Melbourne Is Getting a 2.5-Kilometre Elevated Bicycle Highway
The 'veloway' will sit above Footscray Road as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Cyclists in the city could soon find themselves with their heads in the clouds, with Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday announcing that the State Government will build an elevated bicycle highway in Melbourne's inner west. If you're a regular commuter cyclist from Footscray, Yarraville or Werribee, this should be music to your just-beeped-at ears.
The proposal — which was floated by the government in June last year — is set to come to life as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project, which will see a four-kilometre tunnel and freeway above Footscray Road be built as an alternative to the always-congested West Gate Bridge. The two-and-a-half-kilometre cycling 'veloway' — starting at Footscray's Shepherd's Bridge and finishing on Dudley Street in Docklands — will sit above Footscray Road, elevated from street-level and underneath the future flyover.
As well as allowing cyclists to skip traffic lights and get to the city much faster, the separation of cyclists and motor vehicles will significantly increase the safety of those on their bikes. While Footscray Road does have a bike lane, the new elevated infrastructure will allow cyclists to bypass dodgy intersections (like at Sims Street and Shepherd Bridge) and more fluidly connect with other major bike paths, such as the Capital City Trail.
The Footscray Road bike path won't be disused though — in fact, it will be widened. And with the new flyover road and the 24/7 truck ban that is set to be instated on surrounding Francis Street, Somerville Road, Buckley Street and Moore Street, we're guessing it will be a bit less precarious too.
The West Gate Tunnel Project now has to be assessed through an Environment Effects Statement (EES), with construction set to start in early 2018. It's very focused on car transport, so we're happy to see that cycling infrastructure is getting a look-in too. The more we can do to encourage people to give up their cars for a healthier, more environmentally-friendly form of transportation, the better.
Via The Age. Image: Yarra River Business Association.