Better bike lanes for city's top end

Streets in the Parliamentary precinct at the top end of Bourke Street are to be reconfigured to give bike riders and pedestrians much improved access to and through the area.

Bourke, Spring and Nicholson Streets will all get new treatments that will prioritise active transport movement.

The initiative has been long in the planning and is an outcome of the City of Melbourne 2030 transport plan.

The Bourke - Spring - Nicholson confluence has always been a nasty traffic snarl, complicated by tram lines and trams stops, and pedestrian high flows to entrances to the Parliament underground station.

The key to the new arrangements is the banning of motor traffic right-turns into Bourke Street from the north. All traffic travelling from Nicholson into Spring will in the future continue south on Spring Street.

This will considerably simplify the operation of the intersection, not only improving the street for bikes, but the reduced traffic in Bourke Street will create a vastly more conducive environment for street life and commercial traders.

Bikes will continue to have the option of turning right into Bourke Street from Nicholson/Spring using hook-turn facilities to be installed along with a new bike lane directly in front of Parliament.

There will upgrades to multiple sections of the bike lanes in Nicholson/Spring, including kerb barriers at sensitive locations to prevent incursion into the bike lane by vehicles.

A number of car spaces are being removed and carshare bays relocated to enable better alignment and position of the bike facilities.

Albert Street, East Melbourne, has become a vital conduit in and out of the CBD from the east and will greatly benefit from this new and improved connection down into the core of the city.

Bikes heading north in Spring Street towards Bourke will benefit from the removal of a traffic lane at the intersection, creating space for a wider bike lane on the approach to the corner, with section of protective kerbing.

On the south side of Bourke Street, adjacent to the tram stop, bikes will share the traffic lane, now with reduced traffic volumes. The shared traffic lane will continue west until a wide kerb-protected bike lane forms at the intersection with Exhibition Street.

Where the shared lane exists, there will also be a marked 1m wide ‘refugee’ zone along the parked cars. This will enable bikes to filter through to the intersection if motor traffic is banked up at the lights.

West-bound riders also benefit from a traffic lane removal at the same intersection, with similar arrangements of the bike lane and hook turn facilities.

The project is open for feedback, with more information available under the "Bourke Street/Spring Street" drop-down.

Work is expected to get underway in March.

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