The amended designs for the area surrounding the new Metro Tunnel station at Arden in West Melbourne have been released for public comment, and they remain bike friendly... mostly.
The Arden precinct, close to the North Melbourne football club’s home, is expected to include up to 34,000 jobs and be home to around 15,000 residents by 2050.
It is being designed as a low-car neighbourhood, with a strong emphasis on public transport, walking and bike riding.
One feature of the amended plans is a bike lane behind the kerb along Laurens Street in front of the station, segregated from traffic.
This route is one of a number of Strategic Cycling Corridors that converge in the precinct, and high-quality facilities would be expected.
Sounds good, but the devil is in the details: the lane is just 1.5m wide and lack adequate clearances from hazards, according to preliminary drawings.
A fundamental principle of bike lane design is that they must be wide enough for riders to pass each other, and this plan appears to fail on that point.
Fortunately, there is time for the error to be corrected by the Metro Tunnel Project and the Victorian Planning Authority.
The plans for the precinct show a number of great opportunities for first class bike facilities, especially, the link proposed along the rail corridor between Macaulay Road in Kensington through to Laurens Street near North Melbourne Station.
The project documents say the plans will facilitate sustainable transport and healthy lifestyle options for commuters and the station’s surrounding communities.
"On Day 1, 126 bike-parking spaces will be available in and around Arden Station.
"The design also has provision for an additional 200 secure bike spaces located near the proposed future station entries, west of the station building, and the design provides for Melbourne bike share stands.
"The Arden Station precinct presents an opportunity for urban renewal in an area heavily dominated by industrial uses. The precinct is located at the intersection between Laurens Street and Barwise Street, in a space that is currently underused by pedestrians and cyclists.
"The precinct design will transform this space to prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and their access to the station, while taking into account the needs of businesses in the area.
"A new separated raised bicycle path and a shared on-road bike path will be provided west and east of Laurens Street, respectively. These bicycle paths will link into the existing bike paths along Arden Street and Queensberry Street and will provide direct access to the Arden Station precinct.
"The provision of bicycle paths enhances the existing connections to surrounding bike routes, such as the Moonee Ponds Creek trail, and allows for the future development of the precinct to enhance cyclist connections.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said: "The Metro Tunnel is a key part of the Arden Precinct and will open up this side of the city to business and residential use, bringing housing and employment opportunities alongside the growth of Victoria’s innovation economy.”
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.