Council and community make progress on Taroona Avenue path
by SANDI MILLER
6th February 2023
CONSTRUCTION HAS commenced on the next stage of the bike path which will link Warrandyte with the Main Yara Trail and the wider cycle network beyond.
The High School end of the path has started, with works expected to be completed by April.
Meanwhile, consultation for a new path along Taroona Avenue has taken another step forward with a meeting at the Warrandyte Community Hall.
On Wednesday, February 1, representatives from Manningham Council’s projects, planning and infrastructure teams were joined by Yarra Ward Councillor Carli Lange and an audience of around 30 people interested in the Council’s latest plans for the path, including the Warrandyte Community Association, and residents from Taroona Avenue and neighbouring streets.
The original idea was to link the Warrandyte River path to Warrandyte’s West End facilities and then eventually the Main Yarra Trail, however, community backlash against the over-engineered plans saw a rethink by Council with new plans for only a pedestrian path along the eastern side of the road.
In its original design, first proposed in 2018, the path was originally planned to be a shared path with a boardwalk running along the creek before it crossed the road at First Street to run along the western side of Taroona Avenue, taking out a dozen trees and restricting parking for visitors to both the market and local sporting events.
Then last October a new design was presented to the community for feedback, which Council Officers have incorporated into this (hopefully final) iteration of the plans.
Cr Lange summed up the mood of the audience “I know we are all excited, we have been waiting and waiting for this to come, but it is worth waiting and getting all the feedback from last time, and we have to look at how that has been incorporated in this design,” she said.
The latest iteration of the plans has integrated local stone into the edging, grey concrete, and natural swale guttering, in what has been largely acknowledged by the audience as being a vast improvement on the original design, and retaining all existing vegetation.
The stone edging will separate pedestrians from vehicular traffic and keep cars from parking on the path.
The road will be widened on the western side at the lower section to take into account the intrusion of the path at that point.
Cr Lange said this path is something that has been requested by residents.
“There has been a callout for its need and it has been ranked as a priority for footpaths in Manningham.
“This is a project that highlights the new planning guidelines and the mechanisms that make sure that planning and construction in Manningham follow the guidelines and procedures,” she said.
Doug Seymour of the WCA said he was generally encouraged by the new design.
“I think they really have taken notice of community concerns and also adopted many of the measures in the Green Wedge Management Plan but I still think there are some minor details that we can seek some improvements on, such as the reduction of parking opportunities,” he told the Diary.
Taroona Avenue Resident Colin Hall was also disappointed parking was not better managed.
“We have big sports events, and the market, and we like those things, it is part of the excitement of living in this street.”
Cyclists have not been incorporated into this plan, with children able to ride on the path, but other cyclists keeping to the road, a dedicated cycleway may be incorporated at a future date, but given that Taroona Avenue is generally a quiet road, it is not a priority either for Council or cyclists.
Local resident, Ian Moore said as a cyclist, he would still ride down the middle of the road.
“But it is good for kids, elderly, and people with dogs, it keeps them separated from the cars,” he said.
There was a discussion for further improvements to the design, James Charlwood suggesting lining the swale with stones or creating raingardens, similar to those used by Maroondah Council in comparable situations, to assist in slowing the water and creating cleaner runoff into the creek.
The finalised plans will be returned to the community and, unless the project becomes subject to a cultural heritage review, construction is hoped to commence in mid-2023.