After years of delay, Melbourne’s most needed bike infrastructure project—separated bike lanes for St Kilda Road—gets rolling next week.
The $30.5M project will completely remake the boulevard from Linlithgow Avenue at the Arts Centre to Charnwood Avenue south of St Kilda Junction.
It will deliver wide, separated lanes along the kerb in the service lanes on both sides of most of St Kilda Road, with additional bike priority at intersections.
The project, managed by Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) will be done in a series of stages, moving along the Road section by section, reaching completion late in 2023, with the exception of the mid-section at the Domain that will be constructed separately by the ANZAC Station contractors.
The first stage between Linlithgow Avenue and Dorcas Street will be underway from now until December.
As each stage is completed it will be opened for riders to use.
MRPV said it will undertake further planning and development work for the section of St Kilda Road between the Junction and Carlisle Street, investigating the safest and most cost-effective solution for that section.
Bicycle Network CEO, Alison McCormack described the project as the best news Melbourne bike riders had received in years.
“We have waited an eternity for this project,” she said. “It is one of the most important commuter routes into the city yet the infrastructure has been primitive, resulting in too many collisions and dooring incidents.
"More than 3500 riders take this risky ride every day to get to work, and they deserve better.
“Now, with this new lane configuration they will have a rapid, stress-free trip every day, and there is no doubt many new riders will be attracted to the route and will benefit greatly from the healthy exercise.
“Bicycle Network looks forward to continuing its collaboration with MRPV to bring the project to fruition.”
The St Kilda Road Bike Lanes project will involve:
- building separated kerbside bike lanes with bike markings along St Kilda Road.
- installing coloured bike lane surfacing at conflict points, and bike boxes and bike lanterns at traffic light intersections to provide better visibility and priority movement for riders.
- modifying traffic signals to provide additional priority for riders.
- removing kerb outstands to allow for continuous bike lanes.
- resurfacing existing bike lanes to improve safety and comfort.
- construction of DDA-compliant pedestrian crossings at some key intersections.
The issues for bikes at the complex St Kilda Junction are still being worked through by the design team for the project, but major improvements are expected.
Another critical issue will be the design treatment at a number of busy apartment driveways and laneways that intersect with the kerbside bike lanes, and although these vehicles are required to give way to bikes in the lane, they too often don’t.
Bicycle Network will be providing feedback on these critical design aspects to ensure that risks are minimised.
MRPV says the project will encourage more people to take up riding, thereby easing congestion on busy St Kilda Road, reducing vehicle emissions and freeing up capacity on public transport.
It would also create stronger connections between major activity centres in Melbourne’s inner south and the CBD and create an estimated 134 direct and 182 indirect jobs during construction.
During construction, there will be changes to traffic conditions for bikes and motor vehicles.
From September until December 2022, contractors will:
- set up work areas, which will involve installation of safety fencing, barriers, bollards and site offices.
- remove the old road surface, install kerb separators and lay new asphalt.
- install new line marking and surface treatments.
Works for Stage 1 will take place between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday and 7am to 5pm, Saturdays.
Contractors will close sections of the existing bike lanes at times to strip the old road surface, place new asphalt and green surface treatments, and install the new kerb separators.
Sections of the outer traffic lanes in each direction on St Kilda Road, between Linlithgow Avenue and Dorcas Steet will also be closed
While sections of the existing bike lanes are closed, temporary bike lanes will be created nearby, and speed limits reduced with riders avoiding the need for lengthy detours.
The timing for works on Stage 2 between Toorak Road and Union Street and Stage 3 between Union Street and Charnwood Road (St Kilda Junction) will be confirmed as the project progresses.