Big Build’s veloway to Docklands

Big Build’s veloway to Docklands

Most Docklanders would be more than aware of the plethora of major roadworks surrounding our neighbourhood – the “periodic/intermittent” road closures of Wurundjeri Way and the Footscray Rd “disruptions”.

These works have seen heavy vehicles diverted onto Harbour Esplanade, with more than a few close calls on the pedestrian crossings. Also, the return of Marvel Stadium events has seen gridlock in nearby streets as drivers seek to navigate the various diversions and closures.

But, fingers crossed, these are temporary disruptions, which will dissipate when road works are completed.

However, what will change for Docklands in terms of increased traffic volume concerns two-wheel traffic.

This is because Victoria’s Big Build, specifically the West Gate Tunnel Project, includes a new veloway (a dedicated bikeway) which ends in Docklands.

According to the Victorian Government, the project will build a new 2.5km elevated veloway on Footscray Rd, creating an express journey for cyclists to and from the city completely separated from traffic with two emergency exits – “giving cyclists a safe express route to and from the city ...”

At the end of this new veloway, cyclists will enter Docklands’ popular Capital City Trail, which pre-COVID already boasted daily morning traffic (between 7am and 9am) of around 2000 riders. According to Bicycle Network, when the new infrastructure goes in, those numbers are expected to scale up considerably.

However, what may not have been factored into traffic projections is the growth in eBike usage and the legalisation of e-scooters, meaning that the Docklands’ Capital City Trail (along Harbour Esplanade) may see an explosion of two-wheeled traffic.

What is of concern regarding this growth in two-wheel traffic is that riders, (especially delivery e-bikes and e-scooters) will not “stay in their lane”, and use footpaths as their preferred route. Case in point is the footpath outside Marvel Stadium, which sees e-scooters and delivery e-bikes routinely use this path as a thoroughfare, despite the illegality of this use of footpaths.

Arguably more challenging are the notorious Docklands shared zones, where signs proclaim “pedestrian priority”, but in reality see pedestrians increasingly lacking confidence when utilising these zones.

The Docklands Representative Group understands that beautification works are planned for Harbour Esplanade, as this was a stated action from the Docklands Summit. These beautification works also offer an opportunity to design in elements that encourage separation between pedestrians and bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters, as these groups also dislike pedestrians in their lanes! •

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