City of Greater Bendigo’s Debbie Wood, VicRoads regional director Daya Govender, Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards and mayor Margaret O’Rourke. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

BENDIGO’S CBD will become more pedestrian and cyclist friendly with council to introduce a 40 kilometre per hour speed limit and pedestrian crossings at key locations in central Bendigo.

Council applied last September to the TAC for more than $1 million in funding to make the CBD safer for those on foot and the growing number of cycle commuters.

The news was welcomed by groups such as Bike Bendigo, and falls into line with council’s Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy to encourage people to be less reliant on cars for transport.

The 40km/h limit will be introduced on non-major roads in an area bordered by the railway line, Myrtle, View, High and Chapel streets and Gaol and Park roads.

A pedestrian crossing will also be introduced on View Street near the Bendigo Art Gallery, Capital Theatre and QEO in an area that is frequently busy with foot traffic due to exhibitions, concerts and sporting events.

Several roundabouts including those at the intersection of Edward and Queen streets, Edward and Hargreaves streets and the five-way roundabout at Lyttleton Terrace and Mundy Street will have pedestrian crossings on all exits.

The roundabout at Lyttleton Terrace, Mundy and Hopetoun streets, near council headquarters, will also require work to reconfigure road entries to further encourage motorists to slow down in the area.

The move is sure to cause mixed reactions among motorists, but mayor Margaret O’Rourke says it should not be too significant a change for motorists.

“I think that once people understand there’s been a reduction in the speed limit in terms of what they need to do, that is an education program,” she said.

“I would hope that motorists are travelling safely in the CBD anyway and drive to the conditions, it’s not always about the speed limit.

“It’s about safety first, whether you’re in a car, on a bike or a pedestrian, it’s about the conditions for the community.”

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards made the announcement to confirm the $1.07m worth of funding, and said that a change as minor as the small reduction in speed limit can have a major impact on safety.

“The TAC have done modelling around this, and that reduction in speed limit around some areas of the CBD will result in a 30 per cent reduction in accidents,” she said.

“It’s not something that’s just come out of the blue, it’s based on serious modelling.”

Council has previously stated that road signage may be used to communicate the new speed limits, as opposed to roadside street signs.

Work on the roundabout upgrades is due to begin later this year.

– Joel Peterson