Shrine to Sea route re-floated

The biking and walking boulevard being planned to link the Domain Gardens to Port Phillip Bay – Shrine to Sea – has set sail again, taking a new design tack.

The project was taking water when local residents scuppered the idea of a proposed trial of protected bike lanes in Kerferd Road.

According to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) alternative proposals are now being explored.

DWELP said the decision by the Department of Transport to drop the pop-up separated lanes has considerably impacted the development of the Shrine to Sea masterplan.

"In response to the current feedback, we are investigating further alternative bike lane design options for Kerferd Road, requiring additional concept designs, traffic modelling and road safety assessments,” DELWP said.

"This will take more time to ensure the designs meet the project objectives and are ready to be communicated and tested through community engagement before any decisions are made.

"Each design option we consider will be presented graphically for the community to review as part of the draft masterplan engagement process.

"Our objective to create safer, clearer links and connections and promote active transport remains a priority. Improving safety for all road users, including cyclists, pedestrians and motorists, continues to be a key outcome for Shrine to Sea."

DELWP said that as a result of this work, it expects delays to the timeline and now anticipated the draft masterplan to be available early in 2023.

"We understand that some members of the community may feel frustrated by this development as they want to see the project move forward,” DELWP said.

"That is why we are continually evaluating which elements of the project may be able to progress in the meantime, given strong community support already received through the engagement feedback to date."

Meanwhile, tree planting has been underway along the 3 km boulevard on Albert and Kerferd roads, with 150 trees so far planted.

A mix of native and introduced species, including eucalypts, jacarandas, banksias and Brachychitons, have been selected, based on resilience to climate change and site-specific suitability.

They will also bring colour to the boulevard and attract birds and insects to the streetscape throughout the year.

Smaller-growing species have been chosen for nature strips where powerlines are present. In other locations, such as the median strip, trees will grow 10–15 m.

Following an arborist’s report commissioned as part of the Shrine to Sea project, 5 trees in the central median reserve have been identified as showing poor structure and health and will be removed as part of the planting renewal program.

A selection of jacarandas within the Albert Road outer separators will be included in a passive irrigation trial being carried out by the University of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip and DELWP.

The three-year project will direct water runoff from Albert Road into adjacent median strips to irrigate the new plantings. The remainder of the trees will be irrigated and maintained as they establish over the next few years.

This planting renewal program will occur during July–September 2022.

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