I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is that she work with the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Level Crossing Removal Authority, VicRoads, Parks Victoria and Whittlesea City Council, local developers, Melbourne Water and other stakeholders such as the YMCA, Whittlesea Bicycle Users Group and local schools to ensure that new and upgraded multi-use paths from the fabulous investments in primarily the postcode of 3754 — Mernda and Doreen — can be pooled in such a way that the outcome for multi-use and cycling paths can be maximised.
The Mernda-Doreen area is experiencing significant construction and investment due to the Andrews Labor government’s ongoing commitment to Melbourne’s north. Well over $1 billion of investment is occurring, including the Mernda rail extension, Yan Yean Road stages 1 and 2, and the Plenty Road upgrade stages 1 and 2, not to mention tens of millions of dollars of investment in new schools in Mernda, upgrades to Hazel Glen College, new early learning centres and other investments in sporting and community facilities across the board.
All of these facilities would be much better supported and much better patronised with proper multi-use and cycling paths. It would be great for the health of the community, it would diminish congestion and it would give parents alternatives to having to constantly drop off kids at sport and at the three new stations as part of the project. It could actually lead to families saying, ‘Maybe we can get by with only one car’. That is what families in the inner city have, and that is the aspiration that I would really like to see in Mernda and Doreen.
In addition, the VicRoads engineers who are planning stage 2 of both the Plenty Road and Yan Yean Road projects have said that they could have some issues with the width of the road projects, and may not be able to fit in the walking and cycling paths immediately alongside the roads. I think this is an opportunity to combine the cycling paths that are already being built as part of the Mernda rail extension and by Whittlesea council, with maybe accessing and using some of Melbourne Water’s property along the Yan Yean Pipe Track or through the Plenty Gorge Park. I urge the minister to pull everyone together for a great outcome for Mernda and Doreen cyclists.