Separation at the S-Bend

New separated bike lanes have been installed at the bottom of William Street in the CBD where it curves around to link up with Queens Bridge over the Yarra.

This small piece of infrastructure carries a significance beyond its modest scale.

Importantly, two traffic lanes are being removed to make way for the bike lanes.

This is a rare occasion where the Department of Transport has agreed with the argument that the road space would better utilised as bike facility than for motor traffic.

And it won’t be the last.

Time and again the State Government has been reluctant to reallocate traffic lanes space for bikes because it meant reducing capacity for cars.

But often, as in this case, that capacity could not be efficiently utilised.

There are signs now that authorities finally realised that moving people efficiently is the goal of the transport system and bikes can do that very well indeed.

This work is also important because it will link through to the next stage of the City of Melbourne’s upgrades, including Queens Bridge Street south of the Yarra through to City Road.

This means the development of a high quality north-south route via Queen Bridge and Williams Street.

The Williams Street upgrade is ongoing with the central section now all but complete, with a new tram stop to be delivered next year.

And work will be underway on the connection through to Peel Street in the near future.

The S-bend works undertaken in recent days was slated for later in the schedule, but was brought forward due to maintenance work on the rail viaduct overhead.

There is a little more work to be done, but soon this connection will extend from Queens Bridge to Flinders Lane, both sides of William Street.

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