New roadblock for Melbourne bike lanes
- Melbourne City Council has built close to 19 kilometres of new bike lanes in and around the CBD over the past two years, and made more than 100 changes to the design based on public feedback.
- Bikes account for about 7 per cent of trips in the city and the council expects that to rise to 30 per cent by 2030.
- Private cars account for one-third of trips into the city, but 60 per cent of street space is allocated to motor vehicles.
The City of Melbourne’s bicycle lane rollout has been delayed again, after the Department of Transport expressed concerns over how bike lanes would affect other traffic on two major corridors leading into the CBD from the city’s north.
Melbourne paused its bike lane blitz within the Hoddle Grid in June after a backlash from some businesses and residents, who said the lanes restricted deliveries, increased congestion and made it difficult to park cars.
A woman rides on the separated new bike lane on Exhibition Street.Credit:Paul Jeffers
The council said it would prioritise upgrades on busy corridors leading into the city instead. But the Department of Transport has now tapped the brakes on new lanes planned for Grattan Street in Carlton and southbound on Royal Parade, Parkville, over concerns they will affect other vehicles.
A spokeswoman for the department said it had asked the City of Melbourne for more information about the proposed lanes, including how they will affect traffic on the roads.
The City of Melbourne notified residents near Royal Parade in May that it would soon start work on the lanes, but wrote again in late June saying it had been delayed to “ensure additional community feedback is considered in the design”.
Work on Royal Parade and Grattan Street was originally to start in late 2021. By March this year, the council’s website advised the work had been pushed back to “early 2022” and is now forecast for “2022-23″.
A spokeswoman for Roads Minister Ben Carroll said the government was following “standard procedure” by reviewing and seeking more information about how the council’s plans might affect other road users.
“We always seek to balance the needs of motorists, local businesses, the freight industry, public transport passengers, pedestrians and cyclists,” she said.
The City of Melbourne’s long-term planning documents outline a strategy to make the city “less car-dependent” and prioritise what it says are the most efficient forms of transport: walking, cycling and using public transport.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the council would keep working with the state government to upgrade key arterial paths.
“Bike lanes save lives and improve safety for all road users,” Capp said.
Transport Workers Union state secretary Mike McNess welcomed the state’s intervention and said more consultation was needed with other road users and businesses to find a “sensible way forward” on the city’s bike strategy.
“With the position of the bike lanes … our members now are finding it more and more difficult to make their deliveries,” McNess said. “It’s important that deliveries are made and they’re made safely – we want all those parties to be safe.”
Greens councillor Rohan Leppert said Department of Transport approvals were the biggest bottleneck delaying the rollout and said Carroll should “direct his department to overcome this inertia and get a wriggle on”.
The City of Melbourne has built almost 19 kilometres of new bike lanes in and around the CBD over the past two years and made more than 100 changes to the design based on public feedback.
Bikes account for about 7 per cent of trips in the city and the council expects that to rise to 30 per cent by 2030.
Four out of every 10 cars that drive into the Hoddle Grid are using the CBD as a thoroughfare, the council says. Private cars account for a third of trips into the city, but 60 per cent of street space is allocated to motor vehicles.
Get to the heart of what’s happening with climate change and the environment. Our fortnightly Environment newsletter brings you the news, the issues and the solutions. Sign up here.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article