Urban Bush Path at Warrigal Rd
From Boroondara BUG
City of Stonnington
BBUG would like to see a 3m wide shared built on the west side of Warrigal Rd, traversing from the Gardiners Creek Rd Bridge in the north to The Boulevard in the south, facilitating access to the Holmesglen shops, TAFE and station by all path users. Refer to map.
To implement this shared path, the current fence would be moved back in from the existing path to provide sufficient space for the new path to be built. Simultaneously the fence would be camouflaged on both sides with trees and foliage. No more eyesore - just a shady Urban Bush path that kids can use to ride their bikes to the shops and station.
Currently it's just a hostile location and an eyesore. Any child over the age of twelve by law is expected to ride on Warrigal Rd - a 70 kph four lane arterial. It could be so much more.
Keep in mind that the path along Warrigal Rd is the only access route to the shops, Holmesglen TAFE and Holmesglen station for residents located to the immediate north of Gardiners Creek.
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Read the Leader articles and leave a comment on their web site:
Stonnington Council has made no commitment to implementing our proposal whatsoever. However we continue to receive emails of support for the project.
Gateway to Stonnington
The sporting facility located to the west of Warrigal Rd and south of Gardiners Creek represents the most north easterly corner of Stonnington. Boroondara Council is located just to the north of the creek and Monash Council is located east of Warrigal Rd either side of the creek.
The Gateway to Stonnington is a 200m long high chain mesh fence abutting right on to the footpath. It is an eyesore and has been for years. It sends out a strong unwelcoming message to those passing by - keep out. This fence impacts heavily on the daily lives of nearby Boroondara and Monash residents who must use this route to walk to the station. To passing motorists it's just another blight on the landscape. As Stonnington residents are not affected to a great degree, Council is willing to maintain the status quo at the expense of others. Sadly Stonnington's lack of civic pride is palpable.
Why hasn't this area been improved in the past?
Ever since the existence of the cyclone fence, there was a drop off immediately to the west of the fence of some 3 or 4 metres - refer photo. Moving the fence back off this path would require the fence height to be extended by this height - an expensive process.
However in the winter of the 2009 Council decided they would build a new dam, landscape the area next to Warrigal Rd and also on the north side of the M1 just east of the East Malvern Station footbridge. The idea being to improve the ambiance at the sporting facility. A good idea. The dirt mounds sat there for a year with nothing growing on them but weeds. It is unclear how all this was financed by Council.
It seems likely, that if a resident requested Council permission to put up such a fence at the front of their house, the Council would laugh at the prospect.
Taking the extra step
Now that dirt has been piled up from 3 or 4 metres below road level to above road level, the fence can now be moved back off the existing footpath along Warrigal Rd with ease. Leaving room for a shared path and perhaps a few bench seats along the way.
On the 24th May 2010 at 6pm, we made a two part budget submission to the Council requesting:
- this shared path be financed and implemented. Our full submission for this part can be downloaded here. It contains the full details of what we requested with the appropriate justifications.
- the budget monies allocated to cycling related infrastructure be increased to in excess of $750k
The budget meeting was held in private at the Council chamber at which one of our members spoke in support of our two proposals. The very next morning, a small army of contractors were out in the rain, planting trees all over the dirt mounds. The job was pretty will finished by the next day - refer photos.
This was a sad and somewhat hollow move by Council to negate our proposed path by planting where the new fence would need to be placed. On the Friday the 28th of May 2010 Council notified BBUG that both our submissions had failed with no explanation as to why.
On the 7th June BBUG submitted its petition to Council. Five hundred and fifteen people indicated that they supported our proposal for a shared path by signing the petition.
Currently the land is used for profit by a commercial enterprise under contract to the Council and although the biggest public space in Stonnington, it can only be used by a select few. This land is Public land - our land. It can be successfully shared.
The proposed path can be a win win for all. Presumably this would fit with the Mayor's ideas: The Age - Council bypass a shonky plan for Melbourne. Council just needs to take some action.
Stonnington's "Public Realm Strategy"
Stonnington Council's draft "Public Realm Strategy" (PRS): The PRS talks about public spaces and linking those spaces in a holistic way - including by cycling. The PRS is somewhat similar to the Parks Victoria document "Linking People and Spaces (2002)" in that regard.
Only one sentence was allocated to the Malvern Valley Public golf course, the biggest Public space in Stonnington, in a document that is 159 pages long.
Click on the photos for a bigger version
The north south route in purple on the map is the location of the proposed Urban Bush Path. The map shows how it links into other nearby proposed and existing off road paths and road routes.