During a treasured two hours of exercise this lockdown, strollers on Warrnambool's beautiful foreshore have found room to dream.
Walkers on the promenade this week told The Standard they imagined improvements to the path, including separate bike lanes where space allowed, and lower vegetation that offered better views.
The shared path for pedestrians and bikes, in dunes that wind around Lady Bay, has been a site of near-misses for Warrnambool walker Greg.
"Lucky I haven't been whacked. The bikes go reasonably quickly; a bike track would make sense," he said. "If you cut the curves out and made it wider in certain areas it might at least make it easier to pass."
Bek, a disability worker who walks the path six times a week with clients, said dogs not on leads were a hazard and owners not cleaning up after them frustrated her.
"If I walk along here with some clients who are vision impaired, they can't see the dogs under their feet," she said.
"The timber boardwalk is terrible. One of my clients slipped and fell recently."
Bikes, prams, scooters and segways can clog the path when Jacinta, a mother of two primary school-aged children, takes daily walks.
"It definitely needs to be widened. There could be a bike and scooter lane in some areas," she said.
It definitely needs to be widened. There could be a bike and scooter lane in some areas.Warrnambool mother Jacinta
Jacinta also said the vegetation was tunnel-like in some areas and made her feel unsafe.
A push for upgrades to the promenade was part of Warrnambool councillor Max Taylor's election campaign but he said this week his focus was mostly on vegetation removal.
"At the moment, you can only see the sea 30 per cent of the promenade, I would like that to be reversed to 70 per cent," Cr Taylor said.
He thought a separation of bikes and pedestrians was unlikely given the potential cost and planning approvals involved.
"Bike riders just have to be extremely careful," Cr Taylor said.
Warrnambool mayor Vickie Jellie said the foreshore was on crown land and any proposal for works would require involvement from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
"There's been no discussion about it," Cr Jellie said.
"I can understand why people would have those thoughts about it. Yes we are using all our footpaths more often, it would have to be a huge discussion about infrastructure funding and with DELWP."
A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said the council had no current plans for an alternative bike path along the foreshore.
"We may review tight spots on bends to make them safer," he said.
"However, any new path would require landowner consent and a suitable funding source."
He said the council was able to fine people who did not clean up after dogs, however this required local laws officers to catch people in the act.
"We cannot have officers stationed around the clock in one area," the spokesman said.
"The reality is that we rely on dog owners to do the right thing and we've endeavoured to make this as easy as possible by providing rubbish bins and compostable bags at regular intervals along the promenade."
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