New cycling lanes along La Trobe St
By David Schout
Docklanders cycling into the CBD can now do so inside protected lanes along the entire stretch over the La Trobe Street Bridge.
Previously, cycling lanes on the street’s southern end, between Harbour Esplanade and Spencer St, were merely marked lines with no protection from motorists.
But the City of Melbourne, as part of a program to fast-track protected lanes across the city, has ensured cyclists are now protected by curb-high barriers.
The move has cut the two-lane stretch of road in each direction down to one, as the council continued its bid to redeploy space to cyclists and pedestrians as part of a 10-year transport strategy.
“There has been a significant increase in the number of people riding bikes during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a letter notifying nearby residents and businesses of the new lanes read.
“The new bike lanes will connect into Melbourne’s existing bike lane network and provide a safe, efficient, sustainable transport alternative that will support physical distancing and get the city moving again when restrictions are eased.”
“No right turn” signs will also be installed in both direction at the La Trobe and Spencer St intersection to ensure traffic flow is maintained.
The council acknowledged a “likely” reduction in vehicle flow along the section of to accommodate the new cyclist space.
Research conducted as part of the council’s transport strategy released in 2019 suggested four in 10 people found cycling in Melbourne “unsafe and intimidating”.
As such, the council has committed to fast-tracking 40km of new cycling lanes across the city.
“Kerbside protected bike lanes encourage people who are less confident or new to bike riding to feel safe when they are riding in the city. The separator islands are manufactured off site and can be installed quickly. The adaptable design will allow for adjustments to be made if required,” the council letter said.
“The new bike lanes will create a street that people can feel confident riding along, freeing up space on our roads, buses, trams and trains.” •