Service upgrades: Bus lanes to be added to Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade and major tram works planned for Carlton and Fitzroy

Herald Sun: Service upgrades: Bus lanes to be added to Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade and major tram works planned for Carlton and Fitzroy. James Campbell. State Politics Editor

An artist’s impression of the planned bicycle lanes for Alexandra Parade. Source: Supplied

Dedicated bus lanes will be added to Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade within two years, while major upgrades to tram services along Lygon, Brunswick and Smith Streets in Carlton and Fitzroy will be completed by 2019 under plans to be unveiled by the State Government.

The $100m public transport boost, to be announced Sunday, will also see a major rejuvenation of Alexandra Parade including the planting of canopy trees and the installation of bicycle lanes when the East West Link project finished in 2019.

Premier Denis Napthine said the Government wanted to turn Alexandra Parade into one Melbourne’s most scenic streets to rival Royal Parade and St Kilda Road

“As part of the East West Link package we will be able to plant canopy trees along Alexandra Parade, to reinstate its boulevard character, improving the design of intersections and developing beautiful open spaces for people to enjoy,” he said.

“The Alexandra Parade urban renewal will help turn it from a heavily congested inner city arterial road into a vibrant boulevard.”

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Dr Napthine said the Government would consult with bicycle Victoria and Yarra Council on a new dedicated bicycle path which would run along Alexandra Parade and link with the local bicycle network, the Yarra Trail and Royal Park to the Moonee Ponds Creek.

Building East West Link will require the temporary realignment of Alexandra Parade with the $32 million beautification project to begin when the tunnel is finished and road is returned to its original course.

Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the package included a $47 million upgrade of the Doncaster Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus service.

“We will upgrade DART with new bus lanes along Hoddle Street and upgraded bus stops, including a new free-flowing exit off the Eastern Freeway,” he said.

The DART bus route will also be changed slightly, turning left into Macarthur St then right into Albert St and onto Lonsdale St, thereby avoiding the horror intersection of Victoria Parade and Nicholson St.

Despite installing bus lanes on Hoddle Street and Victoria Parade by removing parking on the north side of the median strip, the Government has promised there will be no loss of car lanes on either street.

“We will consult relevant councils about these improvements, which are designed to preserve all existing running lanes for cars.”

Mr Mulder said there already some 3.8 million passenger trips on DART each year and these works would reduce delays, improve reliability and create the potential for bus services.

Work on the bus lanes will begin this year and be finished by 2016.

Tram services running north/south across Alexandra Parade are set to be given $29 million improvements under today’s package.

The Government estimates that East West Link is finished it will reduce the traffic on Alexandra Parade by 30 per cent which will make it possible to reset the traffic lights on Lygon St, Nicholson St, Brunswick St and Smith St giving more priority to trams.

Tram priority lanes and superstops, similar to the works currently underway on Nicholson St, will also be installed, though the Government says there still be two car lanes on all the routes.

The Government says the money for the project is coming from the $6 billion to $8 billion it estimates the East West Link will cost.

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