Changes at Yarra Trail underpass

The main Yarra Trail underpass at the Swan Street Bridge will get some safety tweaks, starting next week.

The City of Melbourne is making some minor modifications to the underpass to make it a little more comfortable for bike riders and pedestrians, especially during peak periods when it can be very busy.

The works will mean a temporary closure of the underpass from Monday 30 September until Friday 15 November.

Works will be from 9am-4pm on weekdays and 7am-4pm on weekends.

During works, bikes will be diverted to cross Swan Street at the signalised intersection. See map below.

Riders will welcome the improvements, even though they are modest.

The underpass was never up to standard, and when the opportunity came to bring it up to standard during the recent bridge widening, VicRoads Major Projects fell at the first hurdle.

Although the bridge project resulted in an ugly 12 month detour for a massive number of riders, and although there was a feasible plan to properly widen the underpass, the opportunity was ignored, riders were given the finger, and the problem handed back to the City of Melbourne.

As an interim measure, Melbourne City will slightly widen the path, improve the surface, install bike-safe handrails, improve sight lines, grades and alignment and provide precedence for path users along the Trail at the junctions.

The measures don’t increase the capacity of the underpass, but will reduce risk.

Riders will however still need to be cautious after the re-opening, especially as pedestrians can suddenly loom into view.

As the trail continues to increase in popularity, there will at some point need to be a proper widening of the underpass to bring it up to standard.

What is Stapley Parade?

You might notice on the detour map that what most people know as the Main Yarra Trail is labelled the 'Stapley Parade' path.

While the path runs alongside Batman Avenue and under the Swan Street Bridge, Stapley Parade Reserve was the original name for the park area now known as Birrarung Marr. There are still some granite drinking fountains in the area with 'Stapley Parade' written on them.

Stapley Parade was named after Frank Stapley, a Melbourne Lord Mayor and architect whose most well-known work is the Gardiner Stand at Carlton's Princes Park.

An article about Stapley published in the Australian Dictionary of Biography was written by David Dunstan, the son of Keith Dunstan, who was the first president of the Bicycle Institute of Victoria, which eventually became Bicycle Network.

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