Box Hill to Ringwood shared use path - Laburnum section community feedback report 2020

The Department of Transport is investing $14 million to build a 10km shared path from the vibrant Box Hill precinct to Ringwood’s activity centre. This shared use path will provide both pedestrians and cyclists a direct and safe connection to public transport, community services and recreational facilities in the area.

The Laburnum alignment is the final section of the Box Hill to Ringwood shared use path to be built and is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

We asked the community to provide feedback on the selected alignment for the Laburnum section. This report summarises the feedback received from stakeholders and the community.

Selected alignment

Following significant stakeholder engagement and technical investigations, the alignment presented to the community includes:

Laburnum Park

  • Widening of the existing concrete footpath on the eastern side of the Middleborough Road bridge to allow a connection to the Middleborough Road underpass
  • A new 3.0m wide concrete shared path through Laburnum Park adjacent to the southern tree line of the park
  • New traffic signals on Laburnum Street near the rail overpass to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

Laburnum Street

  • Speed limit of 40km/h along the full length of Laburnum Street
  • Bicycle line marking and warning signs along Laburnum Street to help cyclists share the road with motorists
  • Raised platform crossing at the intersection of Laburnum Street and Main Street.

Main Street

  • New off-road bicycle path adjacent to the existing footpath on Main Street from Laburnum St to South Parade
  • Raised platform crossing at Main Street and South Parade to connect to the Blackburn Station precinct
  • Zebra crossing across Main Street just south of South Parade
  • Change in traffic priority at the Main Street and South Parade intersection.

Community engagement

We’ve been engaging with the Laburnum community and key stakeholders throughout the project to gather feedback and ideas. The community were able to provide feedback through a range of channels, including: workshops, community information sessions, online surveys, door knocks, meetings and briefing sessions. The feedback received from the community at these engagement activities has supported the development of the selected alignment.

Key themes

The key themes we heard from the community included:

  • No loss of parking
  • Minimal impact on trees
  • No use of Elmore Walk
  • A safer environment for cyclists.

Engagement on selected alignment

In October 2019 we hosted 3 community drop-in sessions to provide an opportunity for the community to view the Laburnum selected alignment and provide feedback on the design.

We also visited 11 traders along Main Street in the vicinity of the project to explain the changes proposed as part of the selected alignment.

We also worked closely with officers from the City of Whitehorse, and members of local bicycle groups.

This below contains a summary of feedback received from these engagement opportunities.

Several key themes were identified during the engagements, including:

  • Maintaining vegetation
  • Maintaining on-street parking along Laburnum Street
  • Separated bike path along Laburnum Street
  • Design of the path through Laburnum Park including alternative alignments
  • Preference for alternative alignment options including Diggers Way, South Parade and Elmore Walk and alignments on the north side of the railway line.

Community drop-in sessions

We held 2 community drop-in sessions on:

  • Monday 21 October from 4.30–7.30pm at North Blackburn Community Hall, and
  • Wednesday 30 October 2019 from 2-4pm and 6-8pm at Blackburn Uniting Church Hall

We promoted these sessions extensively through Facebook and web advertising, while also delivering 1,700 postcards in local letterboxes.

The sessions were attended by approximately 70 people with 60 feedback forms received as well as comments left on the plans displayed at the sessions.

Those who attended the sessions included residents living along Laburnum Street, Salisbury Avenue, Myrtle Grove, Fuchsia Street, South Parade and Main Street.

Residents living in the suburbs of Blackburn and Laburnum also attended along with cyclists who regularly ride through the area.

We provided community members at the drop-in sessions an opportunity to provide further comments about the three separate sections of the Laburnum alignment.

The comments provided by the community are summarised below.

Laburnum Park

  • Support was provided by some community members for the selected alignment through Laburnum Park as it minimised impact on trees and is an important improvement for cyclists.
  • Some community members were strongly opposed to the use of Laburnum Park, as a separated shared path, as they see it resulting in a loss of open/green space.
  • An alternative alignment was presented that includes a new separate bicycle path (2m wide) between the existing station footpath and the existing playground area.

Laburnum Street

  • Residents expressed the need to maintain parking along Laburnum Street in its current form.
  • An alternative alignment was suggested that included the removal of parking on one side of Laburnum Street to allow for a bi-directional separated path on the other side of Laburnum Street.
  • It was suggested by some members of the community that a dedicated bike path be provided rather than the selected alignment where cyclists and vehicles would need to share the road.
  • Cyclists suggested removal of parking on Laburnum Street to improve cyclist safety.
  • Support was expressed for the reduction in speed to 40km/h.
  • The pedestrian/cyclist lights on Laburnum Street were considered a safety improvement with some concerns raised around traffic flow impacts.
  • There was support for retaining the existing trees along Laburnum Street.
  • A concern was raised about bikes on Laburnum Street would make it more dangerous for motorist.
  • A suggestion was provided around bicycle line markings being centred to encourage cyclists away from dooring zone of parked cars.

Main Street

  • An alternative suggestion was proposed for a path through Diggers Way to connect Laburnum Street and South Parade.
  • Removal of trees along Main Street was objected to by some attendees.
  • Some proposed to use South Parade and Elmore Walk to connect to Laburnum Street.
  • Feedback was received on the use of Riviera Lane to connect to South Parade rather than Main Street.
  • There was support for the change in traffic priority at the Main Street and South Parade intersection.
  • Suggestion received to install rumble strips along Main Street for cyclist safety.
  • There was support for inclusion of a zebra crossing at Main Street.
  • Extension of the green bicycle pavement across the raised crossing of South Parade was requested.
  • A suggestion was made to undertake a safety review of the intersection of Main Street and Laburnum Street after the selected treatment has been in place for 12 months.
  • There was support to ensure bin collection provisions along Main Street were maintained.
  • Physical separation between the new bike path and existing footpath was suggested.

Overall alignment

The following is a summary of the feedback received regarding the overall project:

  • Improve line marking in the area
  • Improve line marking on the Linsley to Station Street section of path
  • Wayfinding signs were requested along the completed sections of path
  • Consider cyclist behaviour in the area
  • A pedestrian crossing opposite Elmore Walk was suggested
  • It was suggested that the project does not provide adequate safety improvements
  • This alignment will not encourage young cyclists from taking up cycling
  • Support for bike stands to be installed at the south west corner of South Parade and Main Street

Main Street trader visits

On Tuesday 15 October we visited 11 traders along Main Street.

No significant concerns were raised by traders about the changes proposed along Main Street as part of the selected alignment. The main concerns related to construction timeframes and impacts to trade.

The traders wanted assurance that parking and outdoor dining for cafes would be maintained. They highlighted the significant construction works in the area over the past years and wanted to ensure there was minimal impact on trade during these works.

Other comments included:

  • The change in priority at Main Street and South Parade was welcomed.
  • The proposed zebra crossing was supported for pedestrian safety.
  • The use of Main and Laburnum Street for the alignment seems less safe when compared to the use of South Parade and Elmore Walk.

Next steps

We will continue to work to finalise the design and obtain necessary City of Whitehorse approvals for the project.

Construction is expected to commence in April 2020 and be completed by mid-2020.

We will provide more information about construction to the community late February.

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