Active Whitehorse News – November 2021

Box Hill and the SRL

The last WATAG newsletter featured two related articles on the major infrastructure initiatives in the pipeline for Box Hill.
Let’s get the planning right was about the shopping centre development by Vicinity in the context of Box Hill planning, and the need to ensure active transport route opportunities are maximised.
A loopy connection was an introduction to the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) project and an overview of where it goes in relation to Burwood and Box Hill.

Now SRL planning has become much more detailed, and the short and long term impacts can be assessed.

Check out this WATAG link to a short version (52 page) of the EES Statement Summary report to scroll though, and much more information.

Whitehorse City Council is vitally interested in this project too.

Council has a survey which is open now until 21 Nov 2021. Click here for project and survey details. WATAG strongly encourages you to participate in the survey and add your voice to the concerns they have.

Scroll through the Whitehorse Council report document below to see their concerns.

WATAG was chosen to be represented on the Whitehorse Council Community Panel which is holding workshops during November to gather more detailed community views about both Box Hill and Burwood..

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Car trips or care trips?

Photo credits – Chris Bruntlett LinkedIn post.

With a historical emphasis on “car trips” used to get to work by what was once a predominantly male domain, the roads became dominant in how they catered for cars..

But.. when cities started taking into account the other “care trips” taken by residents, it helped streets to become more inclusive, gender equitable and it enabled children to be catered for as well.

A book published earlier this year, “Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities” by Tim Gill emphasises the need to build cities for children.

The book asks the questions:

  • What type of cities do we want our children to grow up in? Car-dominated, noisy, polluted and devoid of nature?
  • Or walkable, welcoming, and green?

The link above gives a comprehensive summary of the book, but here it is in brief.

“As the climate crisis and urbanisation escalate, cities urgently need to become more inclusive and sustainable. This book reveals how seeing cities through the eyes of children strengthens the case for planning and transportation policies that work for people of all ages, and for the planet. It shows how urban designers and city planners can incorporate child friendly insights and ideas into their masterplans, public spaces and streetscapes.

Healthier children mean happier families, stronger communities, greener neighbourhoods, and an economy focused on the long-term. They make cities better for everyone.”

We can only agree.

[PS. Some might like to read a bit more about a world built for men at]

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

A positive outlook
Mayor Cr Tina Liu and Deputy Mayor Cr Denise Massoud. Photo credit Whitehorse City Council

WATAG congratulates Councillor Tina Liu and Deputy Mayor Cr Denise Massoud on their election to these immensely important positions in Whitehorse City Council.

Both Cr Liu and Cr Massoud have shown their support for active transport and planning initiatives, and support environmental concerns which put put people first in local streets.

We look forward to building on the excellent relations we have built with both these excellent Councillors to help make Whitehorse an even better city in which to live.

Well done Cr Liu and Cr Massoud!

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

What’s bad?

There is no such thing as bad riding or walking weather.
There is only wrong clothing!

Why not go our for a walk or ride today?

Leading, not trailing!

Photo credit: Chris Trueman

Maintenance of a significant local park here in Whitehorse – Blackburn Creeklands – just got greener and easier. Creeklands volunteer Graeme Stone (also a WATAG Committee Member) proudly shows off the new trailer for carrying maintenance tools and plants hitched to the back of his bike. Now no car is needed to transport tools (Greener!) and as a bike trailer it’s much quicker and easier than a long walk through the streets for someone.

Click for larger image

WATAG is a keen supporter of cargo bikes for private use, but especially commercially. They can help replace a lot of short trips locally for parcels delivery.

It would be great if a company like (see photo) came to Melbourne!

And its not as if the idea is new. It’s being tried all over the world very successfully – by some of the major delivery companies too,

Also check out our April newsletter where we looked at Predicting the Future.

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Who are the streets for?

Dr Chris De Gruyter, lead researcher from RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research has published a working paper “Street Space Allocation and Use in Melbourne’s Activity Centres” (scroll through the paper below). After surveying 56 locations in Melbourne at the end of 2020, researchers said there was an under-supply of space for pedestrians. The study conclusion is that on-street parking should be converted to commercial and pedestrian use where suitable because parked cars were the least efficient use of shopping strips.

  • On average, pedestrians made up 56% of all road users but were allocated just 32.2% of the streetscape.
  • Parked cars accounted for only 12.8% of road users but took up 21% of street space,
  • General traffic (cars, motorcycles, trucks and cyclists) were 18.4% of the street population but used 29.1% of space.

So the question is:

If you are a pedestrian, the answer is a resounding NO!

Click to Download the Working Paper

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Placemaking and tactical urbanism

Lucinda Hartley, Co-founder Neighbourlytics says

Just five years ago I was (almost) arrested for placemaking in Sydney. Yes, it’s a true story: the police came and broke up one of the first Australian tactical urbanism interventions in Sydney’s Surrey Hills, despite the project being fully sanctioned. Fast forward to 2020 and there was the largest ever level of government funded investment in placemaking and tactical urbanism as a pandemic response (>$200M invested and more coming).

See below for the full story as published by Lucinda at LinkedIn

It includes a reference to Charles and Mollison Street Pop Up Park in Abbotsford Victoria which is now a permanent park. I know it well. Here is a “before” photo, a photo of the Council’s tactical urbanism response to get local opinion before budgeting for it, and then the final park as it is now.

It’s great lesson on how to make a change with community support.

WATAG thoroughly recommends Tactical Urbanism to local Councils everywhere.

It works, and its a win-win for local placemaking.

You can see the results in these photos.

(Photo credits to Google Street view for “before” and “after” photos, and to Lucinda Hartley for the pop-up park photo)

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

A champion’s view

Christopher Miles Boardman, MBE (born 26 August 1968) is a British former racing cyclist who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics, broke the world hour record three times, and won three stages and wore the yellow jersey on three occasions at the Tour de France. In 1992, he was awarded an MBE for services to cycling.

Chris was a serious cyclist athlete!
And now he’s a great supporter of Active Transport as a ‘normal’ way of getting around for everyone.

Chris was appointed Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner in 2017. The Bee Network plan ( See April’s Active Whitehorse News) which he has developed is intended to be the UK’s ‘first’ joined-up cycling and walking network. It is intended to deliver 1,800 miles of protected walking and cycling routes. In May 2021, Chris was promoted to become Greater Manchester’s first Transport Commissioner. He is tasked with accelerating the development of The Bee Network for cycling and walking, and to integrate those modes with Metrolink, buses and trains.
(Text adapted from Wikipedia)

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Grandma is normal

In the Netherlands the most common type of bike is an ‘Omafiets’ – literally a ‘Grandma bike’.
It’s a typical Dutch bike. There’s nothing really special about it in the Netherlands, but in many other countries, including Australia, it’s rather unique.

There’s a good reason for this uniqueness. In the Netherlands, bicycles are seen as a way to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. In most other countries, Australia especially, bikes are very much associated with sport and exercise. A very few strong and fearless types are committed commuters and can be seen on busy highways mixing it with normal car traffic. Phew…it makes one anxious even thinking about them!

Australians are renowned for having a love of sport. So the type of bike they chose tends to follow closely on the heels of the fancy bike racers. It’s usually a ‘road’ type bike stripped of comforts like mudguards to keep you dry, or a carrier for the groceries – nothing but the bare essentials in order to make it as light as possible and to replicate those racing bikes that bring a gleam to the eyes of many.

And have you noticed that most cyclists in Australia feel it’s essential to wear lycra-style cycling gear for riding whereas in Holland one dresses for the destination, not for the journey.

The increasing use of bikes for recreation and ‘social’ riding following the Covid 19 pandemic, still see’s bike shops selling (to unknowing customers) bikes which pander to the ‘sporty’ image. In inner-city areas especially, with a younger demographic, you can see more bikes with a front basket and mudguards that are simply a means to get from A to B as in Holland.

Why don’t you try an Omafiets some time soon? Sit upright to save your back, and relax on the journey so you can enjoy the destination even more!

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Lost liberty

The lost liberty of the street. The ease and safety with which most people moved around the urban street has been not just lost, but entirely forgotten in less than a century.
Lost to the age of the automobile.

WATAG advocates for claiming our local streets back. Would you like to claim back some of your lost suburban streets too?

See Family-safe streetsWATAG Post August 2021.
And here’s an expert’s view on how to design for that: WATAG Post October 2018

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

Is 30km/h practical?


This is becoming the new standard and best practice for cities and communities around the world that want to increase their liveability. In February 2020 30km/h was referenced in the Stockholm Declaration and endorsed by 130 Road Safety Ministers from around the world as the key initiative for Speed Management.

In August 2020 the General Assembly of the UN endorsed the Stockholm Declaration as the foundation for its 2nd Decade of Action on Road Safety 2021-2030.

The key UN resolution is that countries should:-

“Focus on speed management, including the strengthening of law enforcement to prevent speeding and mandate a maximum road travel speed of 30 km/h in areas where vulnerable road users and vehicles mix in a frequent and planned manner, except where strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe, noting that efforts to reduce speed in general will have a beneficial impact on air quality and climate change as well as being vital to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries;”

This is quite an endorsement!

Vincent Safe Active Street

Australian states and territories are trialing or planning (or have implemented) 30km/h speed limits and zones. The Safe Active Streets program run by WA Department of Transport WA is is one where 30km/h is integral to its emphasis is safety.

Check out April’s Active Transport News for good information – particularly More about 30 km/h where unnecessary legal limitation in Victoria are highlighted.

But what about the question ” Is 30km/h practical?”

Some people question if 30km/h speed limits are actually urgent and necessary, or maybe society is becoming a so-called “nanny state” policy. Others think it’s simply a revenue-raising activity.

We’d love to hear your comments about this article. Click here to comment.

A way to help

Monash University are looking for participants to participate in research about:

  1. Barriers

Getting Around Victoria: A survey of the barriers and enablers to cycling for transport

The research team includes:

Chief Investigator: Dr Ben Beck
Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University

Primary Co-Investigator: Lauren Pearson, PhD Candidate
Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University

Click the link for more information. Online Survey Software | Qualtrics Survey Solutions

2. Routes chosen


The Sustainable Mobility and Safety Research Group at Monash University are conducting a study to understand where and when people bike ride, with the aim of enhancing safety and the implementation of cycling infrastructure.

Do you want to get involved? Do you ride a bike?

If you live in Greater Melbourne and ride a bike at least once a month, Monash University wants to understand the routes that you choose when bike riding. This study involves downloading and using a smartphone application to collect GPS data and fitting a Bluetooth ‘beacon’ to your bicycle.

If you are interested in being involved in the study, click the link below and go into the draw to win:

And there are prizes to be won!

  • One Velectrix Urban+ Electric Bike from 99 Bikes (step through frame; valued at $2,195);
  • One of 20 $100 BikeChain vouchers; or
  • One of 20 Bicycle Network memberships (valued between $131 and $185 each, which provide bike riding insurance and other rewards).

E-Bike Workshop

E-bikes are a feature of the future which we all will embrace some day! WATAG has commented on them many times in social media

Whitehorse Council are running e-bike workshops which some might be interested in attending.

Register here: .

Safety with an e-bike is an essential part of good active transport considerations.

Interested in being Active too? Here’s how

Join a local group that enables you to be active and social too!

  1. Like walking (and some bike riding too)?
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mwbclogo.jpg
If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, meet new people and take up a physical activity for your health then explore the MWBC website.(Click image above)

2. Or is regular bike riding your idea of fun?

Whitehorse cyclists
We are a happy group of men and women who love the outdoors, enjoy riding bicycles and thrive in other people’s company.

Image credit: Chris Trueman

Bike parking is easy for morning tea time at Aqualink Box Hill during a Whitehorse Cyclist’s Easy Tuesday ride.
Around 25 riders getting fitter and enjoying the company of friends.
Good for local business too by putting money back into the local community.

Some questions for YOU

  1. If you HAVEN’T received these newsletters regularly every two months, this question is for YOU.

Did you enjoy THIS newsletter, and would you like to read future newsletters every two months?

Click here

Thanks for answering!


Tell us what you think about articles in the newsletter in the “Leave a Reply” box below.

2 Responses to Active Whitehorse News – November 2021

  1. Teacher Ria says:

    Really enjoy reading this WATAG newsletter. It is great how you have all the titles of the articles together, and they give a good idea as to which ones I am really interested in. As a result I have booked in for the e-bike workshop. And I skip over the articles which are better for other readers to read.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WATAG says:

      Thanks for the feedback Ria. We are glad you enjoyed the newsletter and were able to book on the e-bike training.
      Let your friends know about WATAG too, so they can subscribe to the newsletter.


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