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Suburban Rail to loop in bikes
Suburban Rail to loop in bikes

The massive Suburban Rail Loop project will rely significantly on large numbers of passengers riding bikes to the 12 stations, recently released studies show.

Stations around the SRL will be provided with unprecedented numbers of bike parking spaces for Australian railway stations.

By 2056, the business case estimates, around 70 per cent of passengers will access the SRL Stations using active transport

Burwood will have up to 750 bike spaces at the station.

Cheltenham will have approximately 400 bike parking spaces.

"The provision of safe and secure cycle facilities at each station is essential for realising the active transport vision of SRL," the study says.

"Cycle parking will be available for 15 per cent of daily passengers when SRL East is complete. Additional parking facilities will be provided as demand grows over the following years.

"It is assumed that around 80 per cent of cycle parking will be available at or adjacent to the SRL Station with the remaining share allocated to the surrounding road network."

And the vision does end at the parking: SRL will promote active transport by integrating the station design with precincts and neighbourhoods.

"Drawing on international best practices, SRL will investigate opportunities for active transport infrastructure such as pedestrian crossings and cycle paths to provide a smooth journey between the station and destinations.

"For example, walking and cycling will be supported by delivering a pedestrian network with wide footpaths and good walking environments, a quality cycle network and a cycle parking facility at each station. The precise scope of active transport links will be confirmed by detailed precinct structure planning processes.

"Importantly, the active transport infrastructure and precinct design will be developed with the safety of families, women and disadvantaged groups in mind.

"Examples include well-lit cycle paths, wayfinding infrastructure, CCTV cameras and other urban features to enhance safety. This demonstrates the commitment to creating inclusive precincts and securing equal access to active transport.

"High levels of cycling access are key to SRL patronage outcomes, with cycling offering a cost-effective access mode with door-to-door ease, flexibility, reach and speed that rivals, or can be even better than, cars.

"Cycle-train integration is an attractive proposition to challenge car trips (from a user perspective) and contributes to a sustainable and integrated urban mobility system.

"Cycle-train integration affects mode use and land use, with synergies with urban consolidation and place outcomes.

The publication of the business case documentation provides a clearer view of the SRL concept, which now can be seen more as an urban re-development project, with a rail line attached.

To justify the staggering cost of underground rail, the density of both population and employment will need to rise by multiples in and around the station precincts along the Loop.

These re-made, hi-density suburban centres, will need to transform their local transport networks into dense, bike friendly routes, because traditional, suburban car dependency only functions in sparse, sprawling environments.

The result should be that some Melbourne's middle suburbs will join the inner suburbs as places where active transport asserts its rightful priority.

See the video below.

The full business case documentation can be found here

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.