Bridge Road is a shopping street in Richmond. It can be better for business by attracting local residents to more regularly visit, shop and linger.

Image credit: OCULUS

Problems

Bridge Road is experiencing a drawn out transition. Low cost clothing outlets are gradually shutting down and being replaced by bars, cafes, restaurants and other businesses that are better placed to derive stable, repeat business from local residents.

Opportunities

Bridge Road has an opportunity to improve the street, accelerate its transition and attract more patronage. The key is to understand that on-street parking isn’t the answer – if the shopping street is attractive then people will find a way to get there.

Parking is lazy excuse as to why downtown is dead. We need to throw out our stripmall mentality and remember that if a place is worth visiting, people will find a way to get there.

Revitalize, or Die
Image credit: Revitalize, or Die

Solutions

Bridge Road can attract more patronage by place making so that it forms the core of a 20-minute neighbourhood – by widening the footpaths, installing separated bicycle lanes and building level-access tram stops. Parking for shoppers is increased by relocating to the first 5-10 spots on each side street, with the first spot on each side street reserved for deliveries.

Image credit: Streetmix and Streets Alive Yarra

Support from VicRoads and the RACV

VicRoads have designated Bridge Road as a Strategic Cycling Corridor, and the RACV have nominated Bridge Road as a bicycle superhighway. Both Strategic Cycling Corridors and bicycle superhighways require a protected bicycle lane, capable of carrying a large number of people and enabling them to be used by a wide range of cyclists, not just the brave.

Image credit: RACV

Better for commuters

A best-practice bicycle lane can carry more than double the commuters in peak hour than a clearway lane. If more people choose to cycle to the city instead of driving then there is more space in the vehicle lane for cars, which is better for those who need to drive.

Image credit: VicRoads

Example

An example of how Bridge Road can look like can be seen from these photos of the recently improved tram stop on Carlisle Street St Kilda. Note the wider footpaths, and the separated bicycle lane continuing over the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant level access tram stop. A best-practice bicycle lane would be wider, e.g. 2.3 m:

Image credit: Herschel Landes

Design guides

Learn more from this collection of design guides, including David Mepham’s guide (commissioned by Victoria Walks) to improving Main Streets: