Ballarat plan
Bits of Ballarat bike network to begin

There is finally some action on improving the Ballarat bike network, however there is still deliberation and a frosty reception.

Works are due to begin on a 500 metre off road path along the northern edge of Victoria Park which will run parallel to Sturt Street between Russell and Gillies streets.

Sturt Street itself is still the subject of debate however, with previous plans killed off by traders insistent on the street continuing to be for cars and cars alone.

In its latest statement, the state government said that the retail district would have to embrace bikes to survive and that there is too much car parking.

“Let’s be blunt, there are far too many car parks in the CBD vacant, and that is a serious issue," said Roads Minister Luke Donellan.

“The idea that you would have a CBD with car parks everywhere indicates we’re getting not enough passing pedestrian trade.

“I get very concerned that many people involved with this don’t understand that retail trade requires pedestrian traffic. You need people walking, not people in cars, and people on bikes that will hop off and go shopping.”

However, the local member predictably potted the idea of reducing the number of car parks in Ballarat. Liberal MP Joshua Morris said that the Roads Minister has "lost the plot", however it seems that he himself hasn't a clear grip on reality.

His main argument against bike riding in Ballarat was that it is too cold.

While he may have missed the news that the latest research from Denmark shows that bike riding is the key to productivity and growth, you would think he would be aware that its capital Copenhagen is arguably the world's most bike friendly and regularly reaches sub-zero temperatures and snows.

Bicycle Network will continue to monitor bike plans in Ballarat and work with local groups, riders, the council and VicRoads to ensure that the city gets the places to ride that it needs.