Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
Inner: Swanston RMIT to Melbourne University
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First Copenhagen style bike lanes in Australia
Improvements on route
Aug 07 The City of Melbourne has taken on feedback from riders and made improvements to the separated lanes in Swanston St.
There have been additional traffic islands installed near Rydges Hotel to aid the separation and stop cars parking in the lanes. "No Standing" signs have also been installed near some driveways and street entrances. This is to give drivers a clearer view of the bike lanes and reduce the chance of conflict between bikes and motor vehicles.
Stage two complete
Jul 07 The second stage of separated bike lanes on Swanston St, between the City Baths and Melb Uni, are now complete. Riders now have an uninterrupted separated lane from Grattan St to Victoria St.
From all reports we have received the riders love the improved route. To let the City of Melbourne know your thoughts on the new lanes please send them an email.
With the success of this project City of Melbourne are now keenly looking at other routes to apply this design such as St Kilda Rd, Rathdowne St, Albert St and William/Peel St to underpin their 'Quality' routes.
Stage two commences
May 07 With stage one (Swanston St from Grattan to Queensberry Streets) now complete, VicRoads and Melbourne City Council are commencing stage two (Swanston St from Victoria to Queensberry Streets and Grattan to Faraday Sts).
Residents, traders and road users have adopted the introduction of this new treatment extremely well, with only a few initial confused people unsure of how it worked. The completion of the separation, reinforced by green lanes at side streets and entryways has made this an attractive route not just to experienced riders but the new riders commuting for the first time.
Works are almost complete
Apr 07 Riders, residents and businesses have given very positive feedback about Swanston Street's new Copenhagen lanes. The southbound lanes are now complete for the stage 1 section (Grattan St to Queensbury St) and the northbound lanes should be completed just after Easter.
Work has begun
Feb 07 Construction has begun on the greatly anticipated separated bike lanes along Swanston St. Pictured (right) is the inbound east side of Swanston St. The outbound (west) side will follow.
The separator islands can be seen being put in place, and will be filled with bitumen for a flush raised surface. Cars can park to the right of these platforms (refer diagram below) allowing riders to travel with far greater confidence to the left.
Construction of stage one, between Grattan and Queensberry Streets, will be completed in March. We look forward to this exciting development and encourage you to test-ride them when open.
Bike lanes fully separated from other traffic between RMIT and Melbourne University
May 06 The Melbourne City Council has put the design of the Swanston St 'Copenhagen lanes' out to be designed by a consultant. The plans were delayed by the effort the City's traffic engineers had to put into the Commonwealth Games. Rather than risk further delay the City is getting the preliminary design done 'outside'.
We expect that the plans will go through a number of consultations as these lanes will be the first of their type. Unlike painted lanes, the construction will have to take account of issues such as drainage, disability access and heritage.
The facilities on the Copenhagen streets don't have a 'passenger door' area. This suggests that rider-passenger conflict is not a problem in Copenhagen. Motor vehicles in Australia have around 1.2 people in them on average, so the likelihood of a passenger door swinging open in front of a rider is much less on the passenger side than on the driver's side. Swanston Street has plenty of space to allow for alighting passengers on the riders level and still leave plenty of room for riders to get past.
30 Aug 05 The State Government has announced that it will fund the conversion of the on-road ‘economy’ bike lanes on Swanston Street between Victoria Street at the City Baths to Melbourne University at Faraday Street to a separated bike path between the parked cars and the footpath. The project will cost $550,000 and will be the first Copenhagen-style bicycle route in Australia.
We hope that this will be first of a number of ‘quality’ routes that will significantly increase the number of transport trips done by bicycle. The project signals a new era for our on road bicycle networks and in providing bike riding opportunities for everyone. All involved should be congratulated. The project was proposed by the City of Melbourne and funded by the Minister for Transport as part of the VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network.
The economy bike lanes have been a great success. There are more than ten times more riders on St Kilda Road for example than there were ten years ago. Research from around the world has shown that economy bike lanes reduce collisions and injuries by up to 80%. Happily the number of casualty accidents remains the same as it was a decade ago.
These Copenhagen style quality routes will work harder than the economy routes, attracting new riders and further reducing collisions and hospitalisations.
Over the last ten years Copenhagen has been able to increase the number of bicycle trips by 30% and reduce crashes by half. The share of work trips has risen by 5% to 36%. This suggests that it is realistic to see the City’s bike riding mode share go up by a similar amount. See the attached Copenhagen Bicycle Account.
The 2001 census showed that cycling to work in the City of Melbourne ranged from 2.4% from Moonee Valley to 7.5% from Yarra. See Cycling to work.
"We believe it is time for a breakthrough investment in cycling to build second generation bicycle facilities that will quickly allow the pent up demand for bike travel to take some of the load off our roads. Many people have a bike and are motivated to use it for exercise, speed, convenience and these days to dodge the rising cost of fuel," Harry Barber said.
Bicycle Network has identified twelve other key routes into the CBD including:
Rathdowne, Albert, Queensbridge and Queensberry Streets as well as the boulevards of Flemington, Royal Parade and St Kilda Road.
This small section of bicycle facility is a glimpse into tomorrow. Today the commuter tide at the moment washes 600,000 people in and out of the City of Melbourne each day. This figure is expected to double. To meet this rising demand we need to provide bike riding options for people. European experience shows that a bike lane can carry 12,000 people an hour – in this time a car lane can only carry 4,000 vehicles. Using bicycles for trips in congested parts of the city is like switching from dial up to broadband.
Trains and trams are also part of the solution as they can also deliver many people per hour down a lane. Today on many lines the train carriages are full. Trams regularly go past stops where prospective passengers are waiting, as there is no more room on the tram. A switch to public transport as envisaged by the government’s 2020 strategy will take millions and dollars and a number of years.
The interim solution is to build second generation bicycle facilities that will quickly allow the pent up demand for bike travel to take some of the load. These European style bike lanes are by contrast cheap to build and quick to install.