The cycling facilities as part of the Lawrie Emmins Reserve Draft Plan proposed by Wyndham Council are to be commended and will go a long way towards filling the enormous gap in cycling infrastructure in the west of Melbourne.
The benefits of the Lawrie Emmins Reserve cycling facilities would include increased engagement, physical activity (better health) and skill development for people of all ages. Such projects help build community and foster social inclusion as well as encourage the 60% of people to cycle who are interested but concerned. However, if the cycling facilities are to reach their maximum potential there should be a considerable number of changes made to the design.
The criterium track should incorporate more track layouts as per the Tom Dumoulin Bike Park. It should also incorporate a hill, a cobblestone section, lighting, bike racking area and timing loop for duathlons, a grandstand, bicycle storage and pits.
The velodrome should be changed to a 320-400m velodrome with dramatically reduced angle of banking from the proposed 250m track. A 250m velodrome is too intimidating for young people and novices and would limit its appeal. A velodrome similar to the Packer Park velodrome in Carnegie would be more appropriate.
A small grandstand opposite the pavilion or on the inside of the track to provide seating for spectators for the BMX track also would greatly add to the utility of the venue such as the one at Herne Hill Velodrome in London.
The pavilion or an area near it should have sufficient room to store over 50 bicycles. This is the arrangement at Brunswick Velodrome under the pavilion where they store bicycles that young people may borrow each Sunday morning as part of the junior clinic. Such a storage facility would be very useful for bicycle education programs as well and schools who wished to run cycling programs.
A wider area along the main start/finish straight of the criterium track would be very beneficial for students when testing their vehicles for the RACV Energy Breakthrough challenge (discussed below). This area would form a type of “pits” similar to motor racing which would provide easy access to and from the course.
It is important that the key stakeholders of cycling facilities are actively encouraged to participate in the use of Lawrie Emmins Reserve as without such active engagement its use will fall far short of its potential. This means actively engaging with social infrastructure such as cycling clubs, triathlon clubs, bicycle education providers, primary and high schools. Such engagement would ensure the cycling facilities would be in near constant daily use and help promote the physical activity we as a society desperately need.
1) BikeWest submission in full: http://bikewest.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BikeWest-Lawrie-Emmins-Reserve-Submission-20190508.pdf