The Anniversary Trail is a popular bike and pedestrian route in Boroondara that follows route of the old Outer Circle Railway.
A bridge for the shared path over Toorak Road is a missing link in this trail would:
- remove the steep approach to Toorak Road
- the need to navigate through a car park on the northern side of the road
- Providing a safe grade separated crossing of Toorak Road for pedestrians and cyclists.
The community benefits of the proposal are considered to be broad reaching and positive.
A counter on the trail shows the recent current average daily volume was about 450 bikes per day travelling at an average speed of 19kmh. The figure will double if pedestrians are included, totalling around 330,000 persons annually.
The 2008 Boroondara Bicycle Strategy included a long term recommendation for the Anniversary Trail at Toorak Road to construct a bridge over Toorak Road to improve the level of safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.
A technical feasibility study of the recommendation, finalised in 2014, found it was possible to construct a bridge over Toorak Road on the west side of the railway line in-line with the Anniversary Trail that met the requirements of all technical stakeholders in the area, namely Yarra Trams, VicRoads, Metro Trains Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria and VicTrack.
In late 2014 and early 2015 preliminary community consultation was conducted with 78 residential and commercial properties near the proposed bridge. A total of five residential properties contacted Council officers to express concerns with the proposal. Following a series of meetings and written correspondence, the concept design was amended.
In October 2016, the Victorian Government announced the $100 million Safer Cyclists and Pedestrians Fund, a fund geared towards projects that respond to cyclist and pedestrian safety concerns. It was considered that the Anniversary Trail at Toorak Road bridge proposal would be a potential candidate for the fund with the intention of attracting the full cost of construction, estimated at $4 million.
On 14 May 2018 Boroondara Council approved the following motion:
That the Services Special Committee resolve to:
- Support the proposed Anniversary Trail bridge over Toorak Road on the west side of the railway overpass as depicted in Attachment 1 and
- Incorporate an increased landscape buffer between the Jickell Avenue
property boundaries and the existing Anniversary Trail with new
landscaping, fencing and trellis.
- Seek funding of the proposed bridge under the Victorian Government’s $100 million Safer Cyclists Fund or other relevant grant programs.
- Notify stakeholders to the proposal of the Services Special resolution.
Detailed design for the bridge was the next step, but unfortunately progress stalled.
In May 2021, Will Fowles (Member for Burwood) announced that 2021 budget provided funds for the planning works required to build a new bridge as part of the Anniversary Trail at Toorak Road, with walkers and cyclists in Burwood benefitting from new shared bike and walking lanes.
In May 2022, Asher Judah (Liberal candidate for Ashwood) promised $8 million to build the bridge.