The Main Yarra Trail diversion in Burnley has finally been removed, to the delight of regular commuters, myself included! The diversion, which has been in place for well over a year was removed last Friday the 29th July. I wrote about the inconvenience this obstruction caused back in mid-March, I never would have thought back then that it would take another four months for the works to end, but it did! The trail was closed for a widening project on the Monash Freeway which flies over the cycle path.
According to what papers you read and who you listen to it seems the project may have been a complete waste of money. The extra lane has not eased congestion and groups such as Bicycle Victoria have argued that the money could have been much more wisely spent, particularly on upgrading cycle paths in the area. The project has finished massively over budget and the blowout has jeopardised other more environmentally friendly initiatives, such as the much needed expansion of Melbourne's public rail network.
Personally, there's a few things I'll enjoy about the trail being fully open for business:
1. Not getting punctures as I ride through the Burnley underpass
2. Not having people ride into me as they turn the sharp corners of the diversion, and
3. Not having cars, small children and mums with prams to contend with as I ride through the Allan Bain reserve!
This may in fact mark the end of the dark days of neglect by local governments! Cadel's win has brought the issue of cycling infrastructure and safety into the public limelight and cycling in Australia is bound to experience a post - Tour de France boom. Our infrastructure is already quite good on a world standard and I believe that over the next 10-20 years we will see Melbourne move to being a truly bicycle friendly city, similar to the likes of Copenhagen and Amsterdam. I just hope everyone doesn't start riding Dutch cruisers, they're kinda crap...