The opportunity to remake beleaguered Sydney Road continues to generate ideas for a fresh vision for the street with a new plan launched this week.
Re-imagining Sydney Road proposes a radical makeover that not only addresses traffic issues, but makes some bold suggestions for improving the local environment.
Significantly the plan has not come from the government or the council, but has been generated by two Melbourne professional firms that believe thinking about the future of the street needs a charge of electricity.
The proposal has come from transport consultants The Institute for Sensible Transport, and architects Atelier Red+Black.
Notable features of the plan include:
- Dedicated, full time bike lanes away from traffic
- Tram tracks free of vehicles to enable reliable high speed and high capacity services
- Traffic speed to 30km/h, to support Victoria’s Vision Zero approach to road safety.
- A dedicated motor vehicle lane in each direction.
- Removal of car parking from the street
"The plan detailed in this report provides the basis for enhancing the vibrancy of Sydney Road,” the document says.
"The removal of kerbside car parking and other street clutter provides a stronger link between each side of the street, makes it easier and safer to cross and a more pleasant place to linger, shop and socialise.
"Our proposal strikes a sensible balance that bolsters the safety of vulnerable road users, strengths the capacity of the tram to carrying growing numbers of people efficiently and still enables people to travel by car, in a more reliable, less frustrating context.
"The plan also reduces the urban heat island effect by injecting some much- needed greenery into the strip. Importantly, the plan outlined.”
The plan calls for a 1.2 metre on-road bike lane along the entirety of Sydney Road.
"Maintaining bicycle lanes through intersections and providing bicycle lantern priority will improve bicycle safety at intersections. Hook-turn lanes are provided for bicycles at each intersection, providing safe turning and connections with connecting streets.”
Sydney Road has been the subject of considerable attention in recent years, however State Government investigations have stalled due to sensitivity about the politically marginal local electorate.
But the need for change is becoming ever more urgent as the population in Brunswick and Coburg undergoes rapid change in size and character.
Many more people will have to travel the corridor, but the current configuration of the street prevents trams and bikes from doing the job they are best at.
Something has to give.