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A PLANNED bicycle “super highway” could be a chute shrouded in harmful pollutants from the West Gate Tunnel tollway project, respiratory experts fear.
A 2.5km elevated veloway will be suspended below an elevated section of the $5.5 billion West Gate Tunnel Tollway raised above Footscray Rd.
And respiratory experts fear cyclists — on the government-spruiked bike super highway — could be breathing in traffic fumes from 360 degrees.
Royal Melbourne Hospital respiratory medicine director Lou Irving said without a proper filter design cyclists on the elevated path would likely be breathing in more pollutants than cycling on the busiest suburban road.
The Footscray Rd elevated structure of the West Gate Tunnel shows the veloway will be surrounded by cars and trucks.Dr Irving said health benefits of cycling to work on the veloway would be significantly reduced if there was not proper filtration.
“Cycling is something we should be encouraging, not only for health benefits but as something that has far less of an impact on the environment than driving a car.
“But studies have been done to show that cyclists are more exposed to pollutants. The level of exposure is greater around busy roads or riding next to a freeway than, say, through a park.”
“This veloway needs to be designed to minimise exposure. If that is not done then cyclists could be breathing in more pollutants than they would on the busiest suburban road.”
The West Gate Tunnel project released a 10,000-page environmental effects statement but it did not outline how it was going to filter harmful car pollutants out of the veloway.
Greens spokeswoman Samantha Dunn said the veloway was a dud and delivered a poor outcome for cyclists.
The Greens Upper House MP said it was one of the worst pieces of bike infrastructure she had seen.
“To be in a position where there is traffic above, below and all around you is the worst possible position for cyclists,” Ms Dunn said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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