Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
West: Westgate Link
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- Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne
This is a critical missing link for riders on the Bay Trail in Williamstown wanting to get into the CBD via the Maribyrnong River Trail or the Footscray Road Trail
Carbon fibre bridge fix to wrap
10 November 2010. The project to strengthen the Westgate Bridge with carbon fibre is wrapping up, but not before more annoying closures of the Hyde Street bike path in Spotswood.
Hyde Street is closed to all traffic from 4 November - 27 November between 9.30 - 2.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 6am - 1pm on Saturdays. A shuttle flow will also be in place between 7pm - 5.30am from 6 November - 16 November.
A fully signed detour route is in place for cyclists, who are being urged to plan their journey ahead during the closures. The detours are far from satisfactory and have been the subject of a string of complaints.
The closures will enable the movement of large platforms underneath the bridge that are being used to apply carbon fibre to the underside of the structure strengthening.
The platforms have been in place under the bridge since June 2010. When the work is complete by 27 November, the platforms will be lowered and removed, and bike path will be back to normal.
Hyde Street closed Friday
27 May 2010. Hyde Street, Spotswood, where the bike trail passes underneath the West Gate Bridge, will be close on Friday.
The closure is part of the West Gate Bridge Strengthening Project.
Hyde Street will be closed from 10am - 4pm Friday 28 May 2010.
No alternative routes have been notified.
Westgate Link completed
4 November 2009 The Westgate Link is now complete and, on the whole, is a good result given some challenging locations. Unfortunately, despite Bicycle Network Victoria strongly expressing our concerns during the design process, some elements are a substandard result and will need to be fixed in future.
The path now provides an offroad route from the Bay Trail under the Westgate bridge up to the Footscray rd path at Shephard bridge at the Maribyrnong River.
The Hyde St section between the Westgate Bridge and Francis St adjacent to the refinery is substandard, with trees on one side and a fence on the other. At 1.8-2.0m wide path users will struggle with undue conflict.
Despite VicRoads having revised the minimum shared path guidelines, after the Coroners Inquest recommendation after a rider's death, to 2.5m wide and Bicycle Network Victoria voicing our opposition to this alignment (refer below) the end result is there for all to see. Longer term there is an opportunity on the western side of Hyde Street for a beter result as part of the Truck Action Plan (refer Federation Trail).
The path between Francis and Somerville St now includes new bike lanterns at the Francis St intersection. 2.5-3.0m path. This section is generally acceptable with crossings of side streets done with 'wombats' (at grade crossings) and coloured treatments at entryways. These coloured treatments may not stand up over time as Maribyrnong Council did not want them done in the usual green substrate due to maintenance cost concerns.
The Somerville Rd section is very poor; basically a centre line painted down the centre of the existing sub-2.0m footpath. This section will need to be revisited as rider volumes expose the weakness in this section.
The signalised crossing of Whitehall St may need to be tweaked as the call up time is long and during peak times will be a major frustration.
The path section between Somerville St and Shephards Bridge is mainly of a good standard with a few small elements which may need tweaking over time. The local Cafe seems to be confused about the path and some poles and parking ticket machines will need to be moved away from the path also.
On the whole a good result which, over time, will get better and provide a much needed link in the network. As the Federation Trail missing link gets completed the rider numbers and thus need to review this path will be required.
Hyde, Sommerville and Whitehall sections opening soon
28 August 2009 Construction is nearing completion and we have been informed the path will be opened in the very near future. We will report on the finished product and review it for you.
Detailed designs fail to deliver
01 Dec 2008 VicRoads have completed the detailed design work to complete the Westgate Link, between Stony Creek Backwash and the Footscray Rd path. The state government committed $3.7M to this project, reflecting how important this link is percieved in the network. Unfortunately VicRoads chose not to consult with Bicycle Network Victoria during the design process and the project has progressed with a sub par result now put forward. We have recently met with the delivery team to try and salvage the design to one which riders will feel confident using and thus justify the $3.7M investment.
Unfortunately the proposed design is well below par and does not reflect the importance of this link, not only to the direct south but in future to the Federation Trail. Particular elements of concern are summarised below.
VicRoads CycleNotes No.3 talks about path width and says "The AustRoads 'Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice, Part 14 - Bicycles', provides critreria for selecting path widths of between 2.0 and 4.0 metres. The criteria are based on the operating envelope of path users, and clearances between path the users when passing. Two metre wide paths should only be adopted in areas with very low use. Three metre wide paths are the desirable minimum, with wider paths being required in areas of higher usage.
Click on the image (left) to see these criteria in more detail
We have recently met with the project team to share our concerns and asked that the proposed design be reviewed.
The section of path adjacent to Hyde St, south of Francis St, proposes to use the existing footpath. At only 2.1 metres wide with a fence on one side and trees immediately adjacent, this section is not of an acceptable standard. We have asked VicRoads to investigate placing the path between the trees and the curb.
This would require using some roadspace and moving the curb out; given the road width is 14.7 metres this is very acheivable whilst still maintaining two vehicle lanes in both directions. This has been done in many other locations such as Mickleham Rd and the Bay Trail.
The section of path along the south side of Somerville St proposes a 2.0 metre wide path using the existing footpath.
Apart from the two sections mentioned above, the balance of the design is of a good standard. We believe that the significance of the route and the large investment being made should result in a better outcome and we will be speaking with the project team again to ensure a strong outcome for riders.
05 Jun 08 The Port Corporation has wasted no time in commencing the path construction. As part of a joint agreement with other stakeholders the Port Corporation of Melbourne agreed to use a 5 metre portion of land along their Whitehall St boundary. They have been busy over recent times demolishing existing structures on the site due for future redevelopments relating to expansion of the Port.
The path as shown looks to be of a high quality with sawcut joins, 3m wide and with good lines of sight. We expect detailed design of the remainder of the path led by VicRoads and Maribyrnong Council to commence in the near future.
And one more thing...
21 May 08 Bicycle Network Victoria has learnt that the recent $28.8M 'Keeping Melbourne Moving' funding announcement as reported (below) not only includes the WestGate Link from the Stony Creek Backwash up to the Shepherd Bridge (on Footscray Rd) but will also include widening the path over the bridge itself.
The photo shows riders inbound in the early morning. There is not much room for someone coming the other way.
This is great news for riders coming crossing the bridge to and from the west. The 2008 Super Tuesday counts showed 582 riders used the bridge in the 7-9am peak and is a major deterrent to current and new riders who would like to ride to work or explore the area on the weekend. A detailed design will be commissioned shortly and we will report back to you as we hear more.
Funding announced for the Westgate Link
10 May 08 In response to Premier Brumby's January congestion roundtable, the State Government has announced $28.8M (out of a total $112.6M) of new funding over four years as a short term response to strengthen the Bike Network and help ease congestion within 10km of the Melbourne CBD. The 'Westgate Link'; was named as one of the projects in this announcement. We are still waiting on the decision about the preferred route.
View Larger Map
Jan 08 The consultants have recommended Hyde St, Somerville Rd and Whitehall St in Yarraville as the preferred route. The Port of Melbourne Authority may be able to help by allowing a long section to be built on their land and will allow riders to cycle on a path away from the busy truck traffic. Maribyrnong Council, VicRoads, Parks Victoria and Bicycle Network Victoria are in the final stages of choosing the best route and designing and costing the path. If all goes well, we’ll be riding a new path by Christmas 2008.
Options now being considered.
Aug 07 Consultants have provided a shortlist of options to VicRoads, Maribyrnong Council, Parks Victoria and the Port of Melbourne Authority. It looks like some land owned by Port of Melbourne could be utilsed to enable a high quality off road link between the Bay Tail in Williamstown and the Footscray Road Trail.
Details are currently being discussed by the relevent parties; if this option can be decided on soon we could see construction starting in 2008. Click on email me updates above to stay up to date.
Study to Identify Solution
Dec 06 Maribyrnong Council and the Port of Melbourne Corporation have recently agreed on the scope and funding for a study to identify the best solution for this difficult missing link (see below for details).
This is a big step forward and should lead to a solution being identified and costed early in the new year. Stay in touch with the project and the consultation process by clicking on 'email me updates' above.
Sep 06 There is currently a critical missing link for riders on the Bay Trail in Williamstown wanting to get to the Maribyrnong River Trail or the Footscray Road Trail into the CBD.
While there are some on-road bike lanes for more experienced riders, there is no continuous off-road trail. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this missing link.
Firstly, it is difficult to find a suitable alignment for a trail. There are many issues here including the fact that the riverfront is an operating port, the major roads in the area carry large freight vehicles, and there is little excess space adjacent to the roads for off road trails.
Secondly, the different types of riders (recreational and commuter) that will use this route need different types of facilities. For example, while it may be appropriate to improve existing bike lanes and enhance bicycle priority at intersections for commuter riders these facilities will not suit the potentially large number of recreational riders. Conversely, an indirect off road path that may be appropriate for recreational riders will not be used by many commuter riders.
Thirdly, there are a large number of stakeholders each with their own needs and priorities. These include Maribyrnong and Hobson's Bay Councils, VicRoads, Parks Victoria, Port of Melbourne Authority, and Sports and Recreation Victoria.
While the project is complex we are pleased that most of the stakeholders are committed to closing this missing link for all riders and, while progress is slow, the project is moving forward. We are hopeful that a solution will be agreed upon within the next six months (early 2007).
The trial of a commuter punt was conducted in late 2005 and early 2006. While the trial did not attract enough riders to continue, it did highlight the need for the the closing of the missing link between the Stoney Creek backwash and Footscray Road. For more on the Commuter Punt Trial click here.