by Luke Voogt
Cyclists will have priority over motorists on seven of central Geelong’s busiest roads under proposed council traffic management plans released this week.
Gheringhap, Moorabool, Swanston, Kilgour, Myers and Malop Sts and Western Beach Road would “prioritise” cyclists “consistent” with Geelong’s Principle Bicycle Network, City Hall said.
A further 20-plus streets and lanes bounded by Gheringhap Myers and Bellarine Sts and the waterfront will “be focussed on pedestrians” under the plans.
The draft Transport and Network Operating Plan prioritises Latrobe Tce and Ryrie, McKillop and Yarra Sts for vehicle traffic.
The plan would also direct east-west trucks to the more southern routes of McKillop and Fyans Sts and Breakwater Rd, to take pressure off Ryrie St.
But councillor Eddy Kontelj said plans to direct trucks away from Ryrie Street using signage were “unlikely to have an impact”.
“I believe we need a bridge across Corio Bay. Unless we take drastic action such as this, our east-west congestion will only get worse.”
The plan had no direction for bus routes, which the Department of Transport is currently reviewing.
“That is a little disappointing, because buses play an important part in traffic movement into and through the CBD,” Cr Kontelj said.
“I think this draft plan is a positive step forward, however in some areas I feel it doesn’t go far enough.”
Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood said the draft plan did not “give all the answers to the transport challenges facing central Geelong”.
“But once finalised it will offer strategic direction as the council and State Government look to develop a functional and vibrant city centre.”
“A number of elements of this draft plan, such as directing freight movement away from Ryrie St, have been discussed for many years but are yet to be achieved.”
Council would continue to lobby State Government for major public transport improvements required to make the plan successful, Cr Harwood said.
He urged Geelong locals to have their say on the plan, which goes online next Monday at www.geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay.
While the draft plan prioritised streets for certain types of transport, it did not exclude other modes of transport for those streets, a City Hall spokesperson said.
Technical experts created the plans with Public Transport Victoria, VLine, Public Transport Users Association, bicycle user groups and council’s Disability Access Committee.
Once finalised, council will implement the plans over 10 years in a staged manner, according to City Hall.