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Belford Rd underpass proposal
Location: heading towards the CBD from the Kew Golf Club the Yarra River Trail rises up to Belford Rd and then down towards the Kilby Rd underpass at Willsmere Park. Counts in 2010 indicate that approximately 600 cyclists a day use the path at the Belford Rd intersection.
The main problems that occur in this area are the result of the gradients to be found at this point on the Yarra River Trail:
- pedestrians walking on the shared path feel intimidated by cyclists traveling at speed down the hill
- cyclists find the climb up the hill difficult - particularly the younger members of family groups
- Belford Rd appears abruptly and is quite busy as it is the one and only road to provide access to the enclave on the north side of the highway
- the approaches to the turn circles at Elm Grv and Willow Grv are particularly hazardous as they are steep and sharp - refer photos - the areas are badly lit at night
- the section running parallel to Willsmere park is also steep and pedestrian conflict is rife
- the path is too narrow
The current arrangements are unsatisfactory for pedestrians and cyclists.
Build a new path from the Kilby road underpass vicinity that would run along an existing earth bench/berm/ledge beside the freeway. It would pass under Belford Rd and rejoin the Yarra River Trail in the vicinity of the Kew Golf Club. The eastern side would more than likely require a cantilevered section.
A second and preferred option would locate the path on the open ground at the same level as the freeway surface. Refer to this view of the location from the Belford Rd bridge. The path would be located on the right hand side. Safety Barriers would be required and those used at the Grand Prix in Melbourne (500k pdf) have been suggested.
Further study would determine which of the two options would be the most appropriate. In either case, the path should be three metres wide from the Kilby Rd underpass to Burke Rd, given the amount of traffic along this route. Alternatively the existing path could be a walkers path and the new path a cycle path. Given the monies already expected to be spent on the Belford Rd crossing, it may be a good time to look at this proposal instead.
Implementing this path, in conjunction with the proposed "Eastern Freeway Path" - see below - would be highly beneficial for cycling in the northern areas of Boroondara and nearby such as Banyule & Manningham. Boroondara north is currently car centric given the lack of good cycling routes to the CBD and the lack of public transport. This proposal would be great for local residents, as the Willsmere area would become more pedestrian friendly. Cyclists coming into the area from the proposed Darebin link across the Yarra, would also be able to transit the area with little disruption to the local amenity.
Boroondara Council and VicRoads commissioned Aurecon to produce a feasibility study covering the proposed underpass. The embankment and at freeway level proposals were both examined, with the at freeway level option considered the best and least expensive. You can read our letter of support sent to Council.
BBUG put forward this suggestion to the State Government and we received a positive reply from VicRoads.
Yarra River Trail in the Belford Rd vicinity
- red - Belford Rd underpass
- hot pink - a suggested route of the Eastern Freeway Path - north side
- purple - a suggested route of the Eastern Freeway Path - south side
- bright blue - connections to existing routes
- green - existing off road trails including the Yarra Trail route
- blue - existing on road routes