Bike hub a boon for cy­clists

North East Tourist News - - WANGARATTA - By SI­MONE KERWIN

SPRING saw the of­fi­cial launch of Wan­garatta’s new $692,000 Mer­riwa Park Bike Hub.

De­vel­oped in the for­mer com­fort sta­tion at the in­ter­sec­tion of Ry­ley Street and Ford Street, the fa­cil­ity aims to en­cour­age lo­cals to ride to work – thereby eas­ing traf­fic con­di­tions in the city’s cen­tre – and to pro­mote Wan­garatta’s bike-friendly at­ti­tude to vis­i­tors.

And it was im­me­di­ately em­braced by lo­cal cy­clists, many of whom at­tended a com­mu­nity break­fast in the Ovens River­side Square be­fore rid­ing down to wit­ness the bike hub open­ing.

Keen cy­clist Dianne Cribbes de­scribed the fa­cil­ity, which of­fers se­cure bike lock­ers, bike main­te­nance tools, show­ers and re­de­vel­oped toi­lets, as “fab­u­lous”.

“It’s the most fan­tas­tic thing for Wan­garatta; it’s cen­tral and it hits your eye as soon as you get here,” she said.

“There’s great ac­cess to the rail­way, the lock­ers are great, and the shower fa­cil­i­ties are bril­liant; I think it will def­i­nitely be made use of, and I don’t think it’s some­thing just for cy­clists – I think peo­ple will ap­pre­ci­ate the seat­ing and views of the park.”

The bike hub, de­vel­oped with State Govern­ment fund­ing through the Lo­cal Govern­ment In­fra­struc­ture Fund ($180,000), Putting Lo­cals First pro­gram ($220,000) and North East Trans­port Con­nec­tions project ($50,000) along with $242,000 from coun­cil, also fea­tures a new deck which looks over the pic­turesque park, of­fer­ing views not pre­vi­ously af­forded, and out­door seat­ing and bike racks.

Richard Un­der­wood, a Bi­cy­cle Users Group mem­ber who de­signed the orig­i­nal com­fort sta­tion, said he was par­tic­u­larly pleased with the new fo­cus of the build­ing. “I think it’s ter­rific,” he said. Open­ing the fa­cil­ity, Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta ad­min­is­tra­tor Ailsa Fox said the hub project had been more than four years in the mak­ing “but it has been worth the wait”.

“Wan­garatta is a ma­jor des­ti­na­tion for cy­clists, and hav­ing this fa­cil­ity right in our main street will help ad­ver­tise the cy­cling op­por­tu­ni­ties on of­fer in our re­gion,” she said.

Ms Fox said a new path ad­ja­cent to the road into Mer­riwa Park, which had been de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with the bike hub, was an­other great devel­op­ment.

“The path pro­vides eas­ier and safer ac­cess to the park for all users,” she said.

FULL CIR­CLE: Richard Un­der­wood, the ar­chi­tect who de­signed the com­fort sta­tion build­ing, is now an avid cy­clist who has wel­comed its trans­for­ma­tion into a bike hub. PHOTO: Luke Plum­mer

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