Your question: “Are you in favour or against the Inkerman bike path?”
I am a Candidate for Council who has not been involved in this issue before. I had to do research and form an opinion. I appreciate your desire for a quick for / against answer. As this has been a polarising issue, I believe it is important to listen to each other’s viewpoints. If you would like to have a conversation with me after reading my notes below, I would welcome the opportunity.
My understanding of the effects of government decisions
This is one of those challenging issues Councillors need to consider. Whilst I am running for Rosstown Ward, a vote will be required of me.
As resident of Rosstown Ward, I experienced the “consultation” and subsequent building of Skyrail. I understand the feeling of powerlessness and “(State) government making decisions” that people don’t like.
My understanding of where things are up to in relation to the Inkerman Road option
So far, the community of Glen Eira, represented by its Councillors on Glen Eira City Council, has invested significant funds, emotional energy and “political capital” in the decision of where a cycling corridor should go. My understanding is that in December 2019, Council endorsed Inkerman Road as the preferred location for a Cycling Corridor. It is a piece of the puzzle that enables connection for cyclists between the CBD and suburbs in the South-East towards Oakleigh and beyond, via St. Kilda and the Djerring Trail (Skyrail park).
The issue and decision has been divisive. It caused significant concern in the community.
A Community Reference Group was established to work on the design of the path, and met in February. Since then, it is my understanding that due to COVID restrictions and elections, no further action has been taken.
What did I do to form an opinion?
I had a look at the report prepared by council (download will open in new tab) which assessed the different options, did some Google research and read a few articles. I also drove along the different routes in my car, and a second time along the Inkerman Street corridor.
So, what is my opinion?
First of all, I am grateful for all the work done by the community, Councillors and staff so far. The report with the different options is very comprehensive.
Driving along the different routes, these were my observations:
- Dandenong Road corridor – has significant hills, and the amount of cars doesn’t make it suitable for cyclists. Using the middle strip still may be feasible, but probably costly and – if there is any option that avoids cutting down too many established trees, I would prefer to take that option. Also, as Dandenong Road is fully under the control of the State Government, Council’s influence will be limited. If I had to pick an area to lobby the State Government, I would rather focus on height limits (which affect the whole municipality) than a bike path.
- Alma Road – again, it has some hills. But as it’s much more feasible from a cycling safety perspective.
- Inkerman Road – actually has a cycleway on it at present and is the least hilly route. What was news to me is that Glen Eira City Council only controls both sides of Inkerman Road up to Orrong Road, and from there, only the southern side of Inkerman Road up to Hotham Street. I also noticed that on the southern side of Inkerman Road, there were very few retailers that I saw.
Reading the article in the Australian Jewish News, I am beginning to understand some of the community concerns about this.
I believe the role of the Councillor is to weigh the interests of the residents that are immediately affected, the residents in all of Glen Eira, as well as the requirements of State Government and the work of the organisation. To those considerations, I like to add my own perspective, after having looked at all the options, as well as the questions of what future generations might say.
Weighing up all of these considerations, my decision would be to go with an option that is NOT Dandenong Road.
It is important for me to see which of the remaining options has the least possible impact on current residents, and I would be very interested in your thoughts. Would you prefer to have a cycleway going both directions along Inkerman Road or, would you prefer to spread the impact between Alma Road and Inkerman Road by having one direction on each.
I appreciate that this approach may not be supported by all. I was against the Skyrail (and still have serious concerns about maintaining it in 50 or 100 years when the concrete ages), but must say that I am grateful for Djerring Trail. I believe in open debate and listening to each other’s viewpoints. As I mentioned at the outset, I am very interested in your thoughts.
Thank you for your consideration of my position on this question.