A bicycle network is an integrated, cohesive set of protected bicycle lanes that provide access to calm streets within 30 km/h superblocks, enabling people of all ages and abilities to safely cycle to any destination in Yarra.

Benefits

A bicycle network would deliver the following benefits:

  • Enable local residents to easily access local traders, making Yarra better for business,
  • Enable those who wish to cycle to be able to do, thus reducing congestion and making Yarra better for drivers,
  • Comply with federal, state and local government policies on road safety, and
  • Help people in the City of Yarra respond to our climate emergency.

Where cyclists want to go

Cyclists want to be able to safely access every property in Yarra.

Inviting people to cycle

Best-practice infrastructure invites people to cycle. Requiring people to mix with traffic is a ‘daring’ people to cycle, a painted lane is ‘able’, while a protected or separated lane is ‘inviting’ people to cycle.

This concept has also been quantified as Level of Stress (LS). A Level of Stress of LS 1 or LS 2 enables cycling for people of all ages and abilities:

Image credit: European Commission Practitioner Guide

What Yarra can do

Yarra can build a bicycle network consisting of protected bicycle lanes that link 30 km/h superblocks. This would deliver mobility and access over the entire municipality for the least cost.

Protected bicycle lanes can link 30 km/h superblocks. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and Google Maps.

Status

Much of Yarra’s bicycle network needs to be built in partnership with VicRoads (or the Department of Transport) on declared arterials. The image below shows the present status of the VicRoads Principal Bicycle Network, with missing sections shown in red.

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, with background from VicRoads

History

VicRoads published the Principal Bicycle Network (PBN) in 2012:

Image credit: VicRoads

VicRoads then narrowed their focus to Bicycle Priority Routes, a subset of the Principal Bicycle Network, shown in pink below:

Image credit: VicRoads

Recently, VicRoads further narrowed their focus to Strategic Cycling Corridors, an even smaller subset of the Principal Bicycle Network, shown as the red lines on the map below.

In parallel, the Inner Melbourne Action Plan (IMAP), a collaborative partnership between several Councils, published a map of their proposed inner Melbourne bicycle network. Unfortunately it hasn’t been completed, and some sections marked as ‘existing’ are only a strip of paint, not a protected bicycle lane.

Image credit: IMAP

Problem

The problem is that state government hasn’t actually constructed the Principal Bicycle Network, or even all Strategic Cycling Corridors. For example, Swan Street doesn’t have any bicycle lane markings at all. The most likely reason for the delay is that traders protest against the loss of on-street parking on shopping streets, even though studies show that changes would be better for business.

Solution

The solution is for local and state government to collaborate to enable traders and residents to test out how good the streets could be if wider footpaths and protected bicycle lanes were built. A trial could use parklets and temporary street changes, during January sports events, and be marketed as a ‘Festival of Sport‘. Once trials are complete, and traders can see that their business will benefit, the complete Yarra Principal Bicycle Network can be built. This would all be part of implementing the Victorian Cycling Strategy:

Strategic cycling corridors are the arterials of the bicycle network, which join up important destinations: the central city, national employment and innovation clusters, major activity centres and other destinations of metropolitan and state significance. We will prioritise strategic cycling corridors for investment to deliver safer, more direct cycling into and across Melbourne and Victoria. We will work with others to update guidelines for strategic cycling corridors to ensure a consistent approach to developing a high- quality network of cycling infrastructure.

Victorian Cycling Strategy 2018-2028

We will work with local councils to join up strategic cycling corridors on local streets, arterial roads, highways, rail corridors and green spaces. We will work closely with local councils to plan, identify and deliver improvements to strategic cycling corridors and to support the 20-minute neighbourhood concept, especially for cycling to schools, train stations and activity areas.

Victorian Cycling Strategy 2018-2028

Supporters

Supporters of networks of safe cycling infrastructure, including protected bicycle lanes, include We Ride Australia:

Image credit: We Ride Australia

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, or the EU Practitioner Guide to supporting cycling:

Image credit: EU Practitioner Guide