Bikes open gate to innovation precinct

Planning has started on the creation of Melbourne’s new innovation precinct at Fishermans Bend, and the first, foundational step of the plan is... provision of the bike infrastructure.

The City of Melbourne is partnering with the Victorian Government on the "Gateway to GMH” project that will transform Turner Street into a key bike corridor linking the 40,000 workers that will eventually occupy the precinct to the rest of the city.

The Government-owned former GMH site will be a catalyst for the area’s transformation into a centre for innovation in advanced manufacturing, engineering and design.

Fishermans Bend is somewhat landlocked, with few roads in and out, so active and public transport will be the key to getting workers and residents up and about.

And the existing roads are heavy with trucks, so the broad swarth of Turner Street presents an opportunity "to showcase innovation, from the materials used in the construction of the bike path to the trial of different species of plants. 

"This project is a trial project for the future Employment Precinct, and is a unique opportunity to do things a little differently and honour the legacy of innovation and creativity in Fishermans Bend," the project partners say.

"This project will improve street safety and amenity in the immediate term by delivering active transport infrastructure along Turner and Graham streets. 

"It will also improve access to the GMH site as it develops over the coming years to include the new University of Melbourne campus (an initial stage is set to open in 2024). 

"Through the inclusion of public art, street greening, and new digital infrastructure such as 5G and NBN, the project will showcase early activation within the precinct.”

The project will deliver safe cycling corridor between the former GMH site (at Salmon and Turner streets) and the central city. This will include:
  • a new shared walking and cycling path on the southern side of Turner Street, between Graham and Salmon streets
  • a new protected cycling path on Graham Street, between Turner and Lorimer streets 
  • a new cycling link between the north side of Lorimer Street and the River Esplanade (the Birrarung-Yarra River path)

The measures will include place-making, traffic calming and landscaping, with 300 new trees.

Construction will take place in early-mid 2022.

The City of Melbourne is seeking input to the planning. There is a survey and further details here.

"We are seeking feedback on how we can improve the safety, feel and function of Turner Street for bike riders and pedestrians”, the City of Melbourne says.

"We want to gather data from the community and stakeholders so that we can make informed decisions about how further improvements could be managed and delivered in Fishermans Bend. 

"This might include improved signage and wayfinding, path surfacing, lighting, greening, the creation of small-scale open spaces with seating or low-scale infrastructure, and other measures to make the area more attractive for people walking or riding. 

"We will incorporate your feedback where possible, however we need to also factor in the complexity of the street’s underground and overhead utility services.”

A placemaking and information hub is part of the project, with more details coming as COVID restriction wind back.

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