Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
Inner: NorthBank Viaduct
An exciting opportunity for bikes to circumnavigate the CBD and avoid the conflict along existing paths along Southbank and Northbank, connect Docklands to the Main Yarra Trail and relieve congestion in the inner area
Station design competition deflating for bikes
23 July 2013 Major Projects Victoria has released the six selected entrants' concepts in the Flinders Street design competition; and bikes are largely nowhere to be seen.
You can view the designs here. Our critique of each design is outlined below. Unfortunately they all score poorly from a bike perspective.
We encourage you to vote and give constructuve feedback in the comments field.
Soon after the competition was announced we spoke with DTPLI and outlined the importance of this precinct for the cycling network. We were told that it would be included as criteria in the designer briefing. We presume that the entrants were also told of the State Government's Station User design guidelines. The competition was a closed process thus there was no opportunity to approach competitiors. Only one entrant contacted us for our input on the implications for bikes.
The public voting criteria mentions, "Urban Design & Precinct Integration. How does it connect with surrounding areas? The station needs to connect with its neighbours, including the CBD, the Yarra River, Federation Square, Southbank, and the western end of the site. The design needs to improve the way Melbourne fits together." On this criteria it is clear to Bicycle Network that the designers have missed the brief.
In summary, from a cycling perspective, a huge opportunity has been missed with these designs. They appear to be rather insular in scope with little if any connectivity to the surrounding network. In many cases cycling would actually go backwards as a result.
- The riverfront bike movements have been addressed by one design (Zaha Hadid Architecture & BVN Architecture).
All of the designs would kill off the Veloway opportunity
- The Swanston Street north-south cycling movements do not appear in the designs.
- There appears to have been minimal thought put into Flinders Street trams, pedestrian and bike movements.
- Only one design (HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron) has considered north-south movements in any form.
- A bike path under the station through the old western concourse links cycle ways on the river and Elizabeth Street.
This underpass may serve low demand movements.
- Only one design (Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina) proposes bike parking.
Not building out waterfront path but no delineated path. No Veloway consideration. Retains easterly riverfront connectivity only.
Our Score 2/10
HASSELL + Herzog & de Meuron
Not building out waterfront path but no delineated path. No Veloway consideration.
A bike path under the station through the old western concourse links cycle ways on the river and Elizabeth Street.
Retains easterly riverfront connectivity only. Elizabeth St Underpass may serve low demand movements.
Our Score 2.5/10
Eduardo Velasquez + Manuel Pineda + Santiago Medina
Has bicycle and pedestrian flows incorporated along riverfront but does preclude viaduct. Connectivity only to east.
Only design to consider bike parking. “An extensive cycling facility has been provided in the rejuvenated Banana Alley Vaults.
These increased facilities will transform Flinders Street Station into an exciting destination rather than just a transport hub as it is at present.”
Our Score 3/10
Zaha Hadid Architecture & BVN Architecture
Not building out waterfront, in fact clearly delineating a shared path through riverfront precinct, but does preclude viaduct. Connectivity only to east.
“Bikes and pedestrian pathways have been redefined along the river edge to create clear and safe separation.”
Our Score 3/10
Ashton Raggatt McDougall
Not building out waterfront, a narrow space along riverfront precinct worryingly called ‘Riverwalk’, but does preclude viaduct. Connectivity only to east.
The Queensbridge realigned and a pool precinct at west end of Banana Alley. No Bike Parking mentioned.
Our score 1/10
John Wardle Architects + Grimshaw
A very narrow space along riverfront with timber decking lacking connectivity. No Bike Parking mentioned.
Our Score 0/10
Veloway under a cloud - feasibility study funding rejected
June 26, 2012 – The proposal to build an elevated cycleway between the Flinders Street and Southern Cross stations has hit a hurdle after the Baillieu Government turned down an application for feasibility study funding.
The B1 Veloway consortium has been told by the Baillieu Government there will be no funding support to develop a detailed proof-of-concept study for its proposal which would have seen a dedicated two way cycleway running alongside the existing rail viaduct above Banana Alley and Batman Park.
The consortium has spent the last two years working on the ‘city shaping’ proposal that would have created direct connectivity for cyclists from Cremorne and Richmond in the East to Docklands, Footscray, Kensington and Flemington in the west.
Melbourne Lifeform Development (MLD) has spearheaded the proposal and MLD Director Grant O’Donnell said it was disappointing a project that would have showcased Victorian manufacturing and innovation had failed to attract a modest amount of funding to further explore and test the economic feasibility and public benefit of the proposal.
“Contrary to earlier comments concerning the Veloway, the consortium, which includes a number of leading Melbourne firms engaged in engineering, architecture, cost analysis and risk management, is not seeking approval of some millions of funds to build it now but it is seeking some government support and resource to subject the proposal to a feasibility study which can validate and build on the considerable work done to date, hopefully leading to future approval,” Mr O’Donnell said.
“The B1 Veloway would separate cyclists from cars and pedestrians, reduce accidents and congestion and stimulate more Melburnians to ride to work on public infrastructure which is carbon neutral and which can return, in our view, quantifiable net state benefits”.
“For example, for every 800 commuting cyclists (or Train Equivalent Unit - TEU) using the Veloway you could potentially save or re-deploy one full train of six carriages, let alone reduce the number of cars on the city’s crowded road system and potential accidents - it’s not hard to do the maths on the potential savings from such an initiative.“
Consortium member and architect, Rob McGauran of MGS Architects, said the study would help government determine the impacts on Melbourne’s already congested inner urban road and public transport networks from the intended rapid growth in population in Docklands, Fishermen’s Bend and E-Gate.
“We believe the Veloway business case would be supported against other transport options available to Government,” Mr McGauran said.
The Consortium plans to continue to push the proposal with the Department of Transport.
Cruise the clouds
18 May 2012. Bike riders will be able to cruise across Melbourne above the traffic if plans for an elevated cycleway between Flinders Street and Southern Cross Stations come to fruition.
The innovative B1 Veloway has been proposed a group of leading firms engaged in architecture, transport design, engineering and project management.
It may solve the long running problem of building an east-west bike route along Yarra edge of the CBD, an issue which has so far defied a cost-effective solution.
Running alongside the existing rail viaduct the B1 will separate bikes from cars and pedestrians and will link Melbourne’s bicycle networks from Cremorne, Richmond in the East to Spencer Street and Docklands in the West and to the North.
Currently estimated to cost about $20M, the project could attract sufficient riders to comfortably justify the cost of construction.
The next step should be a detailed feasibility study to firm up costs and engineering details.
Two years in the planning the scheme would see riders cycling high above six busy intersections and Banana Alley in a sweeping arc from station to station.
"We believe this proposal will propel Melbourne forward as a leader in providing technically advanced but practical bike infrastructure. It will provide net state benefits through improved cycle safety, reduced CBD congestion, an easing of pressure on the public transport system as well as being an appealing amenity for tourists and ride to work commuters", said Grant O’Donnell, director of Melbourne Lifeform Development which is spearheading the consortium proposal.
“For example, in respect to public transport and net benefits for every 800 cycling commuters the Veloway attracted it would potentially save running a full six carriage train in peak time.
“Currently,10.9% of vehicles entering the CBD in the morning peak are bikes and cycling to work has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
"We believe this infrastructure proposal offers the City of Melbourne and the State a low cost, carbon neutral solution to meeting some of the critically important infrastructure needs of the city and its rapidly growing pedal powered community “
The Consortium believes an elevated cycleway will provide an important missing link for cyclists wanting to commute smoothly and safely (no dooring) from Richmond to Southern Cross Station and then into the growing commercial centre of Docklands and North to E-Gate. Between 2006/2010 there were 616 reported injuries from car dooring the worst spots being St Kilda Rd and Collins Street.
The highly detailed Veloway proposal has been the subject of extensive consultation with a wide range of community groups and organisations including Bicycle Network, the RACV, VECCI and the City of Melbourne.
Mr O'Donnell said feedback has been very positive.
"Despite budgetary constraints our consortium is hopeful the State Government will view the proposal positively and one that contributes to good transport policy", said Mr O’Donnell.
The proposal has been passed to the Offices of the Minister of Transport and Minister of Tourism.
Video produced by Scharp.
Station revamp opportunity
16 November 2011. The design competition for the revival of the Flinders Street Station precinct has unlocked the railway viaduct as a prospect for the long-awaited east-west bike path along the Yarra North Bank.
The competition, with a one million dollar prize, is looking for the world’s best ideas to restore and reinvigorate the Flinders Street Station precinct, including the station concourse, platforms and historic administration building and through to the Banana Alley Vaults and Queensbridge.
This area between the Yarra and Flinders Street is supposed to host the critically needed east west bike route, previously conceived as a floating bike path on the River. Cost and engineering considerations stymied the concept.
But the idea idea of affixing a bikeway on the railway viaduct, westward towards Southern Cross Station, has recently emerged as a strong possibility. (See story below)
The B1 Veloway, initiated by a Melbourne consortium, will now gather traction as it will likely come under scrutiny as a component of any response to the design competition.
One of the aims of the competition is to improve the transport function of the station, catering for future growth and better integrating the station with its surrounding precincts.
“This station and its surrounds should be better integrated with adjacent areas including Federation Square, Flinders Street and the north bank of the Yarra River,” the Premier, Mr Baillieu said.
“We see a rejuvenated Flinders Street Station as a partner to Federation Square, forming a new gateway public space for Melbourne and embracing potential major improvements to the Yarra’s northern bank and the CBD-river pedestrian routes.
“We also acknowledge the enormous challenges attached to this project, including the conservation of the station façade and heritage values and delivering this project while Flinders Street continues to operate and expand as Melbourne’s busiest railway station.”
Flinders Street Station was completed in 1910. The administration building is four storeys high, more than 250 metres long and 10 metres wide. It is partly occupied by Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) with the remaining sections of the building largely unoccupied since the 1970s.
The competition will run in two stages: design concepts will be called for in mid-2012 followed by a review and short listing period. Short-listed entrants will then submit detailed proposals in 2013.
Stage 1 of the competition will open in mid-2012 following the preparation of a detailed project brief.
Northbank 'B1' concept launched by consortium
March 2010 The Consortium of Melbourne Life Form Development, LAB Architecture and Strategic Outcomes have proposed a High quality, direct Veloway to link the Northbank to Docklands.
This would involve using 'dead' space between the Princes and Queensbridge Bridge and then constructing an elevated structure along the river side of the Rail Viaduct.
This would have many benefits including:
- directness and connectivity between the Main Yarra Trail and Docklands
- Separates high bike and pedestrian flows
- Circumnavigates the CBD along a vehicle-free route and avoids up to 6 traffic signals
The image shown (right) is a concept drawing and includes a potential bikehub style development under the Viaduct
View NorthBank in a larger map