The Draft Queenscliffe Active Transport Strategy (QATS) sets out an ambitious list of actions and initiatives for the next 10-years to achieve a community vision of; “a connected Borough, where walking, riding and wheeling are safe and enjoyable ways of moving to, from and around the Borough regardless of age or ability.”
The document, prepared by Ratio Consultants and unanimously endorsed by Councillors at the February Council meeting, has been released for 28 days of public feedback.
“Walking, wheeling and cycling is not only a great way to get around but also is good for our health, wellbeing and the environment. It is also a key tourism attraction, with the Bellarine Rail Trail connecting the Borough to Geelong and also the Mornington Peninsula via the Queenscliff-Sorrento Ferry,” the document states.
“Active travel is already one of the major ways to get around the Borough, with many high quality and well connected paths and trails. Notwithstanding, the network is incomplete, and these missing links create barriers for participation.
“The majority of residents within the Borough of Queenscliffe live within walking or cycling distance of key destinations such as shops, recreational and community facilities. Removing the key barriers will open up active transport to a wider range of users.”
The QATS includes four key strategies and actions for reaching the vision – including reducing the speed limit to 30kmp/h - and an “aspirational” network or walking and cycling pathways and upgrades that would cost an estimated $1.76 million.
According to the draft, dropping the speed limit would have the biggest impact in achieving the active transport vision.
“The connection between the speeds of vehicles and chances of injury or worse a fatality are well researched and accepted,” it said. “Making the Borough of Queenscliffe a 30km/h wide municipality will ensure safe streets for all people.
“The implementation should initially focus on Point Lonsdale, where there are next to no footpaths in local residential streets, and users often are required to walk on the road carriageway.”
The remaining three key strategies include:
- A complete, connected and well-designed pathway network that enables smooth and continuous and safe access along key streets and places within the Borough.
- Completion of the Bellarine Railway Trail’s “missing links” in Murray Road and all the way to the ferry terminal, and
- A target of 200 additional bicycle parks by the year 2032, with 100 in both Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff.
The QATS was developed following an initial round of consultation last year that included community workshops and discussions with the Department of Transport, Victoria Police, the City of Greater Geelong, local schools and Bellarine Community Health.
"Our towns are quite unique, particuarly when you look at the township of Point Lonsdale where most of the side-streets don't have footpaths," said Cr Ross Ebbels. "So we've got to be really careful how we plan for the future and whether we slow traffic down, we need to make it more accessible for people to walk and ride their bikes and feel safe. If they feel safe they'll use it, which is obviously the outcome we as councillors want top have as well."
Cr Michael Grout encouraged all residents to have their say on the draft document.
"There's quite a lot of detail in the draft and really we would want you to focus attention on the strategies... to see if we'vemiswed anything. We want to see if there's things in there that shouldn't be in there and we also want to see the improve the way we can improve the strategies.
"Im really pleased to see we're getting a bit more of a coordinated approach to how we as residents and visitors might move around the borough. If we can facilitate that with infrastructure changes or improvements, that's what we're seeking to do here.
"We want to, as far as possible, minimse the use of fossil fuels in getting around a boroug, which for most of us, is quite possible to walk or cycle around," Cr Grout added.