Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
Inner: La Trobe St
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Latrobe St is a major entry route into and through the CBD. The long planned separated bike lane is finally a reality.
La Trobe goes south-side
4 April 2013. The new separated bike lane on La Trobe Street is half finished and work has now started on lane installation along the south side of the street, starting at Victoria Street and heading block-by-block west to Spencer Street.
The work is slightly behind schedule, but the construction team expected to make up time in the next two months and finish on schedule.
The first stage is Victoria to Russell, then Russel to Elizabeth, then Elizabeth to William and finally William to Spencer.
The block at Melbourne Central could take a little longer as the footpath is being widened and the pedestrian crossing improved to take account of the increasing numbers of commuters at the station.
(The footpath was originally narrowed to allow for coach parking for the Japanese tourist that were expected to flock to the Daimaru Department Store, which was the key tenant in the development. Melbourne is still waiting for those buses to turn up.)
Work is virtually complete on the opposite side of La Trobe and riders now have a largely unfettered route from the west to the east of the CBD.
As riders will have discovered, the lane is not 100 per cent separated along its length—curb-side parking has popped up in some surprising places.
Riders were also not-so-surprised to see vehicles illegally parked and totally blocking the bike lane itself as some of the first sections of the project were opened to bikes. It must have been difficult to manoeuvre a vehicle into such a position, but they managed it!
There will inevitably be confusion during a project like this. Parking signs have to be changed, but they can be until the lines are marked. And the lines can't be marked until any re-sheeting the road is completed. And the re-sheeting can't be done until the bike lane is in. So riders need to show some patience in the early stages.
The green paint will be the the last step in the project.
La Trobe lanes launched
23 January 2013. Construction of the La Trobe Street bike lane project—the biggest bike infrastructure boost in the city this year—starts next Tuesday.
The $2.4M build will provide a physically separated east-west bike route the length of the city from Spencer Street to Victoria Street.
Work will be sequenced two blocks at a time, starting on the north side of La Trobe between Spencer and William.
The project will be completed by mid-year.
During construction there will be no car parking along the works area and the existing bike lane will be unavailable.
Riders who usually use the route will have to share the road through the construction zone with motor vehicles, or seek alternative routes.
Motorists may be bamboozled by the changed road environment and their behaviour could be more unpredictable than usual, so riders should exercise care.
The La Trobe Street bikes lanes are one of the key bike infrastructure developments for the city, long identified as a high priority by transport authorities.
The final designs have been developed after extensive consultation to ensure that the route meets the needs of the increasing volumes of riders as well as improving the amenity of local businesses and residents.
Because La Trobe Street varies in width, the bike path design will also vary slightly. Mostly it will be a two-metre lane next to the footpath, separated from parked cars and moving traffic by a one-metre island.
The design reduces the risk of dooring as well as providing separation from traffic.
Two lanes of traffic will be maintained on the approach to all major intersections to facilitate traffic flow. Green lane treatment will be used as crossings and conflict points.
Work will be completed on the north side of the street first with each block taking about two weeks. When the north side of the street is finished, work will start on the south side of the street at Victoria Street and head west.
The council is taking advantage of the construction to make other improvements such as drainage and tree planting. These are included in the total cost of the project.
La Trobe lane liked by lots
5 July 2012. Melbourne City's plan for kerb-side separated bike lanes has won overwhelming support from riders and other stakeholders, according to a council survey of reaction to the proposals.
Consequently Melbourne Councillors have voted unanimously to proceed with Bicycle Network's preferred option, Option 2a. Special mention was made of the scores of members who wrote in support.
The extensive consultation report involving a letter campaign, door knocking, fact sheets and on site face displays, a website for residents, traders and major stakeholders has been completed.
The detailed report is available here.
Most important aspects of bicycle lane design
Cyclists, non-cyclists and property owners/business operators indicated that providing separation between cyclists and car doors/moving traffic the most important consideration in relation to making the street bicycle-friendly.
All of these groups were consistent in rating the flow of vehicle traffic as the second most important factor. The provision of on-street parking was generally considered the least important factor. Cost was not considered a high priority for the respondents.
This was in sharp contrast to the RACV who supported the retention of two traffic lanes, cutting back the footpath and the substantial $14.3 million price tag for their proposed Option 2b.
Regardless, the arrival of future tram super stops will mean one traffic lane on Latrobe street is an inevitability.
The key issues identified in the survey were:
- Option 2a – the installation of physically separated bicycle lanes and removal of the existing clearways – received the greatest support from the community and key stakeholders
- The vast majority (96 per cent) of the adjacent businesses and properties supported or had no specific objection to the options
- Traffic modelling predicts that the installation of Option 2a and removal of clearways will not significantly increase traffic congestion, travel times or queues along La Trobe Street in the peak periods. Any traffic impacts can be resolved by VicRoads making minor adjustments to the operation of the traffic signals at the intersection of La Trobe Street and Victoria Street
- Option 2a enables future tram platform stops to be installed along La Trobe Street.
Detailed design will now start with construction due to begin this (2012/13) financial year. Melbourne City Council staff are to be commended for their diligence and leaving no stone unturned throughout the design and consultation process.
Combined with an overwhelming community support, Councilors can be assured their $5.6 million 2012/13 bike budget was not a risky move but merely a welcome reflection of what the community expects now and into th future.
New bike lanes a boon for city workers
16 April 2012. Plans for a complete bike lane the length of La Trobe Street will be a boon for the thousands of workers now taking a bike to work.
The announcement by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle that the City of Melbourne would make a significant investment in the new facility is a recognition that the bikes are now critical to the future growth of the CBD economy as increasing numbers of workers prefer to commute by bike.
The Lord Mayor and the council are to be congratulated for their foresight, Bicycle Network CEO, Harry Barber said.
“Melbourne’s CBD is an economic powerhouse and a huge generator of jobs, so if we are to improve access for workers, managers and students our best option is to complete the bicycle network into the city.
“La Trobe Street is a high priority and the major east-‐west route for bike riders into the CBD and these announced improvements will open up the choice of bike commuting to many more city workers,” Mr Barber said.
The route is on the State Government’s official principle bicycle network and has been previously identified in city transport plans as an ideal street for the installation of bike facilities. It draws in riders from the Docklands path in the west and Rathdowne Street to the north. Along the way it links three busy bike routes: Swanston, Elizabeth and William Streets.
Mr Barber said the option of kerbside lanes that would separate bikes from traffic would be the wisest choice by the council, ensuring high rider numbers and low risk of road conflict.
La Trobe Street bike lanes—have your say
The City of Melbourne has launched an on-line survey to give bike rides a say on the options for new bike lanes on La Trobe Street.
Two options propose separated bike lanes to the left of parked cars while the other two propose green treatment bike lanes to the right of parked cars.
You can complete this short online survey about your experience of La Trobe Street and the proposed design options.
The La Trobe Street bike lane was first included in the City of Melbourne's bicycle plan in 2007.
The width of the street means that a proper, separated bike lane can be installed along with one traffic lane and one parking lane. The parking lane would be a clearway in peak periods.
Four options are considered by the City as viable for development and installation in La Trobe Street.
Four options under consideration
Details of each option, including concept design, cost estimates and advantages/disadvantages are provided in this document.
Option 1: Two-Tier Footpath / Kerbside Bike Lane
Option 2: Physical Separated Bike Lane – eg Swanston Street North
Option 3: Standard Bike Lane
Option 4: Standard Bike Lane with Chevron Separator on both sides
Options 1 and 2 place the bicycle lane to the left of parked vehicles while Options 3 and 4 place the lane to the right of parked vehicles.
A report detailing the outcomes of the consultation will be presented in June 2012.
The council has undertaken preliminary consultation with a number of parties.
RACV is reported to have favoured Option 2, but with a variation of narrowing the footpath so that two traffics lanes can be permanently installed on the street. However it is unlikely that any case for expanding road capacity in the CBD can be argued as all of central Melbourne's transport policy settings are to reduce discretionary car travel and its destructive effects on the city's economy.
VicRoads supports the installation of a bike lane on the street, but has expressed concerns about any reduction in traffic capacity, especially in peak periods.
However, La Trobe Street is both a public transport route and a top priority bike route on the VicRoads Principle Bicycle Network, and under the Government's Smarts Roads policy public transport and bikes will have priority.
The council report says La Trobe Street is a critical east-west CBD bypass bicycle route connecting heavily used Docklands and Carlton bicycle lanes/paths as well as providing connection to/from CBD streets.
All other east-west streets in the Central City’s Hoddle Grid have major constraints which significantly limit the installation of formal bicycle lane facilities.
The council argues that traffic congestion would be relatively unchanged under the options which retain the clearways, including the recommended Option 2a.
City of Melbourne Statement
Bike lanes proposed for a safer La Trobe Street
Friday, 13 April 2012
A plan to install new bike lanes along the length of La Trobe Street will seek to make the popular thoroughfare safer for cyclists, drivers, pedestrians and public transport users.
Four design options for new bike lanes will be put to Councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting with the public encouraged to provide their feedback during a four-week community consultation period.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said Council aimed to make Melbourne a great walking, cycling and public transport city and investing in the bicycle network was a key priority.
He said the proposed designs would greatly improve connectivity and safety for cyclists, creating consistent and clear travel routes for bike riders and other road users.
“We have a network for cars, pedestrians and public transport but what we don’t have yet is a congruent network for bicycles which can sit side by side with these other networks,” the Lord Mayor said.
“More than 11 per cent of all vehicles travelling into the central city every morning are bikes and we have 120km of bike lanes to accommodate them. We need to further expand and strengthen the bicycle network to make it safer and easier for more people to access.”
Eco City Councillor Cathy Oke said Council wanted to hear from the public and stakeholders about their experience of La Trobe Street and their thoughts on which of the four options would best meet their travel needs.
“La Trobe Street is the obvious choice for a strong east-west connection for bike riders in the central city as it will connect with bike lanes on Harbour Esplanade, Swanston Street and Rathdowne Street,” Cr Oke said.
“Any improvements we make to our streets are about creating safe, convenient and sustainable travel options so people can get around our great city with ease.”
Extensive research was undertaken into the operation of La Trobe Street to assist in the development of the four design options. Two options propose separated bike lanes to the left of parked cars while the other two propose green treatment bike lanes to the right of parked cars.
Once Council has endorsed the designs for consultation, the public will have the opportunity to provide their feedback.
Latrobe St targeted by State
March 2010 Latrobe St has been identified as a priority project under the $38Billion Victorian Transport Plan, as outlined in the Victorian Cycling Strategy. The strategy states, "Improve bicycle facilities along William Street and Latrobe Street as primary routes into and through the CBD."
Latrobe St has abundant space with the majority of its length being a single vehicle lane. It could be cost effectively upgraded and provide a separated facility by using the Swanston Street north or Albert Street designs.
LaTrobe St Lane removed
Aug 05 There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the removal of a section of bike lane between William Street and King Street on the southern side of La Trobe Street in the CBD. Bicycle Network has contacted the City of Melbourne regarding the removal along this busy cycling route and has been informed that they are currently looking at installing a ‘Clearway’ type lane to restore continuity to this route.
If you would like to meet other cyclists in Melbourne visit the Melbourne BUG website for contact details and BUG meeting times.
CBD bike lanes
Apr 05 We have been campaigning for a number of years for safe and attractive routes in and through the CBD (rather than petering out at the edge of the city centre).
The City of Melbourne has taken the first step by installing new bike lanes on William St, and Latrobe St. Although most only operate during clearway times, it is an important first step in getting facilities for cyclists in the CBD.
Bourke St and Elizabeth St have had 'shoulders' installed to provide a channel for cyclists to use between the parked cars and the travel lane.
We hope this is the first step towards making Melbourne a world class cycling city. Council needs to continue to plan and build for cycling by filling the major gaps in the city's off-road path network.
Closing gaps on the on-road cycling network and upgrading important routes leading into the city.