A Bridge Road too far?

Bridge Road is a key East-West link for bikes into and out from the central city, but getting decent bike facilities on the street has just receded further into the distance.

Yarra City has just concluded the consultation phase for their Bridge Road Streetscape Masterplan to improve the area around the iconic Melbourne shopping strip.

The plan incorporates Bridge Road from the Yarra River in the east to Punt Road in the west, and divides it in to three precincts: Bridge Road East, Civic and Institutional Precinct, and Richmond Hill.

Bridge Road sits amongst other main streets strips of this era where it evolved as an important shopping destination as well as transport connection between Melbourne’s growing suburbs and the city centre.

The Bridge Road Masterplan aims to reinforce this heritage by improving both place-making and movement connections within the precincts.

From a bike riding perspective, Bridge Road is designated a priority bike route. But it is also a priority route for trams and motor traffic.

The provision and positioning of road space for bikes along Bridge Road is cause for some concern, as when the clear-ways are not in effect, cyclists ride in the dooring zone of parked cars. There is no separation from traffic.

Where this plan is lacking in provision along Bridge Road, it makes up for it in the improved cycling facilities running east-west along Highett Street and Palmer Street, just to the north.

This is great to see because of the increased connectivity for the Civic and Institutional Precinct, which will see the development of two school sites and several sports facilities.

There are some short-comings in the permeability of this route however, with cyclists missing logical crossings of roads like Burnley Street, and poor access from areas south of Bridge Road.

This project could also include aims to better connect Bridge Road to surrounding transport networks, such as improving cycling infrastructure crossing the Yarra River and also planning for a better route for cyclists to get from West Richmond Station to the Bridge Road precincts.

A clarification about what will be done at the Lennox Street and Bridge Road intersection needs to be provided due to the importance of this route for bike riders to move through the area.