BENDIGO, year 2062. Winston Citizen swipes on to one of the city’s light rail services out of new suburb Futura Lakes. He’s walked to the station and he’s running late but there’s another service leaving in exactly five minutes so his boss won’t mind too much.
It’s an Orwellian future for many. Fewer cars. More public transport.
But as Bendigo’s population grows and our urban boundaries swell, it’s an inevitable outcome.
For many, the thought of using public transport in a regional centre seems as foreign as riding a pushbike across the Nullarbor.
It is clear that parking, roads, and other driving-related concerns are high on the agenda for ratepayers.
The $15 million Edward Street car park goes some way to addressing those matters.
The same emphasis and investment now needs to go toward the future of public transport for the city.
Council’s Transport and Land Use strategy is calling for community input into workable solutions for the future.
Light rail services, or even restoring commuter trams, could form part of that strategy.
If plans are put in place now, either option could be a viable alternative for driving into the city, especially for children and our increasingly ageing population.
With the population expected to hit 140,000 by 2031, according to residential development assumptions, it’s clear there will be big growth corridors.
The city’s transport and land use strategy is in its infancy, currently in the community and stakeholder engagement phase. Anyone with ideas on what sort of public transport they would like to see in the future should raise their ideas now to help Winston get to work on time.