Questions asked and answered about planning in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Is there a reason that this project can't start with developing good bike paths?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

With all of these big projects we are required to consider and deliver active transport facilities. It seems that the best opportunity that we have to build walking and cycling infrastructure is when big projects like North East Link come along. We have not finalised the staging of the works at this stage including when cycling and walking paths will be delivered. 


I’m interested in what the future looks like, no sense in planning for now. In thinking about both walking and cycling paths, what are the best examples globally in the way of cycling and walking paths?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

** We grouped similar questions together, including... 

  • What are the best examples globally of walking paths and cycling paths that are different to what we’re seeing in Melbourne?

We’ll be looking to international best practice and trying to apply what we can for this project and encourage community members to provide examples they believe we should be considering. We’re also working with technical specialists here in Australia to determine the best examples that are appropriate for the local context.



How are you considering connections with other bike networks like the northern trail strategy?

*We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will the existing on-road cycling map be updated to reflect what's happening on the road and be consistent with councils Principal Bicycle Network plan?

Our work began with consideration of all relevant state, regional and local strategies to make sure we were making the right connections to the existing cycling and walking networks.

The walking and cycling connections being investigated as part of North East Link are based around the gaps in the existing networks identified by strategies such as the Northern Trails Strategy. North East Link will aim to provide strategic connection and improve connectivity to local activity centres and recreational facilities.

The on-road cycling map that was shown at the community workshops was based on the Council’s Principal Bicycle Networks but we are also considering the existing and potential future use of other routes. If community members believe we should be considering other routes (not on the PBN) we would be happy to receive this feedback based on local experience.


What data will NELA use to understand how the community crosses Greensborough Rd?

* We grouped similar questions together, including... 

  • What is the current pedestrian traffic north / south?
  • What cyclists ride north / south and what kinds? School kids? Commuters? Recreational?
  • How do you assess anticipated user types and numbers?
  • Will NELA consider a veloway - getting commuters in addition to upgrading recreational trails will NELA be providing a high quality transport facility for active transport particularly cyclists along the project alignment like a veloway? 

We are undertaking pedestrian and cyclist counts at every signalised crossing or overpass of Greensborough Road to understand the current movements across the road corridor. We are also speaking to the local community to understand where people walk and cycle to, and what routes they take.

This data is currently being collected and once the counts are complete we will have current numbers.

We are speaking to walkers and cyclists in the north-east including schools, commuters and recreational cyclists to understand what type of facilities we need to provide to meet their needs.

Anticipated user types and numbers can be difficult to determine but our assessments will be developed

in consultation with the local councils, Transport for Victoria and Bicycle Network who all have significant experience in helping design and plan for active transport infrastructure. This will help us assess what type of facility to provide and whether separation of pedestrians and cyclists are needed. 

What is the budget for the walking / cycling tracks? And what percentage of total spend will be on walking / cycling?

* We grouped similar questions together, including... 

  • What is the budget spend per km for trails?

The scope of the works is still being investigated therefore a total budget has not been determined at this point. However, North East Link will expand the existing shared use path infrastructure, extending from the M80 Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway and the Yarra Trail. More information about predicted project costs will be included in the Business Case. This will be released this year.


Two paths is ideal: cycling and walking. What money does this entail and is it possible in the budget and within the spaces?

The project team are in discussions with Transport for Victoria and Councils about the types of walking and cycling facilities to be provided at various locations. While separation of pedestrians and cyclists is ideal, this will ultimately depend on the space available and the predicted volume of users. While separated paths for cyclists and walkers will be considered at specific locations there is particular demand, there is sufficient space and this responds to the needs of future users. 

How are you planning for cycling tourism?

There are a number of existing recreational cycling routes in the north-east. The project will look to complement these trails by providing direct connections to the wider network.

The walking and cycling paths provided by the project will be well suited to recreational users as we are looking to maximise the separation between users and vehicles (by providing grade-separated overpasses or underpasses of roads) and minimising the grades of the walking and cycling paths to make it accessible to people of all ages. We will also be considering wayfinding and signage to encourage usage and improve user experience.

Whilst there is a positive emphasis on walking and cycling - it is always couched in terms of seeing how this road project can be designed to improve existing walking and cycling infrastructure. Can we elevate the emphasis on walking and cycling to the status of being just as important as cars as a transport mode and in view of the benefits of active transport - make them even more important? After all - it's a transport corridor not a road corridor which just accommodates walking and riding.

We agree that the project is a transport project and not just a road project because it will deliver transport benefits across all modes. North East Link is providing transport solutions for those who travel by private vehicles, public transport and active transport modes.

Plan Melbourne aims to create an integrated transport system for the city. One of the key directions of the plan is to ‘improve local travel options to support 20-minute neighbourhoods’ Active transport is the critical mode to support this directions and North East Link is committed to cycling and walking improvements which deliver real local benefits and also support cycling for commuters.

The walking and cycling improvements are being considered for the whole north-east region and not just along the road corridor.

This means we are considering ways to:

  • Make it easier to walk and cycle to public transport
  • Close the gaps in the existing walking and cycling network across the north-east region
  • Build the Strategic Cycling Corridor network


Questions asked and answered about project scope in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Is the north east bicycle link part of the project?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will there be a north-south ring road bike path?

Improving cycling connectivity to the city is being considered as part of the project's objectives. 

North East Link is also investigating completion of the missing cycling link in Melbourne’s orbital freeway network. We are investigating providing a walking and cycling connection along Greenborough Road, which would complete the gap in the trail between the M80 Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway. We will be able to provide more details on specific proposals at the next community workshop. 

Will the dirt path along Yarra Trail form part of the project scope?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will the project help create a sealed-off path between Heidelberg (Banksia St) and Yarra river? As it's currently Parks Victoria jurisdiction.

We are working with Park’s Victoria to access the land adjacent to the Yarra and undertake site visits and investigations. We will be able to provide more details on specific proposals at the next community workshop.


What is your scope? Does it go out to Ringwood and into the city?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

To the east, our scope ends at Springvale Road as we know it, and doesn’t extend all the way to EastLink. In the other direction, our scope extends all the way into the city at Hoddle Street. If there are walking and cycling improvements we can make in these areas we can consider them as part of the project.

The project is investigating improved connectivity from along the Eastern Freeway towards the city and connecting into the existing network.


I noticed the connection from one side of the Yarra to the other side of the Yarra. Fitzsimmons Lane, Banks St, Burke Rd. With the documents that went to the federal government there was a no go zone north of Banksia street. Does this mean that there would be no construction in that area?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop

A tunnel has been proposed beneath the Banyule Flats and the Yarra River and its associated floodplain, as well as the Heide Museum of Modern Art and sculpture park, to avoid surface impacts at these locations.

This area has been included within a designated ‘conditional no-go area’ in our Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) referral.

Surface works would not be permitted as part of the project with the possible exception of activities relating to site investigations, relocation of minor utilities and ground improvement.

This ‘conditional no-go area’ was designated to protect the environmentally and culturally important areas and was not intended to prevent acceptable walking and cycling improvements.


Can connectivity be included in NEL between community sports grounds in Warringal parklands with Banksia Park and Heide (a new footbridge) using low impact construction techniques?

Improving walking and cycling connections in this area is something we are investegating but the location and design of any new crossing of the Yarra River will need to be carefully considered.


Will there be paths added above the tunnel or is NELA just working on paths near the above ground section?

River Gum Walk is an existing sealed walking and cycling path which runs in close proximity of the tunnel alignment. The project is considering walking and cycling connectivity between Manningham Road and the paths along the Eastern Freeway.


Questions asked and answered about design in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

How will you maintain links to things like Watsonia station, local shops, local schools?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • There are a number of existing linkages eg. Nell Street overpass, Lower Plenty Road - is there a design commitment to keep all existing linkages? OR can the community / project create new linkages? Across the roads?
  • Will the cycling connection be maintained where the NEL goes into the 5km tunnel?
  • Will road crossings be bridges only?

The project aims to maintain all existing connectivity and improve connectivity where possible. The walking and cycling facilities being provided aim to improve connectivity to local communities and facilities in line with Plan Melbourne’s aim of achieving 20 minute neighbourhoods.


If all transport is equal will cycling and walking be "A" grade free flowing as are freeways?

The project aims to design walking and cycling facilities that minimise interaction with vehicles, and provide grade separation from arterial roads where possible. 

How do you manage cross traffic of cyclists and pedestrians at the inter-changes e.g. people heading from Bulleen to Heidelberg station and people heading from Ivanhoe to Marcellin College?

The widths of paths across the project will be designed to cater for the various movements and anticipated volumes.We are currently undertaking pedestrian and cycling counts to understand existing movements and volumes. 

Will track surfaces be solar powered (innovative "track" surfaces)?

Solar powered surfaces are not currently under consideration, however the use of sustainable materials and different lighting types will form part of the project. 

Can bike lockers be provided at public transport stops (bus in particular)?

Yes, this is currently being investigated as part of the project.

Can paths be located away from the road?

The aim will be to provide as much separation as possible from roads, however this will be ultimately determined by the space available.

How will existing cycling / walking facilities be maintained during construction? Will it be a priority?

We won’t know this detail for a while. The Environment Effects Statement assessments will consider this, and we would minimise disruptions to cyclists and ensure that suitable alternative routes are available.


Questions asked and answered about noise in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

What is planned for noise mitigation? We don’t want to be walking next to a freeway. Making it pleasurable for walkers is important.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

** We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Noise pollution - where does that fit into the designs of the walking tracks?
  • Noise!!! No barriers currently opposite end of Tannock St and the trees are dying - how will this be addressed?
  • Will increased noise have a detrimental effect on bird populations?

Managing noise is an important part of our assessments to inform the planning approvals. Detailed work will be done to understand existing noise and predicted noise levels once North East Link is constructed.

Noise monitoring is currently underway to understand existing noise levels and inform our design. 


Can you use mounds instead of noise walls to block noise? These create a more natural setting for walkers.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

Mounds can be a good solution at they use landscape to mitigate noise impact. However, in many locations there is limited space to provide enough of a barrier to noise.  


Do 'pleasant' walking (i.e. no assault from noise) paths alongside freeways exist at present?

We acknowledge it is a challenge to create a pleasant walking path beside a freeway. However, where possible, walking and cycling paths will be provided behind noise walls and planting of trees and landscape would be used for a better user experience.


Questions asked and answered about the environment in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

How does all this fit in the road reserve without destroying the small amount of environment left (trees, water, open space etc). New road, paths, extra lanes on existing roads e.g. Eastern Freeway. When do we find out how much parkland is going to be covered in freeway?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will any of the Parkland in front of Carron St / Arana St North Balwyn be taken for lane widening?
We are aiming to keep upgrade works to the Eastern Freeway within the existing road reserve. Where this is not possible, public open space such the Koonung Creek Linear Park will be required to avoid acquiring homes on both sides of the freeway. While it is too early to define the area of impact in square meters, a focus of the design development will be to minimise impact on Koonung Creek Parklands and all public open space along the Eastern Freeway. We are working with Melbourne Water, local councils and the community to manage potential impacts. An update on the project design will be released in the coming months.

The Yarra flats were a very rich source of plants and game for Aboriginal people. It was a meeting place for various groups. Some middens have been identified near where the Manningham interchange is planned to be. To date there have been no excavations. Is it planned to facilitate this before excavations for the interchange?

As part of the Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the project we are required to prepare a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP).

The CHMP will assess the potential impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage and outline measures to be taken before, during and after construction to manage and protect Aboriginal cultural heritage.

A CHMP involves desktop studies and fieldwork as well as consultation with stakeholders including Aboriginal Victoria and the Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP). Wurundjeri is the RAP for the North East Link activity area.

Heritage advisors like archaeologists or anthropologists will work with the Wurundjeri to identify and assess cultural values in relation to the potential impacts arising from North East Link.

As well as being involved in developing the CHMP, the Wurundjeri will have final approval of the plan, along with Aboriginal Victoria.


Questions asked and answered about safety, access and ease of use in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

With the infrastructure with cycling paths and walking paths, where will wheelchairs fit in to the planning?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

** We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will wheelchair access and availability for recreation as well as business be considered?

  • With aging communities will there be good enough facilities for wheelchairs?

The project aims to provide paths which are fully Disability Discrimination Act compliant where possible. This means providing paths and overpasses that have gentle grades, and path widths that allow for safe passing.

The challenge for the project will be how will we provide safe access for all people without compromising the design and functionality of the connections. For example designing crossings of the freeway to be DDA compliant may result is long ramps and they don't always get used so we will need to consider catering of different users types. 

How are you considering how restrictive hills can be for people trying to walk to public transport and shops or people with prams? Short distances can be quite hard to access in Watsonia. There are possibilities where you could have a longer path that doesn't go up a hill. Is it possible to have a shared path where cyclists will be limited to 20km/h.

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

** We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Old people find going up steps to cross a freeway difficult. How will you deal with their needs to cross?
  • Can hills be considered please? Greensborough can be quite hilly which can make walking small distances to shops and public transport difficult. Specific examples include the "cut through" paths from Nepean Street to De Blonay Cres. Easier walking options are needed to get people off the road.
  • Hills can make walking to public transport, shops etc difficult.
  • Easier routes could make it more convenient for people to choose walking over driving, reducing road traffic. Specific examples include walking routes from the east end of Elder St Greensborough to Greensborough plaza - there are "cut-through" paths and bridges between Nepean St and De Blonay Cres but these are not pram or disability accessible. These could be improved paths / bridges.

When we are looking at design of paths we have a number of considerations – we don’t have a one size fits all approach to designing paths. We look at all different types of cyclists and pedestrians such as families with prams. If we are providing a ramp over a freeway, we have to make sure that it is Disability and Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant (as mentioned above). There are local technical groups being set up so we can talk about these kinds of elements in more detail.

Grade separation for paths have focused on bridges. These require much longer ramps. Why not focus on underpasses as first priority - shorter ramps! Eg. Like Kooyong Trail no safety issues

Both overpasses and underpasses are being considered at locations across the project. The decision about which treatment to provide will depend on the topography of the area, the safety of the design and potential for flooding.

The Austroads guide has changed proposals for speeds on paths. Will they be complied with?

The project will be designed in full compliance with all Austroads and VicRoads publications, standards and guidelines. We will consider the issue of speeds on different types of paths. 

What will be done to improve pedestrian safety (and amenity) in crossing Rosanna Road?

Improvements to pedestrian safety and crossings of Rosanna Road are currently being considered by the project team.

The 1 metre rule has been introduced between cars and riders. Can it be considered between bikes and walkers?

* This question was asked and answered during the workshop.

** We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Will there be separation between walkers, dogs and runners, high-speed commuters and low-speed commuters like kids, the elderly, mobility scooters, skateboarders and inline skaters?
  • Can cycle and walking paths be kept separate? Shared paths are dangerous.
  • How will you provide safe separation for young families / elderly people in Watsonia from cyclists?
  • Will there be cycling and walking trails rules of use? Eg. commuters - work or school recreational users - separation of both.
  • Will the NEL have separated walking and cycling paths both along and across connectivity?

  • How do you make decisions about things like separated walking and cycling paths?

The design of any shared use paths will consider the anticipated number of pedestrians and cyclists. The widths of the path and the need for separation at various locations will be investigated. This will also take into consideration the likely use of the path (whether it serves a commuter or recreational function).

Will designs incorporate all bike types? Long - short - wide, tandem, tag-along, adult trike, recumbent, hand cycles, cargo, kids trailers?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • How will bollards, chicanes, turns, crossovers, end treatments etc. be designed?

The walking and cycling network aims to cater for users of all ages and abilities. The design of the paths will be in line with Austroads and VicRoads guidelines.

Over half the adult bikes sold in the likes of Germany and the Netherlands are e-bikes. As they get more affordable in Oz, many more bikes will be using our bike paths. Are you considering this?

* We grouped similar questions together, including...

  • Are Segway's welcome? Are they "cyclists" or "walkers" on the trails?

We are considering the future use of the walking and cycling network, which includes a higher proportion of electric bikes. One change that will occur as a result of this, is that people will be willing to cycling longer distances to reach their destination. This is why we will make sure that we are providing facilities with enough capacity to cater not for just the opening year demand, but for decades to come.


Will you be developing an emergency management plan for walking / cycling paths like emergency markers for "000" in remote / unsigned paths?

The paths will be designed in line with all relevant Austroads and VicRoads standards and requirements. Wayfinding and signage will also be considered as part of the projects design including emergency services access.


Will there be parking spaces for cars to be left for walkers and cyclists to access the tracks?

The design has not reached this level of detail yet but this will be something that will be considered as part of the project. 

Questions asked and answered about specific routes in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Will the underpasses beside the Eastern Freeway be kept?

Yes, the underpasses across the Eastern Freeway will be retained. 

Other questions Questions asked and answered about project scope in the February and March 2018 workshops. For up to date project information please visit northeastlink.vic.gov.au

Will Dysons operate an orbital bus service on route?

We’re working with Transport for Victoria on public transport opportunities that could be delivered as a result of North East Link – particularly Doncaster Busway. TFV is the authority that brings together planning, managing and coordinating Victoria’s transport system. Because we are in the early planning stages for this project, it’s too early to be able to answer specific questions about routes and services. What we hear from communities will help inform the planning process.

If the Banyule Flats tunnel does not go ahead there will be many more issues arising. When will be a final decision on the tunnel be made?

The Victorian Government has committed to building North East Link with twin tunnels beneath Banyule Flats and the Yarra River to preserve the sensitive ecosystems.