The Upfield shared path is set to close for 18 months due to the Level Crossing Removal Project.
The 18-month detour will discourage many from riding at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to allow people to leave their cars at home.
Many will ride down Sydney Road, which is recognised as the most dangerous road for people on bikes in Victoria.
Around 1,500 people rely on the Upfield shared path every day for active transport (mostly to get to and from work). It's the most important North-South corridor between Brunswick and Fawkner.
Sections of the proposed detour require crossing major roads without traffic lights, extra detours to use traffic lights, riding on footpaths and an arduous uphill section.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens member for Brunswick, Tim Read MP:
“The Government and the LXRP have missed a massive opportunity by not trialling a protected bike lane down Sydney Road during this time.
“These detours will be inaccessible for a lot of people due to safety concerns and a lack of confidence using these roads.
“If I was a trader on Sydney Road, I’d be asking why 1,500 people are being detoured away from my store, instead of right past it.”
Quotes attributable to Convenor of Moreland Bicycle Users Group, James Conlan:
“We are at a critical turning point – we could use the disruption caused by the legacy level crossing removal project as an opportunity to transform the Sydney Road corridor into a green, liveable oasis. Or we can squander this opportunity by further entrenching Sydney Road’s destiny as Melbourne’s most congested and dangerous traffic sewer.
“The proposed alternative bike routes are unsafe, inconvenient and will discourage people to ride. They will add almost 2km to people’s journey from Coburg to the city, take them through windy, circuitous backstreets, and force riders to cross major arterials without traffic lights. This is a fast and sure way to encourage people off their bikes, into cars and onto overcrowded trains and trams.”
Quotes attributable to local bike rider, Jacinta Cashen:
“I work in Jacana and live in Brunswick and used the path most weekdays last year. I wasn't looking forward to the detours. Looks like I am going to have to give Sydney Road a go. Even though I am not looking forward to it.”