9 October 2019

Long road to Belconnen bikeway begins

| Lachlan Roberts
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The fist sod is turned

Tara Cheyne, Gordon Ramsay and Chris Steel turned the first sod last week. Photo: Supplied.

The long-awaited 4.7 km Belconnen path network is just around the bend, with construction of the 2016 ACT Election promise now underway.

The network comprises 1.4 km of shared path, 1.5 km of pedestrian-only paths, 2.1 km of cyclist-only paths and 440-metres of on-road cycleway.

The dedicated bikeway will connect the Belconnen Town Centre, the University of Canberra, Radford College and the CIT’s Bruce campus, starting on Coulter Drive in Florey and finishing on Haydon Drive in Bruce.

The Belconnen bikeway will become Canberra’s second separated cycleway alongside Civic. It will upgrade cycle paths in and around the town centre, linking educational institutions to the east and the former busway to the west.

Pathway map

The pathway will wind through the Belconnen town centre. Image: Supplied.

Running from Coulter Drive in Florey to Joynton Smith Drive in Belconnen, along Emu Bank to Haydon Drive via College Street, the bikeway will also turn the abandoned Belconnen busway into a cycle freeway.

The project will also see the planting of around 200 native and exotic trees and 4,000 shrubs along the route to provide shade.

ACT Minister for Roads and Active Travel Chris Steel said the bikeway is another project that proves Canberra is the cycling capital of Australia.

“We are improving facilities to encourage people to use a bike or walk to work when they can,” Mr Steel said. “We know that in parts of the existing cycle network in Belconnen that it is quite busy, so separating cyclists and walkers is important.

“This is an important project for the Belconnen town centre because it is going to support the regeneration of the centre, particularly through the use of the old busway. We are going to see places connected that weren’t before.”

Pathway map

The bikeway will run down Emu Bank alongside the Belconnen skate park before linking up with College Street. Image: Supplied.

Labor member for Ginninderra Tara Cheyne said the bikeway has been something the Belconnen community has been talking about for some time.

“The Belconnen Town Centre masterplan had so much community input and one of the things that we identified in it was making use of the old busway and making sure we have those critical pedestrian and cycling connections throughout the town centre,” Ms Cheyne said.

The Belconnen bikeway is expected to be completed late next year.

The ACT Government also expects the design work for the Benjamin Way protected cycleway and the Belconnen Arts Centre foreshore path to be finalised in the coming months, with foreshore path construction to begin early in the new year.

Pathway map

The bikeway will connect Radford College and UC to Belconnen town centre. Image: Supplied.

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It’s odd how some people just don’t seem to get that there is funding for different types of infrastructure and, just because they themselves may not use that infrastructure, it doesn’t mean that all spending should cease. For instance, the usual cries of “Not everyone can cycle”; hmmm not everyone can drive either right; does that mean governments should stop funding roads? Nup. Funding on cycling infrastructure obviously promotes more people to use cycling to get around and, let’s face it, a lot more people could cycle than currently do. More people cycling means overall public health improves. To respond to Jenny Mcgregor, there are an increasing number of people queueing at public hospitals for hip and knee replacements who are overweight and don’t’ exercise enough, not because they have “bad genes”. To improve public health outcomes through more options for exercise will have future benefits and it’s good to see this government thinking ahead in their public policy choices.

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