Exhibition Street upgrade a big win for bike riders

City of Melbourne is set to proceed with the major redesign of Exhibition Street that will see Copenhagen-style bike lanes built.

At a council meeting last night the city confirmed the project in next year’s budget and will proceed with detailed design and public consultation.

The project, part of the city’s new transport plan, installs full-time bike lanes instead of the current part-time arrangement, and makes them protected and continuous.

This is great news for city commuters who have shown tremendous patience with the existing, bastardised arrangement which sees some section of the street without any lanes at all.

Bicycle Network has long campaigned for protected bike lanes on Exhibition Street, where thirty-three cycling related crashes were reported during a five year period, including doorings and left-side swipe mid-block crashes.

In 2017 we helped call out selfish drivers who defied no parking signs, but despite heroic efforts by the City’s parking compliance team, drivers kept sneaking into the lanes to stop, forcing bikes to manoeuvre dangerously into the traffic lane to get around them.

We then showed how easy it would be to fix the problem once and for all by installing a pop-up protected bike lane which gave riders a clear run without impacting traffic flow.

The plan is a huge win for Bicycle Network members and people who ride in Melbourne.

Exhibition Street is a vital connection to the Canning and Rathdowne routes to the north, and the Main Yarra Trail to the south, as well as the east-west La Trobe Street route.

An artists impression of new Exhibition Street bike lanes.

Some on-street car parking will make way for the bike lanes, but there will still be plenty of options for people who feel like they must drive into the city.

Within 250 metres of Exhibition Street, there are currently 852 on-street paid parking bays and 6,843 commercial off-street parking bays.

The reduction of parking on Exhibition Street could result in a loss of revenue of more than $2 million a year for the council, however the draft transport strategy reveals that extensive areas of parking in the municipality is currently under-priced, so revenue can be rebalanced.

The city study concluded that 39 per cent of bicycle crashes would be avoided if continuous, physically separated kerbside bike lanes were installed along the full length of Exhibition Street.

In addition, the proposed design would support less confident people to ride bikes and is forecast to achieve a significant increase in bicycle volumes on Exhibition Street.

Importantly, logistics parking for deliveries is also a priority for the council, potentially utilising space freed up by removing private vehicle parking in the centre median.

The estimated capital cost for the project is $2.6 million which will be included in the 2019/20 council budget.

Read more about the plan in The Age

See the full report on Exhibition Street considered by City of Melbourne

Exhibition Street pop-up bike lane

Bicycle Network's pop-up bike lane on Exhibition Street showed how easy a full-time bike lane would be to install and the problems the current situation causes.

Protected bike lane
Protected bike lane

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