Trams, rail explored for Bendigo

BENDIGO council’s new transport planner says there is a strong push toward trams and light rail to meet the city’s growth.

The City of Greater Bendigo’s Transport and Land Use Strategy will consider restoring commuter trams, improving bus networks and investing in inter-city light rail as part of its long-term solution to Bendigo’s expanding population.

Transport planner Katherine Wrzesinski said there were a number of feasible options to connect people better across the city. 

In her first month in the role, she said she had seen the need for greater use of public transport in Bendigo.

“The need for thinking beyond roads is very clear. There’s a clear emphasis of my role to look at improving public transport,” she said.

“We need to look at integrating transport options to where people will live in the future.” 

The public are being urged to put forward their proposals on which services are needed most.

Ms Wrzesinski said the council would consult residents on the most effective solutions they would like to see both in the short-term and setting up infrastructure for the future.

“Whether that means light-rail services or trams... The bones are already there for the tram network. It’s something we would like to discuss further with the community,” she said.

A key part of the new transport strategy would also be ensuring the quality of service, Ms Wrzesinski said.

“People are saying to us they want something direct, frequent and reliable. Better frequency makes public transport a viable alternative and makes it more attractive to people. That will be our goal to meet that standard.”

As a former sustainable transport planner with Stonnington Council, in Melbourne’s east, Ms Wrzesinski said there were lessons for Bendigo in the transport strategies of Melbourne and other cities around the world. But she said it was also important to maintain Bendigo’s character.

The Transport and Land Use Strategy is currently in its community and stakeholder engagement phase, with interested locals asked to put forward their views and ideas.

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