Harris St/ Cowper St Redevelopment Proposal – BikeWest Submission

Maribyrnong City Council Proposal

Maribyrnong Council is proposing to close Harris St to motor vehicle traffic between Cowper St and Hyde St and this area will be redeveloped for pedestrian and cyclist traffic, and landscaped to create an open space for community use.

The proposed closure is planned to facilitate a new cycling and pedestrian bridge to be built over Whitehall Street as part of the West Gate Tunnel Project. The new bridge which will link Yarraville Gardens and the Maribyrnong River, with cycling facilities along Hyde Street from Somerville Road. Our understanding is the current design has a shared use path along the western side of Yarraville Gardens along Hyde St and then the northern side of Yarraville Gardens along Harris St to an overpass across Whitehall St.

BikeWest Feedback

The proposed cycle track around Yarraville Gardens has the potential to be a high quality bicycle infrastructure that is an asset to the community and encourage more people to cycle. However, BikeWest feels strongly several important alterations must be made to improve the comfort and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists to ensure its success in accordance with the Safe System approach which is common internationally and has been adopted in principle in Australia but not in practice.

Proposed Alterations to Proposed Cowper St Plan

The installation of a separate cycle track between the current footpath and parking on Hyde St will improve comfort and safety for both pedestrians and bicyclists while keeping existing traffic lanes.

Figure 8: Example of a cycling track separated from the road by car parking. Proposed arrangement for Hyde St. by BikeWest

This alternative also keeps the existing power and communications poles along Hyde St as well as the mature trees thereby saving approximately $420,000. This will help the other proposed alternation of a corner with a larger radius at the intersection of Hyde St and Harris St which will improve sight lines and safety. The cycle track along Harris St should have barriers to prevent pedestrians crossing at other points than the designated crossing point, will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Protected Pedestrian Crossing location

The Whitehall St Overpass should then be widened to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as per Shepherds Bridge.

Using Maribyrnong Council’s endorsed Transport System Hierarchy as a guide, Cowper St should also be redesigned to remove 10 car parks and install 50 bicycle hoops to encourage people to access Yarraville Gardens by bicycle. The footpath on the eastern side of Cowper St should be widened and be designated a shared pedestrian bicycle path which can continue to protected paths all the way to Parker St.

The combination of this proposed alternations will dramatically improve comfort and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists lowering stress for motorised vehicles as there is less potential conflict with vulnerable road users.

Further Reading

BikeWest submission in full http://bikewest.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/BikeWest-Harris-St-Cowper-St-submission20200721.pdf