Construction works to fix a missing link in Melbourne’s protected bike lane network will start this month, with protected bike lanes being introduced along Exhibition Street between Flinders and Bourke streets.
Exhibition Street is a key bike route connecting northern suburbs like Carlton and Fitzroy to the central city and the river trails to the south.
The Stage One upgrade will see 900 metres of continuous protected bike lanes installed to replace the existing painted peak period-only bike lanes, and address sections of road where there are currently no bike lanes.
New motorcycle parking bays will be introduced in the centre of the road, as well as 19 new bike parking hoops near Little Collins Street.
The streetscape will be improved with 17 new trees planted along the footpaths. However, due to Stage 4 restrictions on tree planting, these trees will not be planted until the autumn 2021 planting season. The works will also include the removal of two existing centre of road trees between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street. These trees are in poor condition and will be replaced by seven new trees with improved growing conditions.
Stage Two of the project will commence in 2021, and will see protected bike lanes installed between Bourke and La Trobe streets, as well as new expanded forecourt areas in front of the Comedy Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The full project will see a net increase of 53 trees along Exhibition Street.
The new bike lanes will connect to Melbourne’s existing bike lane network as part of a corridor between Carlton North and the Yarra River-Birrarung. This project will provide a safe, efficient, sustainable transport alternative that will support physical distancing and get the city moving again when restrictions are eased.
Attributable to City of Melbourne Chief Executive Officer Justin Hanney:
“We are strongly encouraging people to ride into the city as restrictions ease, it’s a great choice for health, the environment and traffic congestion. We know from our community and from data that people were actively avoiding riding along Exhibition Street due to safety concerns.
This is one of the most important routes for cycling into the city from both the north and the south, but is currently unsafe, with sections of the street without any bike lane facility whatsoever.
We are pleased to be making a start on boosting safety and rider confidence so we can welcome lots of new riders as restrictions ease and workers return to the city. This will help create space on public transport and on our roads for those who can’t ride.”