Collingwood will have separated Copenhagen-style bike lanes along Wellington Street after Yarra City Council voted in favour of building them at a meeting on Tuesday night.
The proposal succeeded by the narrowest possible margin. Four councillors voted for the lanes and four against, with Yarra mayor Cr Jackie Fristacky casting the deciding vote in favour of the plan.
The vote also split along party lines, with two Greens councillors voting for and three Labor councillors against, in part due to concerns about loss of parking spaces.
In total, 117 parking spaces will make way for the separated lanes, mostly on the western side of Wellington Street, after a study found more local businesses used the street’s eastern side for parking.
The lanes will run along part of Wellington Street from Johnston Street to Victoria Parade, forming part of an almost continuous separated route into the city that includes the Albert Street bike lanes in East Melbourne.
Cr Fristacky said building the lanes was a progressive move aimed at reducing congestion, in line with the City of Melbourne’s recent decision to build Copenhagen lanes along Latrobe Street.
“It’s a forward-looking decision anticipating the ongoing major increase in cycling as a form of transport in Melbourne,” Cr Fristacky said.
“Yarra has the highest proportion of people who cycle to work in Australia. More than two in every five residents walk, cycle or catch public transport to work,” she said.
Cr Fristacky said the lanes would make cycling safer, which would in turn encourage more riders.
“Our aim, as set out in our bicycle strategy, is for Yarra to [more than] double the rate of residents cycling to work from 6.4 per cent to 15 per cent by 2015. This is not only a healthy option but helps to reduce traffic congestion on our local roads.”
Adam Carey, The Age, February 20, 2013