Bridge Road is going through a transition – low cost clothing outlets are shutting down and new entrants are focussing on offering services that can attract regular repeat patronage from local residents. Another problem is that drivers keep knocking away the guidance bollards on the elevated tram stops, and some drivers fall off the exposed edges of the tram stops.
Bridge Road can attract more patronage becoming the core of a 20-minute neighbourhood:
Bridge Road can be revitalised by widening the footpaths, installing separated bicycle lanes and building level-access tram stops. On-street parking for shoppers can be increased by relocating bays to the first 5-10 spots on each side street, with the first spot reserved for deliveries.
The key is to understand that on-street parking isn’t the answer – if Bridge Road is attractive then people will find a way to get there.
An example of how Bridge Road can look like can be seen from 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 m, and bend behind a “floating” tram stop.
Support from DELWP
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) policy is to support 20-minute neighbourhoods, where the goods and services required for a quality life can be accessed by a 20-minute walk. Bridge Road can form the core of a 20-minute neighbourhood in Richmond.
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.
Support from Infrastructure Australia
Infrastructure Australian have included RACV’s proposal for bicycle superhighways, including on Bridge Road, in their 2020 Infrastructure Priority List:
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.
Learn more from this collection of design guides, including David Mepham’s guide (commissioned by Victoria Walks) to improving Main Streets: