Protected bike lanes down the centre of St Kilda Road will become a reality if the Labor Party wins the election in November.
In a massive coup for people who ride bikes, the two middle lanes of St Kilda Road from the National Gallery to St Kilda Junction will be replaced with a dedicated bike lane with a protective barrier as part of a Labor pre-election promise.
Announced late yesterday, the $27 million project includes building a ‘central safety zone’ with a separated lane in the middle of the road north of St Kilda Junction to Linlithgow Avenue.
Copenhagen-style bike lanes will also be built south of St Kilda Junction from Carlisle Street.
In comments to The Age, Roads Minister Luke Donnellan recognised the current risk that St Kilda Road poses to all road users.
“St Kilda Road is one of our busiest roads but also one of the most dangerous," Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said.
"With this investment, we’ll make it safer for everyone to use."
The government vowed the project would be completed by the time the Domain precinct re-opens after Metro Tunnel works are completed in 2025.
St Kilda Road is one of Melbourne’s busiest bike routes, with more than 3,000 bike riders travelling between Melbourne’s southern suburbs and the CBD each day.
At the same time, it’s also one of the most dangerous stretches of road for people who ride bikes and walk.
There were 196 crashes involving a pedestrian or bike rider on St Kilda Road between 2000 and 2015. It is also the state’s number one hot spot for dooring.
After more than 10 years of campaigning, Bicycle Network believes that a protected bike lane in the centre of St Kilda Road is the best option for all road users.
A central design removes the risk for driveway collisions, separates bikes from left turning traffic, improves movement around tram stops and reduces risk for pedestrians crossing the street.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards welcomed yesterday’s announcement.
“St Kilda Road is one of the world's great boulevards, but people riding bikes there are twice as likely to be doored as any other street in Melbourne," Mr Richards said.
"The problem is real and it’s great to see the government step in and show its commitment to reducing the risk for Victorians who ride."
“Unfortunately, like all projects, it’s taken too long to get to this stage and will take too long to complete. But every step forward is a win."
Help show our appreciation
St Kilda Road bike lanes have always been controversial, with the most recent plans scuttled in November 2017.
As expected, some anti-bike riding groups have jumped in and complained.
It would be great if the bike riding community showed Labor how much fixing St Kilda Road means to them.
Please send an email to your local MP and the Roads Minister to thank and congratulate them.
- Email Roads Minister Jaala Pulford at email@example.com
- Email Premier Daniel Andrews at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Email local member for Albert Park Martin Foley email@example.com
Don't forget to cc' firstname.lastname@example.org
— 7 News Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) October 17, 2018