The state government has cleared the way for more bikes to use two key streets in Melbourne’s west that are currently compromised by rat-running trucks.
In an announcement this week roads Minister Luke Donnellan announced that there would be truck bans introduced on Hudsons Road in Spottswood and Blackshaws Road in Altona North as part of the West Gate Tunnel project.
Hudsons Road is likely to become a key bike route in the future, with high quality bike facilities and a crossing of the Williamstown rail line and a connection to Spotswood Station.
It links through to the Bay Trail near Science Works in Spottswood, as well as connecting to Douglas Parade and to Hyde Street, and will also provide a connection to the on-ramp for the Federation Trail at the Stony Creek Reserve.
Critically, it can help bikes avoid busy Williamstown Road.
Blackshaws Road connects North Altona to Newport though South Kingsville and could be a key connection to the massive redevelopment of the 67 hectare former industrial site in the city of Hobsons Bay.
They key to the government move is a decision to offset the truck bans with incentives for trucks to use the West Gate Tunnel.
In its submission to the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement, Bicycle Network suggested that such pricing differentials be introduced to ensure that trucks use the new infrastructure rather than remaining on local streets where they were a risk to bike riders.
To improve freight productivity and reduce costs, the Government will require the tunnel operator to set discounted shuttle rates and cap maximum daily tolls for trucks making multiple trips through the tunnel, as well as night time discounts.
Shuttle rates, trip capping, night time discounts and truck bans will provide incentives for industry to use the new, faster, more efficient route for trucks travelling to the Port of Melbourne.
The project will directly link the West Gate Freeway to the Port with twin tunnels under Yarraville, which will save truck drivers time and money by avoiding 17 sets of traffic lights and reducing vehicle wear and tear.
Trucks with a local origin or destination in the area will be exempt from the truck bans.
“This is a win for the whole community – quieter, safer streets for the inner west and cheaper, more efficient port access for the transport industry," Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said.
“By providing a dedicated route to the port, the West Gate Tunnel project will take thousands of trucks off local roads in the inner west. Without the Tunnel there can be no truck bans.”