The planned protest meeting and bike ride along the Green Spine this Friday has been cancelled due to Covid-19.
THE GREEN SPINE ACTION –
Come along to the Green Spine tomorrow
I will be taking photos, and talking to pedestrians and cyclists using the Green Spine tomorrow, between around 11am and 1pm. If you can, and would like to ride the spine during that time, it would be good to see lots of action.
Other actions to take
- keep talking about the Green Spine – most users are positive about the current spine. (I have SAVE OUR GREEN SPINE t-shirts – a good conversation starter. Contact me if you would like one.)
- keep messaging/emailing our councilors asking them to change this decision. If you can, engage in a dialogue with our councilors. (Contact details are on the Council Website).
- Ride the Green Spine whenever you’re riding in or near Geelong’s CBD.
BACKGROUND to the proposed modification to the Green Spine
Several weeks ago Geelong City Council narrowly voted to change the Malop Street Green Spine, removing the bike path on the northern (Corio Bay) side, and adding more parking for cars, and motor vehicle turning lanes. The motion was carried by one vote – 6 for, 5 against.
Many Cycling Geelong members were at an initial meeting to discuss ways to have this decision reversed and keep the Green Spine in its current form, and continue as originally planned from Gheringhap Street to Eastern Park.
A second event, due to happen this Friday at City Hall, has been cancelled due to Covid-19.
To date, no actual draft design exists to change the spine. Different councilors, who voted for the motion to give more space to motor vehicles on the Green Spine, responding to individuals, have given contrary views about the reasons for this, and what will happen. For example, one councilor says that it’s about his right to park where he likes. Another says that no vegetation will be removed on the northern side (the original motion calls for the Spine infrastructure to stay on the southern side, but does not ). He also stated that the southern bike path will be widened to accommodate 2-way bicycle traffic. For this to happen, either the southern vegetation and infrastructure would be compromised, or road space would be lost to the widened bicycle path. Either of these options would mean more disruption along both sides of the Green Spine, with a negative effect on the traders and people accessing the area.
After council’s decision to rip up the northern side of the Green Spine along Malop Street, and add more cars, we need your help to stop this backward thinking.
The Green Spine will, if completed in it’s original form, run a linear park along Malop Street linking Johnston Park and Eastern Park, and providing a safe cycling route east-west through the CBD. The aim is to provide a people-friendly precinct, and reduce through traffic using Malop Street. This is a major facet of the City of Greater Geelong’s strategy to remove congestion in our city centre, by having through traffic bypassing the CBD.
Council’s recent decision removes the people friendly aspect of the Green Spine, returning cars and more parking at the expense of pedestrians, on-street cafes etc. and cyclists. Greenery, seating and the cycle path will be removed from the northern side, and turning lanes added to the roadway. Parking will be added on the southern side. Cyclists travelling east will either travel on the road, or in the existing one way path (which is not nearly wide enough for 2-way traffic).
There are several ways for you to help to have this decision reversed.
1. Attend events
The next event is a protest rally and ride planned to start at City Hall/Johnston Park at 5.30pm on Friday, March 20th.
You can just turn up (bicycle not essential, but highly recommended) – more details on Facebook
Thanks to all those who came to last week’s Green Spine Action meeting.
2. Contact councilors with your opinions
The destruction of the Green Spine was proposed by Eddy Kontelj. Those who voted to rip up the spine are listed below.
The anti-green spine councillors are Eddy Kontelj, Stephanie Asher, Anthony Aitken, Kylie Grzybek,Trent Sullivan & Ron Nelson. The other five councillors, Sarah Mansfield, Bruce Harwood, Path Murnane, Jim Mason and Peter Murrihy voted to retain the spine in its current form. Even if you haven’t time to send an email, you may have the time to text the anti-Green Spine councillors with a flurry of messages. (Contact details at the bottom of this post are taken from the CoGG website and are in the public domain.)
Images below show draft plans for the first two sections of the Green Spine, adopted by CoGG 2017.
3. Contact your state politicians
There is a move to overrule the City of Greater Geelong decision – and remove funding to CoGG from the state government if the spine is not retained in its current form. Malop Street could become a Vic Roads road, removing any responsibility from the state government. State members from both major parties have voiced their support for retaining the Green Spine in its current form.
4. Talk up the issue.
Talk to family and friends and ask them to add their voice to saving the green spine. We need the citizens of Geelong discussing the spine, and acting to save it. It’s not just about cyclists. However, the retention of the only potential safe cycling route east-west through the CBD is Cycling Geelong’s focus. Add your comments to Facebook and other social media.
4. Ride, walk and shop along the Green Spine
If you’re not a regular in the area, watch out for planned club rides, or come along for a look, walk, coffee, cycle on your own.
Contact details for those councilors who voted to grey the green spine:
Stephanie Asher Ph: 0417 033 856
Kylie Gryzbek Ph: 0434 307 043
Eddy Kontelj Ph: 0455 532 006
Anthony Aitken Ph: 0434 307 044
Trent Sullivan Ph: 0434 307 050
Ron Nelson Ph: 0429 531 875
Contact details for councilors who voted against the motion to obliterate most of the green spine
Let them know that the people of Geelong and Geelong’s cycling community agree with them.
Protected bike lanes make cities safer for everyone, and promote healthy and sustainable commuting.
“The bike lanes were 99% of our headlines, but only 1% of our budget.”
“If you want to build a better city, you can start by building better bike lanes.”
This could work for Geelong – especially the CBD. Imagine the enjoyment of coffee or a meal in an outdoor cafe in Geelong CBD, with no parked cars or exhaust fumes.
On yesterday’s Bicycle Show on 97.4 The Pulse, our mayor, Cr Bruce Harwood, postulated a car-free CBD for Geelong.
Geelong – Cycle City – It’s crunch time!We need the support of all cyclists to ensure that the vital North South bike route becomes a reality.
Geelong City Council will vote on Tuesday, April 30th. After extensive research and community feedback, council officers have found the best route and the are recommending a separated path as the safest option.
However, a small but very vocal group of traders is lobbying hard to oppose any change to the existing road structure.
Help ensure your own and other bike riders’ safe cycling by coming along to the meeting, asking a question, and lobbying your elected Councillors.
- Contact Councillors. Find your ward councillors here. Send an email or make contact them by phone.
- Attend the council meeting: Tuesday, April 30th, 7.00pm – Geelong City Hall, Gheringhap Street, Geelong (Meeting agenda available by 5pm, Friday 26th April here.)
- Ask a question at the meeting. (Questions need to be submitted by noon, Tuesday 30th April on the CoGG website. You must be present at the meeting to ask your question in person.)
Build it and they will come!
- All around the world, when safe cycling infrastructure is provided, people will use it.
- In places where cycling is safe, more women choose cycling (a 50/50 female/male balance is a sure sign that people see cycling as a safe option).
- Geelong is a perfect place to cycle – good climate, few hills, relatively compact.
- There is a commitment from our City to improve Geelong’s cycling infrastructure
In the 1980s, Geelong was the ‘go-to’ place for best practice in cycling infrastructure. Let’s return Geelong to its rightful place –
GEELONG – CYCLE CITY!
Examples of Australasian best practice in cycling infrastructure:
If you read the press there has been a small, but very angry, negative response to any proposed bike route through High Street, Belmont. Despite this, the majority of respondents to the numerous city surveys has been positive.
Now there is a move from businesses in South Geelong to stop the proposed section of the route along Moorabool Street, due to a loss of all-day car parking.
If you ever travel from north to south in Geelong by bike, please have your say. There are three opportunities to view the proposed route and possible alternatives (all of which add time and hazards for cyclists) – at a marquee set up on Moorabool Street (between the Senior Citizens and GMHBA Stadium) where people can come and ask questions on the following dates:
- Thursday 14 February 8am – 12noon
- Saturday 16 February 9am – 1pm
- Tuesday 19 February 11am – 3pm
For more information about the proposed route, and downloads of maps, go to Better Bike Connections
Church Street end now re-opened, but beware of temptation
Finally, after over a year, the Church Street end of the Ted Wilson Trail and western end of Church Street have reopened.
However, avoid the temptation of the new sweeping path down the hill to Fyansford!
The path makes and abrupt halt at the bottom of the long hill – at the edge of the estate. When it will be finished nobody knows. Cyclists need to pedal back up the hill and take the usual route along Hyland Street to access Fyansford.
Riding along the re-opened Ted Wilson Trail isn’t all roses either. The path is seriously overgrown with weeds, which are beginning to compromise the integrity of the path surface. Hopefully, CoGG will soon rectify this. (If you have Snap, Send, Solve on your phone – send in a request to have this fixed. The more people who do so, the more likelihood of fast action.)
We note that the Ted Wilson Trail is now closed between Bacchus Marsh Road and Anakie Road for 5 months from 8th January till 8th June. Cyclists detour to Matthews Road, and have to negotiate the very busy multi-land roundabout at Cox, Anakie and Matthews Road.
To promote the safety of separated bicycle infrastructure, these kids have produced a music video…
Please find the time to comment on Geelong’s proposed new cycling infrastructure – https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay/item/8d51c8881af246e.aspx
To view the detailed plans, there’s one final drop-in session from 3-6pm, next Tuesday (February 13th) from 3-6pm.
Let the strength of our cycling voices lead to positive, safe cycling infrastructure!
Strava* compiles the ride data of millions of subscribers to produce a ‘heat map’ of where cyclists are riding. If you follow the link embedded in the map screenshot, it will show you the accumulated data up to 2017. The map can be fully enlarged to show you the details of where people are riding in the area where you live.
The heatmap is also a useful guide to where people ride, if you’re visiting somewhere new. However, it’s important to realise that many of the people who use Strava are serious cyclists who like to ride far, fast and difficult. As more and more average cyclists use Strava, the data will be less skewed towards the fast and furious end of cycling.
*Strava is an ap. which can be uploaded to a mobile phone, and will also link to GPS trackers like Garmin. It tracks the user’s rides, giving a map, distance, ascent and other statistics. It is available in a basic free version, or a premium version. If you don’t have a bike computer, Strava will give you an accurate picture of how far and fast you have ridden.