Whiteman St cycling lanes open
By David Schout
Southbank’s expanding cycling network grew further in October, with the unveiling of new bike lanes on Whiteman St.
The kerbside protected cycling lanes, travelling in both directions between Clarendon and Queensbridge streets, provide better connections for local cyclists into the CBD.
Those travelling from Port Melbourne can now, for example, use the existing shared path on Normanby Rd, onto the new lanes on Whiteman St, before merging onto recently-completed protected lanes on Queensbridge St into William St.
Large portions of the new Whitman St lanes will be “protected” — that is, will provide cyclists with a physical (kerb-high) barrier to motor vehicles — although some short sections will be painted lanes.
The space required for the new lanes will see a reduction of traffic lanes along the route and intersections.
In some parts of Whiteman St that will see a reduction from three motor vehicle lanes to two, and in other parts from two to one.
A “key taxi waiting area” on the street’s northern side will be removed to accommodate the new lanes, and be relocated to Queensbridge St.
The new lanes will play an important diverging role.
According to City of Melbourne documents, the design allowed commuter bicycle traffic to “safely bypass the congested shared space on Southbank Promenade”.
A 2020 BikeSpot survey completed by more than 6000 cyclists rated Southbank Promenade in the top 10 scariest cycling spots in Melbourne.
Research conducted as part of the council’s 10-year transport strategy released in 2019 suggested four in 10 people found cycling in Melbourne “unsafe and intimidating”.
As such, it committed to 40 kilometres of new cycling lanes across the city.
The rollout was fast-tracked in 2020 during Melbourne’s extended COVID-19 lockdown periods, and at one stage the council was installing more than 500 metres of new bike lanes each week.
It has also committed to, wherever possible, provide physical separation from cars •
“Kerbside protected bike lanes encourage people who are less confident or new to bike riding to feel safe when they are riding in the city,” the council has previously said.
“The separator islands are manufactured off site and can be installed quickly.”
Northbound bike lanes on St Kilda Rd (from Park St to Princes Bridge) are the next piece in Southbank’s rollout, proposed to be installed in “early 2022”.
The lane would provide a “safe cycling link along this section of road, which has a history for car-dooring type collisions”.
Caption: The new lanes will better connect local cyclists with the CBD (Pictures: Twitter, @bikemelbourne, @RohanLeppert).