Friday, February 27, 2009

Route Improvement Update: Mullum Mullum Creek Trail - Tindals Road to Park Road

The Mullum Mullum Creek Trail has the potiental to become a major trail in the near future. It is currently split into two sections, with difficult terrain and land to conquer in the middle gap area. At the moment you can ride from Croydon North through Ringwood and to the Mullum Mullum Park to connect with the Koonung Creek Trail which takes you along the Eastern Freeway to the city. There is also the forgotten section. This section of the trail gets minimum usage due to lack of access, especially from the southern end, although alot of Templestowe residents use it to get to the Main Yarra Trail, which leads to the Diamond Creek Trail and Westerfolds Park. I have tried three alternatives to reach the trail from the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail from Mullum Mullum Park, which I will detail below.

The first option had me leaving the Koonung Creek Trail at Mitcham Road and travelling on the shared path north west to Springvale Road, which I then went north up, before taking a right turn down Old Warrandyte Road (which had fairly recently been reconstructed with bike lanes :) ) to the trail entrance. This was the easiest way by far but the Springvale Road section was annoying since the two lane road with no proper shoulders forced me to follow the rough gravel path alongside the road and on some grass at some points.

The second option I will NEVER do again. I left the Koonung Creek Trail at Park Road, soon after leaving the Mullum Mullum Park and headed north. Park road is wider and has much less traffic which meant I could actually ride on the road here and I enjoyed the downhill to the tight corner, which just before this corner you will notice a short section of bike track and a car park. This is where the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail will eventually cross Park Road. I continued north through the corner and then turned left down McIntyres Road (Melways Ref 35 A12) and headed north. I spotted this route on the Melway and although it had "Steep" written next to the road, because it seemed to be a direct route to the trail entrance, I decided to give it a crack. I'm not the fittest cyclist (I also ride a MTB and don't wear lycra!) so it was abit of a struggle, even in low gear. There was a nice downhill in the middle, but the road surface changed from asphalt to gravel half way down the hill so I had to slow down :( . Then, when I thought I had reached Tindals Road, I had another steep hill ahead of me. I eventually got there, but then I had to turn left and travel west past Donvale Christian College. I got to the trail after all that.

Then there was the third option, which I took before taking the above second option. I decided to go down the incomplete Mullum Mullum Creek Trail section which started from the car park I talked about above on Park Road. The Manningham Council had a sign erected saying that there was no access to Tindals Road via the incomplete trail, but I naturally ignored it! The path was formed and gravel had been laid ready for asphalt to go on the top, a completed bridge allowed me to cross the creek once, and a small section already had been asphalted which was heaven to ride upon. The path then quickly turned back to grave and I approached a dilapidated wire fence with a "Private Property" sign as well as another Manningham Council sign, the same one as at the car park. I climbed my bike over the somewhat broken wire fence to have a peek. I got about 100m on natural earth before I had to stop. There was a roughly 3 metre cliff drop to the creek below. A footbridge is going to be constructed here. When I visited, the path supports on both sides of the creek had been constructed but that was it. I assessed possible options for me to cross the creek. I could have possibly done it by leaving my bike behind, but I decided against it. It would have been impossible with a bike so I had to abandon my curiosity trip and turn back. There was an adjoining natural earth trail which went up a hill between the wire fence and the cliff, but since I was on private property, it probably went to a residence so it would not be the right thing to do.

View Larger Map
Note: Map may be buggy. Pressing the zoom out (minus) button three times should fix it.

So that concludes my little trip out to Park Orchards / Donvale way. The section of path should be completed by the end of 2009. After that, only the section from Park Road to the Mullum Mullum Park to go, then we will have a handy link to the Yarra River from Ringwood!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Parts of the new "Victorian Bicycle Plan" are dripping through

This is exciting. The government is currently completing it's first major bicycle infrastructure review in over two decades. It was meant to be released this month but because of the tragic bushfires, this has now been pushed to March. Luckily, The Age has some leaked details which include

  • Bicycle lanes on William and La Trobe Streets
  • CBD blanket speed limit of 40 km/h to increase safety for cyclists
  • Bicycle infrastructure to become mandatory for ALL new road projects.
While these leaked details are great, we need bicycle lanes on more inner city streets, plus a double bicycle lane (2 bike lanes side by side in one direction like a two lane carriageway) between St. Kilda and the Capital City Trail in North Fitzroy. We also need the Capital City Trail to be upgraded so the entire length is free of stairs (the ones near CityLink are being bypassed as we speak) and is 3 metres wide at all points except where it is unfeasible to do so. And every major break in the currently constructed off-road network needs the gaps removed.

Keep an eye on my blog in the near future for more updates as the release of the plan gets closer.

Source: Melbourne to get more bike lanes from The Age.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sorry for the hold up!

Just a quick note to say that I have now started full time study and unfortunately, I now have less time to go bike riding and report on news and views. While I will still be active with this website, expect a lower amount of posts then usual. As much as I love blogging about our cycling network, I have to put my studies and my job ahead of this. Thank you for your consideration and for reading my blog.