PARENTS at Bendigo South East College could soon have access to 18 fewer car parks after VicRoads locked in funding for a bike lane separating cyclists from traffic.
The Ellis Street car parks could go under plans to build a separated, two-lane bike path, making it the first street in Bendigo where bikes share the same road, but not the same space.
Eighteen of 120 car parks between Somerville and Sharon Street would go to make room for the bike path, with most lost at the Sharon Street end of Ellis Street.
Other car parks along the street would be shifted sideways under the plan.
The busy street handles traffic going to Bendigo South East, La Trobe University and the Strathdale business district.
The council has focused on retaining as many parks as possible, coordinator of civil design Nathan Sartori said.
The council would move a number of car parks so they sat between east-bound traffic and the bike lane, he said.
A line of flexible bollards will be installed between the parks and the bike lane.
The council has also rethought how buses will pick up and drop people off on Ellis Street.
Buses will stop in traffic east-bound at a raised platform near Theodore Street.
The plan comes at a time when many people are saying they do not feel safe cycling in traffic, including in bike lanes.
Only 25 per cent of women were comfortable riding in an on-road bike lane, recent council research revealed.
Bike Bendigo's president regularly speaks to people who avoid on-road bike lanes.
"We've got a lot of painted lines on roads but people still feel vulnerable," Nicola Dunnicliff-Wells said.
The Ellis Street bike lane will allow students to remain on protected bike paths all the way from Spring Gully, Mr Sartori said.
VicRoads has now given the green light to $150,000 for the project, though the council is yet to finish community consultations.
The project also still needs $150,000, which council officers have asked for in the council's draft 2019/2020 budget.
The plan is coming together at a time when councils and VicRoads were rethinking bikes, Ms Dunnicliff-Wells said.
"Rather than thinking about motorised traffic movement they (VicRoads) are thinking about people making journeys in a variety of ways," she said.
"They are not just thinking 'curb-to-curb' any more, they are thinking about people walking, cycling, taking a bus. I think that's a significant shift."
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The council too is looking for more ways to get people onto bikes.
Ellis Street's bike lane could one day become part of council aspirations for an unbroken 22km trail encircling Bendigo.
The trail was flagged in a draft cycling and walking plan currently out for public consultation, which would connect trails across Bendigo, Kennington, Ironbark and Spring Gully.
Another 6km of trails would be needed, including a university to city centre route, however that project was still some time away.
A master plan would need to be drawn up to look at the best direction for the path and approaches to challenges like a crossing line in Golden Square.
In the meantime, consultations will continue on Ellis Street, which is not the only greater Bendigo project to get funding from VicRoads.
It has put aside $1.5 million from the Fixing Country Road Program for four projects.
The funding will help Bendigo's council build a roundabout at the intersection of Averys Road and Jobs Gully Road in Eaglehawk.
The funding will also help the council strengthen and smooth Elmore's Lockington Road and Axedale's Obriens Lane.
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