GREEN SPINE action update

GREEN SPINE

The planned protest meeting and bike ride along the Green Spine this Friday has been cancelled due to Covid-19.

Green spine near Moorabool Street

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.

Green spine south side

Green Spine – Your action needed

Photo taken after the opening of Geelong’s Green Spine

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.

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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
sasher@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Kylie Gryzbek Ph: 0434 307 043
kgrzybek@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Eddy Kontelj Ph: 0455 532 006
ekontelj@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Anthony Aitken Ph: 0434 307 044
aaitken@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Trent Sullivan Ph: 0434 307 050
tsullivan@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

Ron Nelson Ph: 0429 531 875
rnelson@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

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.

Sarah Mansfield Ph: 0436 343 642
smansfield@geelongcity.vic.gov.au
Bruce Harwood  Ph: 0434 307 042
bharwood@geelongcity.vic.gov.au
Pat Murnane Ph: 0434 307 033
pmurnane@geelongcity.vic.gov.au
Peter Murrihy  Ph: 0434 307 045
pmurrihy@geelongcity.vic.gov.au
Jim Mason Ph: 0434 307 048
jmason@geelongcity.vic.gov.au