Can gaps be bridged at Bedford Road

The removal of the level crossing at Bedford Road in Ringwood could be an opportunity to connect up several major planned bike corridors that converge in the precinct east of Ringwood station.

There are strategic cycle corridors proposed or existing along the Belgrave line from Heathmont, the Lilydale line from Croydon, the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail and the Ringwood line to Box Hill.

However potential connections to make this network functional have yet to be fully explored.

With the level crossing removal on Bedford Road now proceeding, it is timely to ask what contribution this project will make to the solution.

The project has opened for public consultation so bike riders have an opportunity to ask some  questions.

There is a virtual community information session with the LXRP team about the project where you can have your say on elements of the design on Saturday 19 March, 11am to 12pm

You can register here.

You can also provide feedback here.

The government has announced that the preferred solution for the crossing is a rail trench under the Bedford Road and typical rail trenches work against connectivity and access, not in favour.

In this instance there is a risk that the width of the trench at ground level will consume so much ground area that there may not be space for bike infrastructure along the rail corridors, enabling the trail from Heathcote to properly connect into Ringwood.

As a consequence, it might be that the trail has to be placed in the road reservation, thus defeating the purpose of a "congestion busting” level crossing removal.

The Level Crossings Removal Projects makes no mention that there is a strategic cycling corridor along to rail line at this location. Maybe they lost the map.

The Bedford Road level crossing removal is one of 12 being removed on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines. Six are already gone, two are going, and four more – including this one – are planned for removal by 2025.

The government says: "Removing the Bedford Road level crossing will improve safety and reduce congestion, which will change how locals live, work and travel.

"This project will mean the Belgrave line will be level crossing free from Ferntree Gully to the city, allowing more trains to run, more often.”

Early works will start later this year, with boom gates gone for good by 2025.

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