Trenerry Crescent is a local street that links neighbourhoods on either side of the Eastern Freeway.
Trenerry Crescent offers a way for drivers to avoid the primary north-south driving route of adjacent Hoddle Street, while also acting as the primary north-south cycling route, or Strategic Cycling Corridor, in this part of Yarra. It’s about 9 metres wide, and isn’t a VicRoads declared arterial.
The existing design of Trenerry Crescent imposes significant hazards for people walking or biking, i.e. of being struck by a motor vehicle. The dip and twist of the street decreases the ability of drivers to see and avoid people who are biking. A painted cycle lane exists on the west side, and is too narrow to offer any protection. On the east side, not even a painted lane is offered. All this leads to people biking on the footpath, instead of on the street, which reduces amenity for people walking.
On 23rd June 2020 an Officer Report recommended the trial closure of Trenerry Crescent to vehicle traffic at the Eastern Freeway. A trial closure could be delivered fast, and with little budget. The Officer Report provided multiple justifications, including:
- Responds to immediate physical distancing issue on adjacent Capital City and Merri Creek trails by providing additional space.
- Responds to a missing link in strategic cycle network given safety and amenity issues for cyclists sharing this section of the street with road traffic.
- Responds to safer routes to local schools for non-car traffic.
- Provides indirect response to other safety issues in surrounding streets due to a reduced level of traffic.
On 18th August 2020 Councillors considered the results of community consultation, and then resolved not to proceed with the trial.
Why not expect people biking to use the off-street shared paths or trails?
The existing Main Yarra Trail and Merri Creek Trail are overcrowded, and really only intended for slow speed use, such as walking or slow cycling with children. River trails and shared paths are not suitable for high volumes of commuter or utility cycling. The intent of the trial was to make Trenerry Crescent safer and more attractive for biking, thus leaving more space on the trails for people walking.
Why not expect people biking to use the overpass?
The existing overpass is a footbridge that is only approved for people walking. It’s not wide enough for people biking. It’s not compliant with modern standards for people walking or people using wheelchairs, which have a minimum width, a maximum slope, and require regular horizontal areas as rest stops.
An overpass that is suitable for for both walking and biking would be similar to the Jan Linzel viaduct, shown in the following video. The problem is that this overpass is reported to have costed 12 million Euro and took 9 years to deliver, compared with the $18 thousand cost for a 3 month trial of the road closure.
Why not retractable bollards?
Another option would be to use retractable bollards, as used in the Netherlands, which can allow a car through every 30 seconds. This would enable local residents to drive through, while dissuading commuter traffic. Combined with a 30 km/h speed limit, traffic volumes would be low enough for people biking to share the lane with people driving. The problem is that such bollards would cost over a million dollars and take more than a year to plan, approve and install.
Road Safety Study
In November 2021 council started a Road Safety Study of Trenerry Crescent.If the street needs to remain open to drivers, then a significant budget is going to be required to reconfigure the street to provide a safe environment for people walking and biking. Council doesn’t have the funds for this, so to be eligible for a grant, council needs to conduct a road safety study.
In 2020, Streets Alive Yarra supported the proposed trial of the closure of Trenerry Crescent to vehicle traffic, because it was a low cost trial for a limited duration, using an effective method of improving safety and amenity for people cycling, and liveability for local residents. We acknowledge that this would have required some driving trips to deviate to the adjacent Hoddle Street.
In 2021, Streets Alive Yarra supports the Road Safety Study of Trenerry Crescent. The street isn’t wide enough to support protected bike lanes on each side, and traffic volumes are too high to allow the use of advisory bike lanes (as used on Napier Street), so the most likely treatment is to convert the footpath to a 3 metre wide shared path:
How you can help
You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.