Melbourne’s Yarra City Council has resolved to retain, and make permanent, its protected bike lanes along Elizabeth Street, following the completion of a trial introduced in July 2020.
The lane was originally intended as a 12-month trial and, in late 2021, was extended for another 12 months after the council considered community feedback.
“Data from the trial shows that the number of women and children using the upgraded bike lanes has increased significantly, which is important as these groups are underrepresented as a proportion of all cyclists in Yarra,” according to a report presented to a council meeting on 18th April 2023.
“Protected bike lanes are safer for cyclists to use and will encourage more people of all ages and abilities to ride, which is a key objective of the Yarra Transport Strategy.
“The protected bike lanes have also slowed down traffic and reduced the risk of fatal accidents for motorists and pedestrians.”
The report says community feedback from an extensive community engagement process shows support for protected bike lanes on Elizabeth Street.
“Council will now explore opportunities to secure funding to replace the existing temporary infrastructure with longer-term kerbed bike lanes, along with tree plantings, landscaping, and other street feature upgrades,” the report adds.
According to council data, more than 1,000 cyclists and 10,000 motorists travel along Elizabeth Street each day.
During the trial, the council planted more than 40 new trees in Elizabeth Street to provide green canopy along the road and foreshadowed planting another 30 within safety buffer zones if the cycleway became permanent.
Minimal Recognition in Electrify Everything Campaign
The Yarra council this week launched its involvement in a national local government campaign for households to move towards electric appliances and vehicles.
The Electrify Everything program includes materials encouraging households to purchase and use e-bikes. However, it falls short of providing any incentives for their purchase, while assistance is available from the Yarra council and Victorian Government to buy electrical household appliances and photovoltaic equipment for solar power.
It also promotes the Victorian Government $3,000 subsidy for residents to buy electric cars priced up to $68,740.
The campaign and its minimal inclusion of e-bikes comes amid the micromobility sector’s criticism of the Federal Government’s failure to mention e-bikes in its recently released National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
Better Cycleway at New Brisbane Bridge
The Queensland Government has announced an upgrade of cycling and walking infrastructure as part of a new three-lane Centenary Bridge at Jindalee.
Work started last month on the $298.5 million project and will include improved connections to the Western Freeway Bikeway and local destinations, including retention of the Jindalee Skate Park.