A few random maps/observations about buses in #Bendigo…
1. How far you can get on a bus in 10 minutes from the station, is Quarry Hill quicker to walk? From Plan B La Trobe Zone B maps, www.victoriawalks.org.au/mapmytown
2. Bendigo bus network, not so simple to understand! A result of tweaks over the years or changes to urban form? Is coverage the most important priority?
3. VicLink, Bendigo Transit inner city bus route map. No services operate between View St and Myrtle St Along High St.
4. Density of bus routes (not services/trips) in the city centre, darker red indicates more services that run in that area. Greater service variety provides more connections and focused bus and pedestrian activity. Is the whole city centre benefitting?
Bikes on trains, the daily pile up - room to learn from others
It is great to see so many bikes on the VLine Bendigo line each day. Apart from yesterday’s unusually wet weather, this summer has been ideal for getting into the central Victorian bike and ride commute. It has been an interesting summer, bikes of all shapes and sizes have got on board, from little fold-ups to a tandem that clambered on a couple of weeks ago. I started myself in November after picking up a rejuvenated old bike from one of Bendigo’s great cafes and was hooked immediately.
This has had me wondering what it is that makes the bike/train combination so attractive. With a number of the towns along the line, such as Kyneton or Gisborne, located some distance from a station a quick bike ride at each end (with a little extra effort back up the hill in Gisborne) makes the commute quick enough to be competitive with driving. You still get your travel time on the train back to read, relax or just gaze out as our beautiful central Victorian landscape rolls on by. It’s an ideal and practical active transport combination.
But there is one catch…
Every morning we pile our bikes on, one on top of the next. Not only is space for bikes at a premium, at almost every stop a shuffle of bikes occurs to make sure everyone can get off at their destination in time. While this is great for meeting your fellow cyclists and commenting on each others bike style etc, it can get a bit messy. As more bikes are added, the daily game of bike tetris gets more complicated. The VLine policy grey area discourages bike commuting within the region by removing certainty and making each time you bring your bike a bit of a gamble. Fortunately that gamble is acceptable at the moment but it’s feasible that the VLine policy and could see bikes refused or even ejected mid trip, there is word of mouth evidence to suggest this has already happened.
As more and more bikes pile on to our trains perhaps now is the time to look at how other cities and regions have dealt with bike capacity. I’m not suggesting we need Copenhagen style solutions just yet, but we should be looking to embrace and encourage the healthy and clean trend toward more bikes on our trains.
Have you come across any examples where bikes on trains do work well? Share your experience in the comments section bellow
Why you should get to the Bendigo community transport discussions…
The City of Greater Bendigo seems to have learnt a few valuable lessons since the release, and sweeping community rebuff, of the Draft Road Transport Strategy last year. Firstly, these community discussions are happening well before any strategic decision-making, planning or grand designs have been drawn up. There’s no sense that the outcome is predetermined, council is willing to make this a learning and a doing process. The lines of communication are open.
Secondly, we’re finally talking about transport and the various systems of transport as part of a greater entity, not simply roads, not simply buses, not simply freight, walking or cycling but a city, a region, a complex network of interactivity. Transport and it’s relationship to a myriad of other concerns, from land use and economics to healthy communities, the food system and sustainable urban environments, can all be laid out on the table for a deeper consideration of the issues, the potential effects of interventions to produce more robust planning outcomes.
Thirdly, no one can say this one is flying under the radar. The road strategy, with it’s ‘integrated’ transport corridor or internal bypass, gazumped the Bendigo community. No one really expected it, it had me reaching for my copy of Jane Jacobs The Death and Life of Great American Cities and revisiting her epic, and ultimately successful, battle with the New York modernist and master of highways, Robert Moses. The Bendigo road strategy’s folly was borne out of planning in isolation and making decisions that affect people without speaking to them directly in the first place. But a benefit out of the road strategy has been the shedding of complacency in the community about important planning issues such as this and a renewed demand for informed and participative transport planning processes.
This time at least, it appears there is a genuine effort to get broader stakeholder involvement in the early discussions, to take a wider sample of opinion and start communicating. In both directions.
We’ll see where it goes, but at this stage one can at least be optimistic that this process will foster much greater participation and collaboration in determining our transport future. A project, a plan, a future for the city that we may all be able to get behind or at least energetically express an opinion on.
So, take the opportunity and get yourself to one or both of these community discussions. It’s an opportunity to learn from some expert speakers in the field and to get in at the start of something big for Bendigo.
Find out more and register for the community transport discussions here