North East Link Strategic Bike & Walking Routes

We need to get this right before it’s set in concrete!

WATAG is represented on the NEL Community Technical Discussion Group (CTDG) – walking & cycling. The next meeting of this group will discuss “Lessons Learnt” from Victorian, interstate and overseas projects, and community values such as safety, privacy, user interaction and accessibility (or lack of it).

Previous experience in Blackburn with LXRA’s grade separation at Blackburn Rd, (and the associated works to complete the long-planned shared user path from near Box Hill to Nunawading) make it critical that construction authorities involved ACTUALLY LISTEN to the community and the Local Council in the affected area, and not use public meetings to simply give the impression that consultation is taking place.

It is also critical that construction authorities are NOT over-impressed by any particular community groups (who may have very few people actually supporting their view) – especially if their view is quite contrary to that of the community or council. It is very easy for a construction authority to accept such views as being representative of the community if they happen to accord with their own view. Their own view of course is more likely to have been formed on the basis of an initial seat-of-the-pants feeling by the engineers that some solutions are not practical or are too costly.

Unfortunately these initial views get embedded, and are sometimes impossible to alter even if shown to be quite incorrect. Actions can then be taken to embed the views into designs, and to commence construction such that a change of design then becomes impossible because project timetables will not permit it, and funds earmarked for a solution have already been spent. One hopes that a denting of engineering egos is not another contributor also.

This kind of thing cannot be allowed to happen with the NEL!

The efforts to-date of the NELA staff to consult – and listen – are much appreciated. If the listening does not lead to changed plans and ideas, the CTDG will be an enormous waste of combined community expertise from a wide range of people with real on-the-ground practical and engineering experience. And the end result will be that the community overall will be much the poorer and the money will not have been well-spent.

Groups such as WATAG and Boroondara BUG (and others) have invested heavily in investigating potential issues already apparent in the preliminary proposals put forward by NELA. If the majority of these issues are not resolved to the satisfaction of the community, the NELA  consulting and listening will have been in vain.

The following presentation was prepared by Peter Carter for Boroondara Bug.

Or click here to download it.

The following presentation was prepared by by David Morrison for WATAG.

Or click here to download it.