Work is set to start on the first stretch of protected bike lanes on Exhibition Street between Flinders and Bourke Streets in the Melbourne CBD.
A key bike route in the Melbourne CBD that links to both northern suburbs like Carlton and Fitzroy and the Yarra River trails in the south, Exhibition Street has been on bike riders protected lanes wish lists for years.
Its current part-time, painted on bike lanes will be replaced with lanes fully separated from motor traffic. It will give people on bikes a more comfortable ride, stop cars from being parked in the bike lane and improve traffic flow for all road users by eliminating weaving and confusion.
This first stage of work should begin before the end of the month, and like other fresh bike lanes in the City of Melbourne, will pop-up quickly to help people ride into the CBD and enjoy a summer of relaxed coronavirus restrictions.
The bike lanes won't be the only thing to get some green treatment, with 17 new trees also to be planted along footpaths. Poorly trees in the centre median between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street will be also be replaced.
Planting will be done in Autumn 2021 when growing conditions are better than in the heat of summer.
Stage two of the project will start in 2021 when the protected bike lanes will be built between Bourke and La Trobe streets, completing the full stretch from south to north. New expanded forecourt areas in front of the Comedy Theatre and Her Majesty's Theatre will also be built.
Rathdowne Street, the northern extension of Exhibition Street, is also having protected bike lanes installed between Victoria and Faraday Streets in Carlton. This will link up to the top-notch Canning Street, giving people a lovely ride from Brunswick all the way through to Exhibition Street and the city.
Improving Exhibition Street has been a long-term priority of Bicycle Network's and in 2017 the benefits of protected bike lanes were shown with a pop-up demonstration.
Plans for the new bike lanes have been a long time in the making and were released in 2019 after being included in City of Melbourne's Transport Strategy 2030.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.