Boroondara elections: On his bike and in poll position

PETER Campbell’s bicycle takes him from Surrey Hills to the CBD in 22 minutes, beating trains, trams and most law-abiding motorists.

But so far it has failed to beat the state government’s resistance to bikes as urban transport.

After 15 years of trying to secure a cycle track from Box Hill to Hawthorn,  Mr Campbell has decided if you can’t beat them, join them.

 He  is standing for Maling Ward at this month’s council election and is one of 12 candidates demanding an upgrade of Boroondara’s bike infrastructure, including duplicating  the Gardiners Creek Trail, use of railway easements for off-road trails and linking  scraps of tracks along Canterbury and Rathmines roads with the Main Yarra Trail. He wants the council to increase its bike budget from $600,000 to $1.2 million to help deliver the improvements.

But given most upgrades need to take place on state government land, does he think it’s worth contesting a seat on council?

‘‘I do, because council has a key role for advocating for the provision of infrastructure,’’ he says. 

‘‘The state government talks to the councils – it doesn’t talk to residents or bicycle users groups.

‘‘I would be ramping up what could be done at the council level, then going to state government and saying, ‘We have 10,000 bicycle trips on this route each day – we need to provide a safe option’.’’

The critical test of local bike tracks will come this week when thousands of occasional commuters join the regulars on 

Ride2Work Day. Mr Campbell expects Gardiners Creek Trail – which sees 4000 cyclists on a normal weekday morning – to be under extreme pressure.

 ‘‘It has become unsafe – this is why we need another trail along the railway easement to Box Hill,’’ he says.

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