Transport Minister announces in 2022 Upfield Missing link work that was funded in 2018

Ben Carroll, Lizzie Blandthorn, Anthony Cianflone at the Upfield Bike Path (Source: Ben Carroll Twitter)

This afternoon Transport Minister Ben Carroll, with Lizzie Blandthorn MP (Pascoe Vale) and Anthony Cionflone (ALP preselected candidate for Pascoe Vale) announced the missing link of the Upfield Bike Path to the Western Ring Road Path would soon be completed.

The work being announced:

  • Installing solar-powered LED lighting from Spry St to Bakers Rd & Rogers St to O’Hea St
  • Building a missing link along Bain Ave
  • Extending the path between Sages Rd & Western Ring Rd

Most of this work was funded in the 2018 state budget, as Broadmeadows MP Frank McGuire outlined in parliament.

According to the Vic Roads website, the following timeline for the works is proposed:

Phase 1: July to September 2022

  • Upgrade street lighting along the Upfield Shared User Path from; Spry Street to Bakers Road in Coburg North, and Rogers Street to O’Hea Street in Coburg.

Phase 2: Early 2023

  • Extend the Upfield shared user path between Sages Road and the Western Ring Road to improve accessibility and connection to key commuting routes in the north.
  • Improve fencing and bicycle line marking between Sages Road and Fawkner Station to assist people walking and cycling through the area.
  • A 40km/h speed reduction on Sages Road, to create a low speed, mixed traffic environment for people walking, cycling and driving.

Original plans were for a dedicated path from Box Forest Road to the end of Sages Road. It appears these plans have been dropped and cyclists will be expected to share Sages Road with traffic, including truck drop-off and pickups to the factories on Sage Road and the buses that drop-off and pickup at Gowrie Station, albeit with a reduced speed zone of 40km/h.

Sages Road is not safe for unsupervised children to cycle on. This compromises the safety of cycling on the Upfield Bike Path route.

Upfield Bike Path extension funded in 2018

Frank McGuire (MP for Broadmeadows) announced funding for the extension of the Upfield Bike Path in a speech on 18th August 2018.

In 2022 Mr McGuire was so proud of M80 expansion (Edgars Road to Sydney Road) being completed ahead of time. Never mind the complete silence on Upfield Path extension, and extension of the Upfield Rail line to Craigieburn and to Wallan to provide good public transport to the 27 new residential developments in Melbourne’s north to reduce vehicle congestion. This 3.5km section of the M80 cost $518 million to expand, yet they couldn’t even be bothered building a 300 metre concrete link path, instead Major Roads Project conducted a poll on what colour to paint the pedestrian bridge.

M80 expansion and silence on extending Upfield Rail line

We got an M80 expansion instead of an Upfield Bike Path extension. Major Roads were not even prepared to do a 300 metre concrete path extending the Merri Creek Trail to a Council Road at the request of Hume Council. This would have enabled an extension of the cycling route into the Merri Creek Parklands at Bolinda Reserve and Galada Tamboore.

Of course this had followed Level Crossing Removal Project failing to build any of the cycling paths on the Camp Road Level Crossing Removal (and ignoring Transport Integration Act mandate to do cycling and pedestrian enhancements as part of major transport projects) and in fact going a step further in cementing cabling on the portion of the bridge over the M80 allocated for pedestrian/cycling use.

The Budget papers in 2018 mentions that the Upfield, Somerton and Wallan service enhancement planning study was completed in the 4th Quarter of the financial year. This report investigates extending the Upfield line through Craigieburn to Wallan, but no details have ever been released.

Instead we have had the M80 expanded, while a promise to improve the surface of the Merlynston Station Car Park 4 years ago by Ms Lizzie Blandthorn MP resulted in doubling the parking with no public business case, with mature trees destroyed against the wishes of the community and advice of Moreland Council officers.

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