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Pop-up pulse check

When the pandemic struck, we saw local and state government announce pop-up bike lane promises to help support the rapidly increasing number of bike riders taking to the streets for lockdown exercise or COVID-safe transportation. 

It was also an opportunity to take advantage of low car traffic volumes to implement some much-needed sustainable upgrades to our city.

The City of Melbourne promised to fast-track 40 kilometres of protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements across the city. The Victorian State Government promised to install 100 kilometres of new and improved bike routes across key inner-Melbourne suburbs.

It is critically important that we continue to monitor the roll-out of these new bike projects to ensure they are optimised to best support the bike riding community, and thus justified for permanent status moving forward.

Let's see where they're at...

City of Melbourne have completed around 16 kilometres of protected bike lanes and 8 kilometres of bike-friendly street upgrades, including:

You can see a really comprehensive list of what City of Melbourne has completed and what they have planned for next year on their website.

Meanwhile, the state government have been chipping away at their 100 kilometre promise. We estimate they have completed between 30-40 kilometres so far, and have set themselves the goal for completion by mid next year.

COVID restrictions put the handbrake on progress for much of the year, but they have been rolling freely again more recently. The on-road construction activities are not that time consuming so speed of planning and more critically, decision making, will be of the essence.

Heidelberg Road Link

The most famous of the Melbourne pop-ups, Heidelberg Road has repurposed over 9km of road space for the exclusive use of people riding bikes, providing a key link in the network across Merri Creek.

Since completion in December 2020, the Heidelberg Road bike lane has seen an increase up to 30% in riders, and is undergoing monitoring and community consultation to improve the network, despite some loud backlash.

Darebin and Yarra connectors

A series of bike-friendly upgrades—including road markings, barrier kerbs and bollards to separate drivers and riders—are intended to improve connections to surrounding suburbs and make the core link from Station Street to Wellington and Napier Streets more effective commuter routes to and from Melbourne’s CBD.

Works are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

St Georges Road off-road routes

Improved signage, road markings and wayfinding upgrades are intended to improve bike riding access across the Merri Creek Trail to the Inner Circle Rail Trail, connecting the journey between Preston and Melbourne’s CBD.

Works are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Footscray pop-up links

Plans are underway to install 20kms of new and improved pop-up bike routes around Footscray, Seddon, Yarraville and the broader West. These routes will provide an east-west connection between the Sunshine Rail Trail and Footscray and Dynon Road shared use paths to the CBD. 

Considerable feedback has been received. You can read it here.

VicRoads is coordinating the pop-up works with essential utilities upgrades for the Footscray Hospital and Footscray Station and will take place in stages.

The majority of the works will be in early 2022, expand the bike network during the peak bike riding season. Works areas affected by the utility upgrades such as Victoria, Raleigh, Albert, Stephen, Hyde and Pilgrim Streets will follow from mid-2022 once those works are completed.

Other suburbs
In addition to the completed routes in Darebin and Yarra Councils and those in development in the City of Maribyrnong, routes in the following local council areas are identified as future priorities:
  • Moonee Valley City Council
  • City of Port Phillip
  • City of Melbourne
  • Moreland City Council
  • City of Stonnington

You can learn more about what the state government have completed, are planning and give your feedback at vicroads.com.au.

So, it looks like both promises are just under halfway there: City of Melbourne with 16-20 of the 40 kilometres completed, and VicRoads with around 30-40 of 100 kilometres completed.

Though there is plenty of work planned over summer, time is also of the essence with many CBD businesses gearing up for full capacity return in the new year. 

Bicycle Network will continue to monitor the rollout over the coming months.

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