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As well as create more space to help cyclists maintain physical distance, the plan is also part of the city’s 10-year roadmap for Melbourne to become a premier cycling city.
The City of Melbourne is fast-tracking 40km of new bike lanes to help people travel safely and support city businesses to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
They will be built in two stages, with the first 20km delivered in 2020-21, through a $16m investment.
Lord mayor Sally Capp said research shows that it’s essential to create physical protection from motor vehicles to encourage more people to ride in the central city.
She said: “These priority routes will better connect suburbs like Carlton, East Melbourne, North Melbourne, Brunswick and West Melbourne to the central city.
"This will complement the work we’re already doing on bicycle routes to the south of the city such as Kavanagh Street, Alexandra Avenue, Linlithgow Avenue and Southbank Boulevard."
Plastics, rubber and recycled materials than can be installed quickly will be used to accelerate creation of the bike lanes.
“The infrastructure we install will be functional for years to come and can be progressively replaced with fixed lanes over time as required," said transport portfolio chair councillor Nicolas Frances Gilley.
The City of Melbourne is working with the Victorian Government to fast-track protected bike lanes on key routes to maximise safety for bike riders without impacting heavily on vehicles.
“The infrastructure we install will be functional for years to come and can be progressively replaced with fixed lanes over time as required"
Gilley explained that these routes are already earmarked in its Transport Strategy 2030, which sets out a 10-year roadmap for Melbourne to become a premier cycling city with a network of protected cycling lanes and intersections, lots of bike parking and facilities for cyclists.
“We’ve seen other leading cities around the world such as Paris, London and Milan successfully integrate cycling as a key mode of transport to reduce congestion and accommodate growth,” he said.
"Our first project will be to install 3.5km of protected bike lanes along Rathdowne and Exhibition streets. This is one of the most important routes for cycling to the city from the north, but is currently unsafe with sections of the street having no protected bike lanes.
"As well as creating physically separated bike lanes on Rathdowne Street, we will upgrade intersections further north along Canning Street. The works will be completed in stages over the coming months."
The City of Melbourne is investing $41m in transport initiatives in 2020-21, including investing $6.9m to renew roadways along William Street, between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, and improving footpaths on Canning and Queensberry Streets in Carlton.
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