Redevelopment divides community

Black Forest Drive. (Supplied)

By Oliver Lees

The Macedon Ranges Residents Association has questioned whether the community will benefit from a proposed redevelopment of Black Forest Drive, which has proposed the configuration be reduced from four to two lanes to make way for bike lanes.

Running parallel to the Calder Freeway, Black Forest Drive acts as a conduit from Macedon to Woodend.

On September 27, the Department of Transport opened a survey to receive community feedback on the $6 million roadwork plan.

In addition to the changes in lane configuration, the works also plan to include road resealing efforts, intersection upgrades and the installation of pedestrian refuges and lighting.

A three-metre painted centre median has also been planned.

Following a webinar hosted by Engage Victoria with residents from the shire on October 5, Macedon Ranges Residents Association secretary Christine Pruneau said she had received negative feedback on the plan from the community.

“That road is not a forgiving road, it never has been,” Ms Pruneau said.

“This road … was a killer road until the real safety improvement of opening the Calder Freeway in 2000 halved the vehicles on its four lanes and the road finally stopped claiming at least one life every year.

“If this change is meant to be for the benefit of people who are road racing cyclists, it’s potentially not going to be a very fair exchange.

“You’ve got a whole group of people who live there with their driveways backing onto the road, and it’s not going to benefit them.”

The proposed development divided individuals on a community Facebook page, with some endorsing a greater supply of bicycle lanes, while others were concerned the change in lane configuration may hinder exit options from bushfire scenarios.

Macedon MP Mary-Ann Thomas said it was important to prepare the region’s infrastructure for continued growth.

“Our region is expanding, and we need to prepare for this continued growth – Black Forest Drive serves as an important connection for our communities, so we must look at the best options for this upgrade,” Ms Thomas said.

The state government is receiving feedback until October 21.