The Melbourne Airport Rail project has announced that new and enhanced bike connections will be delivered as part of the new rail line to the airport at Tullamarine.
So far it has committed to several vital links that will greatly improve getting around by bike in Melbourne’s west and north. Others are likely to follow as discussions with Bicycle Network, local councils and government agencies continue to progress.
The most essential of the new announcements is the development of a new connection at Albion Station that will enable the Footscray to Sunshine Trail to connect through the Albion Station precinct to the Sunbury rail corridor trail at St Albans, thus enabling what will one day be a route from Melbourne’s CBD to Melbourne outer northern fringes.
Until now the barriers of the Ballarat Road and freight line overpasses at Albion have cruelled that prospect.
Melbourne Airport Rail is developing a path connection that will thread through this muddle, solving the missing link, and enabling vital connections to local bike routes.
Extra bike cages and hoops will also be built at Albion Station.
Further along the Airport Rail corridor at Sunshine North, a new and safe accessible shared use overpass will be built over the rail corridor to maintain a safe crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists, in what is a largely residential area.
The overpass will replace two nearby existing connection points – an underpass connecting Gilmour Road with Barwon Avenue and an unprotected pedestrian crossing connecting Mansfield Avenue with Drake Street – both of which will be removed.
An upgraded shared use path from Fullarton Road over the rail line will also be delivered, connecting Airport West and Keilor Park communities.
The M80 Trail under Calder Freeway and Fullarton Road will be relocated to the south-east of the rail corridor to create space for the new rail tracks.
The project calculates it will provide up to 8 kilometres of new or upgraded walking and cycling paths between Sunshine and the Melbourne Airport for local riders and pedestrians in Albion, Airport West, Keilor Park, Sunshine North and Tullamarine.
Closer to the Airport the missing link at Tullamarine between Fullarton Road and Sharps Road will also be addressed. Between Keilor East and Melbourne Airport, a new shared use path near Steele Creek will extend from the M80 Trail to Tullamarine Park Road.
A connection under Airport Drive to the south of Tullamarine Park Road will be built with a pedestrian operated signal to cross Tullamarine Park Road and another connection along the east side of Airport Drive to Sharps Road will connect into the existing Airport Drive shared use path.
These links will provide the connection for riders into the airport itself.
Other improvements within the airport boundary are also expected, but because the airport is on Federal land a different planning process is underway concurrently with the development of a new master plan for Tullamarine.
There will need to be new bike connections to the airport station and within the airport, extensive bike parking facilities at the new airport station, and a connection from the station to the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail to the east of the airport.
In the coming months it is likely that more details will emerge on other improvements to local paths and connections.
As part of the planning process for the project, Melbourne Airport Rail is also seeking feedback on the proposals to date. You can fill in the survey here.
Construction gets underway next year, with completion in 2029.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.