Town in position to develop routes

October 07, 2017

Bruce Echberg speaks on Saturday in Shepparton.

An urban designer who has worked on an extensive list of projects across Greater Shepparton believes the town is in the perfect position to develop safer routes for cyclists.

Urban designer and landscape architect Bruce Echberg said despite existing infrastructure targeted at cyclists, he believed routes could be improved.

He said the number of intersections and roundabouts could be hazardous for riders and there was a lack of designated bike lanes and minimal protection from cars.

An advocate of off-road cycle routes, Mr Echberg said a separated cycling corridor through Shepparton — linking the sports precinct in the north and Emerald Bank in the south — would increase safety and promote a healthy, alternative form of transport.

‘‘I think it’s even more important in Shepparton, because it’s not so big that you can’t cycle from one place to the next,’’ Mr Echberg said.

‘‘Personally I think this should be a priority and the upgrading of Welsford St is the perfect opportunity to be doing matching funding to upgrade Wyndham St.’’

A council survey this year found significant demand for more walking and cycling options, with only 36 per cent saying it was easy to cycle in Greater Shepparton, compared to the 80 per cent who opted to drive.

A City of Greater Shepparton planning department spokesperson said it had been identified areas were lacking in some cycling infrastructure and recommendations through the council’s five-year cycling strategy were being implemented.

The spokesperson said each year there was money allocated to cycling infrastructure, which included line paintings, street hoops and other markings on roads, and a separated bike lane could be a possibility in the future.

‘‘The works happening at Welsford St currently will increase the lane width from two to four, and that means we eventually won’t need four lanes of traffic on Wyndham St, because it’ll be downclassed to an urban street,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘It will still be an important function of the shopping strip, but the overall section for Wyndham St may actually include dedicated cycling lanes that would be divorced from the traffic and footpath.

‘‘While there is no vision at the moment, ultimately these issues, and others that have been raised by road users, will be addressed.’’

To view the council’s Greater Shepparton Cycling Strategy, visit council’s website.

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