Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
East: Main Yarra Trail - Gipps Street steps & bridge
Parks Victoria is delivering a new bridge to cross the Yarra River from south of the Abbotsford Convent to join the Main Yarra Trail at Andrews Reserve and Yarra Bend Park and avoid the Gipps Street steps.
No movement on bridge
3 February 2012 Bicycle network Victoria has been following up on this project and remains concerned that a state of inaction appears to have hold of the bridge. Neither Parks Victoria nor DES or the Minister's office appears to know the status of the project. Yarra City Council were also none the wiser. The ridge was recommited to by the Baillieu Government last July and is slated to proceed in the 2012/13 financial year however the project will require a vast amount of detailed design and consultation before a sod can be turned. We will keep you updated as we learn more
Cadel clamour spurs bridge action
28 July 2011. The urgently needed - but slow in coming - bike and pedestrian bridge across the Yarra at Abbotsford has been re-committed by the Baillieu government, but it will be built a year later than expected. Read the article here.
The announcement suddenly emerged after Cadel Evan’s mother, Helen Cocks, who regularly rides to work, called for action on the project.
The Age newspaper, which had been following up rumours that the project had been dropped, was told by government sources late on Tuesday that it was going ahead.
This is welcome news for riders on the route as the steps at Gipps Street were recognized as a blight on Melbourne’s reputation as a bike friendly city.
But the decision has some puzzling aspects. The current year’s state budget already had an allocation of several million for this project for design, project management and construction through the Parks Asset and Replacement Program, administered by Parks Victoria.
What has happened to that funding? If this spending has been deferred this means that the Government’s investment in bike infrastructure has been reduced this year, without any public announcement to that effect.
Clearly some work has been going on with the project as thee cost estimate has risen to $4.3M.
Building the bridge has been a career ambition for local member, Richard Wynne, who has welcomed the government’s announcement.
Ministers commit $4.1M for Gipps Bridge
18 August 2010. State Ministers Gavin Jennings and Richard Wynne have confirmed total funding of $4.1 million for the design and construction the new Gipps St/Clarke St Bridge across the Yarra.
The sum includes the $2.8 million included in this year's budget. (see below)
The total amount is expected to be sufficient to deliver the complete project. Riders and walkers can now start counting down the days until the bridge is open and the notorious steps are gone.
Minister Jennings said: “The bridge will be an alternative to the existing bridge and cross the river just to the south of the Abbotsford Convent.
“Melbourne’s extensive network of shared trails creates fantastic recreational opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians and contributes to our status as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
“Today’s funding announcement will allow for detailed design and construction of the bridge and is in addition to more than $1.2 million already committed to the planning and consultation.”
Mr Jennings said the new bridge would be located to the north of the existing steps and local communities would be consulted on how the bridge will look.
“The structural elements of the bridge will be determined by engineering requirements but the community will have a say on the aesthetics of the bridge design,” Mr Jennings said.
He said further planning and design work will be completed over the next twelve months with construction due to commence in the second half of 2011.
There will be further updates as Parks Victoria undertakes detailed design work in the coming months.
A number of Bicycle Network Victoria members were able to attend the event this week, where the two connected a ribbon across the Yarra to symbolise the future bridge. Thanks to those that defied the Melbourne winter and demonstrated their ongoing support for the project.
The text of the Government's announcement is here.
Gipps Street steps rise on budget
5 May 2010. The Gipps-Clark Street bridge took a big step up in yesterday's Victorian Budget with the announcement that the project is fully funded.
The $2.5M project, including design, project management and construction, will be funded through the Parks Asset and Replacement Program, administered by Parks Victoria.
There were concerns that the available funding would not be sufficient to complete the bridge after the project failed to secure funding from the Federal Government's Jobs Fund.
Attention can now be focused on completing the detailed design of the bridge, securing all the necessary planning and building permits, and getting construction underway.
More information about the expected start, and more importantly finish, and dates of construction will be poster here as it becomes available.
Securing the necessary funding to move forward has been Bicycle Network Victoria's behind the scenes focus during the past months.
Today is a great day for all riders, especially those in Melbourne's inner east, with this important step forward on a very high priority project.
Richmond MP Richard Wynne has been a steadfast champion of this project. Please offer your thanks to Minister Wynne and to Minister Jennings for coming through with the funding necessary to make this bridge a reality. Click here to send them both an e-mail.
Gipps Street Steps close to design solution
7 August 2009. The City of Yarra, working in concert with Parks Victoria, is near to selecting a preferred design of the proposed bridge that will banish the reviled Gipps Street steps from the route of the Main Yarra Trail.
The working design, as drawn in the artist's concept below, will consist of a fixed, level bridge crossing the Yarra River just south of Clarke Street, Abbotsford near the Convent and Collingwood Children's Farm.
The project is near to being ready to submit the appropriate planning permits, and assuming smooth approvals, should be under construction by 2010.
The project may be able to take advantage of funding from the Federal Government's Jobs Fund, as an application for the dollars is pending.
There has been a noticeable lack of announcements of any successful applications of significance since the launch of the program eariler this year.
Gipps Street Steps solution makes a move
20 November 2008. Minister Gavin Jennings has announced the Metropolitan Trail Network funding program for 2008/09.
Amongst this list is $150,000 awarded to the City of Yarra to design a bridge crossing the Yarra River adjacent to Clark St and act to bypass the Gipps St steps. This much anticipated issue on the trail will be very welcome to the many recreational riders already using the path but should produce a growth in commuting riders once the path is transformed into a more practical route in the inner east.
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Gipps St Steps in the news
Jul 07 On July 17 the Melbourne Leader had a story on finding a solution for the Gipps St steps. Click here (PDF 96KB) to read.
100 cyclists show their support for an alternative trail
Dec 05 On Wednesday morning, 14 December 2005 Bicycle Network Victoria and Richard Wynne, Member for Richmond, handed out free Emma & Tom's juice to aprroximately 100 cyclists including the Mayor of the City of Yarra, Jackie Fristacky. The cyclists were happy to recieve a juice after climbing the 41 steps on the Main Yarra Trail near Gipps Street in Abbotsford as part of their morning commute. The flyer is attached.
Cyclists climbing the steps were pleased to hear that the City of Yarra and the State Government are to spend $100,000 on the design of the alternative route for the Main Yarra Trail. The most common question from cyclists was 'When will the new trail be finished?'Richard Wynne conveyed his hopes that the trail can be finished within two years.
You can show your support for the project to Minister Thwaites at email@example.com and Richard Wynne at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to send a copy (bcc) to email@example.com.
Design funding announced
Oct 05 After Bicycle Network Victoria members wrote over 500 letters earlier this year, Minister Thwaites has announced a new fund for the Metropolitan Trail Network (MTN). Funding for the MTN now meets the state government’s 2002 election promise; however more money will be needed to fund critical projects.
The new fund will provide $50,000 towards detailed design and documentation for a connection between Walmer St and Gipps St. The City of Yarra will also provide $50,000 for the detailed design and documentation.
While the funding of the design is a commendable step, current government funding will not be able to build this multi-million dollar connection. A commitment of significant additional funding will be required within the next year to ensure the delivery of this project.
We believe that increasing the Metropolitan Trail Network annual funding to five million dollars could deliver this and other important projects on the trail network.
The development of the new fund provides all trail users with an opportunity to thank Minister Thwaites for developing the MTN fund and to thank member for Richmond Richard Wynne for his support of the Gipps St to Walmer St project.
The Main Yarra Trail between the Walmer St bridge in Richmond (Melway 2H F2) and Collins Bridge at Gipps St in Abbotsford is of poor quality and requires a long hill climb in Yarra Bend Park and dangerous entry points to bridges (a cyclist suffered paraplegia as a result of hitting a bollard).
At Gipps St a staircase takes trail users down to river level but restricts access to the trail for families with trailers or child seats on the bike, tandems, recumbants and anyone unable to carry their bike up or down the staircase.
Frail walkers and wheelchairs users are also prevented from using the trail.
We want to see the steps eliminated by continuing the trail along the bank at river level behind the CUB brewery to Walmer St.
The City of Yarra is investigating an alternative alignment of the trail which would involve continuing the trail on the Abbotsford side around the back of the CUB brewery (see Melway 2D C12).
This would not only eliminate the steep steps but also the steep climb on the Boroondara side of the river.
In February 2005 we met with Richard Wynne, Member for Richmond, in order to gain state govenment support for the project.
Richard is familiar with the steps and reports that his family also struggles to carry their bikes up or down. We have also written to Yarra City Councillors about the project.