Swan Street is a shopping street for Cremorne, Burnley and Richmond. Swan Street has to change – the street must be altered to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requirement for level access tram stops. If change must occur then it can be better for business by attracting local residents to more regularly visit, shop and linger. This can be achieved by widening the footpaths, installing separated bicycle lanes and building level-access tram stops. Parking is relocated to the first 5-10 spots on each side street, with the first spot on each side street reserved for deliveries, and drivers guided to vacant bays using parking sensors.

Existing conditions and proposed layout for Swan Street, looking west toward the city. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra.


At the moment, Swan Street is a known black spot for pedestrians and cyclists, as shown by data from WalkSpot, BikeSpot and VicRoad’s own crash data. The danger discourages local residents from walking or cycling to the street, nudging them to use cars, which adds to congestion. In addition, Swan Street is also a DoT/VicRoads nominated Strategic Cycling Corridor (SSC). However, no protected bicycle lanes have been built, enabling the corridor to be used by a wide range of cyclists, not just the brave.

Swan Street is a Strategic Cycling Corridor. Source: DoT, highlight from Streets Alive Yarra.


Owing to geometric constraints, the only practical way to comply with both the Disability Discrimination Act and the Strategic Cycling Corridor designation is to relocate shopper-parking to side streets and to reallocate the space to wider footpaths, street trees, bicycle lanes and level access tram stops.

Swan Street could look like Carlisle Street. Image credit: Google Maps.
Swan Street could have wider footpaths, trees and raised bicycle lanes. Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra and StreetMix.

The full proposal is available to download:

Safe System

The proposed design aligns with Safe System, the core of Australia’s and Victoria’s road safety strategy:

Trial using parklets

Traders can be concerned about losing on-street parking, even if more parking is allocated to shoppers by converting the first 5-10 bays on each side street to metered parking. The solution is to give traders the chance to test, on a voluntary basis, the addition of a parklet right out the front of their store. As part of a ‘Swan Street Festival of Sport’ in January, traders can see how much their revenue increases.

Protected intersection

At the intersection between Swan Street and Church Street, a protected intersection should be used. The image below shows how this could look:

  • People walking can cross at the yellow.
  • People cycling can cross at the green.
  • People driving are guided around the red barriers.
Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, with background from Apple Maps

Once constructed, this protected intersection would no longer need a paid crossing supervisor during school times, further decreasing costs for taxpayers.

Support from RACV

Note that the RACV supports wider footpaths and separated bicycle lanes for Sydney Road in Brunswick, and that the same logic also applies to Swan Street.

Image credit: RACV

The RACV have also proposed a network of bicycle superhighways, including a section on Swan Street.

Image credit: RACV

Support from Infrastructure Australia

Infrastructure Australian have included RACV’s proposal for bicycle superhighways, in their 2020 Infrastructure Priority List:

Design guides

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

Local champion

Your local champion for Swan Street is Jeremy Lawrence, Yarra resident. View all of Streets Alive Yarra’s champions on our supporters page.

Swan Street is a great shopping street and can be even better. I’d like Swan Street to be the core of the Richmond, Cremorne and Burnley neighbourhoods; and easy to access with cycling and walking. I’d like my child to be able to safely walk along Swan Street to get to the library, or safely cycle along Swan Street before going up Coppin Street to the new Richmond High School. I’d like traders on Swan Street to thrive on regular repeat business from local residents, the lunchtime crowds from growing nearby offices, and the weekend crowds to the sporting precinct. I’d like commuters from the eastern suburbs to be able to choose to cycle to the city, because there is a safe route all along Swan Street to the CBD.

Jeremy Lawrence