Bike hub a boon for cyclists
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