.

“There are plans for a sequel in central Dandenong. The City of Greater Dandenong has completed visibility studies on the route it will take and is awaiting funding from the state government.”

Greater Dandenong City Technical Director Paul Kearsley said the council was lobbying the Victorian Government for a number of major cycling infrastructure projects.

“The Council is also seeking funding to fill gaps in the Eastlink Trail along the Cranbourne Rail line and surface improvements on the Dandenong Creek Trail in Bangholme,” Mr Kearsley said.

The Council is considering ongoing funding for its cycling infrastructure through its Active Transport Infrastructure Priority Program for 2023-24.

However, according to physical education teacher Mitchell Wood at Keysborough Secondary College, there are not enough bike lanes and crossings for students to cycle to school.

“There aren’t as many bike lanes around the college as I would like for our students. A few main roads like Corrigan Road should have cycle lanes but don’t.”

The school encourages students to use active alternatives to get to school ahead of the upcoming annual National Ride2School event.

“There are also not many crossing options for our students to bike across. There are other improvements that could be done,” said Mr. Wood.

This could be one of the many reasons why only eight out of 99 schools in Greater Dandenong are registered with the bike network.

Keysborough Secondary College – Acacia Campus, Keysborough Gardens Primary School, Dandenong South PS, Dandenong North PS, Springvale Rise PS – Springvale and Heights Campus, Carwatha College P-12 and St Gerard’s PS are the only registered ones.

Similarly, only 12 schools are registered with the Council’s Get Active Get Moving initiative for an active and healthy community in Greater Dandenong.

Meanwhile, the “considerable gaps” in the cycling infrastructure network are being filled opportunistically.

“Whenever there’s a railway, road or water project, authorities will try to build a path for cycling and walking at the same time,” Mr Brennan said.

“There are projects in the east where new cycling infrastructure is being deployed, but we still have some time before all these components are connected.”


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