Improvements to walking and cycling in Merri-bek

What we are doing

We’re working on ways to make it easier for our Merri-bek community to get around local neighbourhoods by walking and cycling as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions and beyond.

In July 2020, Council allocated an additional $1.68 million in the 20/21 budget to improve walking and cycling in Merri-bek.

These include implementing trial bike lanes, new zebra crossings and pedestrian thresholds, and seeking Department of Transport approval to trial shared zones, to reduce speeds on local residential streets, and introduce right-turn bans at key intersections on tram corridors. 

You can find more about each individual project outlined below.

Why do we need these walking and cycling improvements? 

The Victorian COVID-19 state of emergency is impacting the way we travel and move around. In July 2020, Council approved a number of trial projects to encourage and support the community to move around safely by walking and cycling during COVID-19. Council’s 2020/21 budget includes $1.68 million to deliver these projects.

We want to:

  • Encourage local trips to jobs, services and facilities by walking and cycling.
  • Make cycling safe, comfortable (especially for those less confident) and a preferred mode of travel in Merri-bek.
  • Establish high-quality pedestrian routes and places that are safe, comfortable and accessible.
  • Create efficient routes that will cater to social distancing requirements.
  • Avoid a significant increase in congestion on our roads as COVID-19 restrictions ease and public transport is still running at reduced capacity
  • Promote physical and mental health

What consultation has been done?

To respond quickly to the need to support safe movement of pedestrians and cyclists during COVID-19, Council has not conducted community consultation prior to approving these projects, including some trial projects which impact on-street car parking spaces. 

The bike lane and shared zone projects are being delivered as trials and using materials that can be modified or removed depending on the outcomes of the trials, which are expected to run between 12 months to two years. All other projects are permanent.

We will be inviting you to share your feedback and experiences of walking and cycling in Merri-bek using our new separated bike lanes and shared zones. Your feedback will help us to monitor the trials and make adjustments or improvements before any permanent decisions are made.

What are the timeframes for these improvements?

These projects are currently being designed and some must first be approved by the state Department of Transport. This page will be updated with more detail on expected timeframes as this work progresses.

Upcoming walking and cycling improvement projects include:

  • Trial bicycle lanes

    Trial separated bicycles lanes on Dawson Street, Brunswick

    One of the ways we are trialling improvements to cycling and road safety is by introducing separated bicycle lanes on Dawson Street, Brunswick between the two existing cycling routes, the Upfield Shared Path and the West Brunswick shimmy.

    The new trial separated bicycle lane in Dawson Street will connect the Upfield shared path with the West Brunswick Shimmy, and will also make it easier for students to cycle to Brunswick Secondary College.

    The West Brunswick Shimmy is a “low stress” cycling route that is suitable for less confident cyclists and runs from Royal Park up through backstreets such as Barry Street and up to Coburg through Gilpin Park.

    The trial separated bicycle lanes in Dawson Street, Brunswick will be installed between the Upfield Railway Line and Barry Street (approximately 540 metres).

    When will construction start and finish?

    Construction works are expected to begin in February 2021 and be completed by March.

    What changes will occur in this street?

    Separated bicycle lanes will be installed on both sides of Dawson Street between the railway line and Barry Street / Pottery Court.

    Due to the width of Dawson Street, it is not possible to install the bicycle lane without removing on-street parking spaces.

    This project is being designed to minimise impact on parking however will involve the removal of about 40 parking spaces generally on the north side of the street. The number of spaces that will be affected will be confirmed when the design is finalised, including ensuring a safe outcome for cyclists and bus passengers.

    Dawson Street will still have some on-street parking and traffic lanes in both directions (including bus routes).

    Project spend

    Council investment: $105,000

    See the designs for this pop up separated bicycle lane project.

    Extending the Coburg to Glenroy Bicycle Link through Pascoe Vale

    We have recently completed construction of a shared path on Rhodes Parade along the south side of the Northern Golf Club. This is part of a shared path linking to the Glenroy Activity Centre (along Rhodes Parade, Cardinal Road and Glenroy Road).

    The new trial separated bicycle lanes in Northumberland Road and Kent Road, Pascoe Vale will extend the Coburg to Glenroy bicycle link through Pascoe Vale. This means we will have a low-stress bicycle route which connects the Glenroy Activity Centre and Rhodes Parade, to Cumberland Road.

    This will connect to bicycle improvements that will be delivered by the state government further towards Coburg. This will also provide better cycling connections to Pascoe Vale Girls College and Cole Reserve.

    The separated bicycle lanes will be installed on Northumberland Road, Pascoe Vale from Rhodes Parade to KW Joyce Reserve (approximately 300 metres) and on Kent Road, Pascoe Vale between KW Joyce Reserve and Cumberland Road (approximately 300 metres).

    We are also constructing a shared path in KW Joyce Reserve that will link the bike lanes in Northumberland Road and Kent Road.

    When will construction start and finish?

    Construction will begin in late January 2021 and will be completed in late February 2021.

    What changes will occur to these streets?

    These projects have been designed to minimise impact on parking.

    The Northumberland Road bicycle lanes will remove approximately 22 parking spaces on the east side of the road to create a two-way separated bicycle lane on the east side of the road. Previous investigations by Council have found there are generally plenty of available parking spaces in this area except at school pick up and drop off times.

    The Kent Road bicycle lanes will retain most of the parking on both sides of the street however 4 spaces will be removed close to the intersections of Cornwall Street and Cumberland Road.  Kent Road will have separated bicycle lanes on both sides of the road.

    Both streets will remain as two-way streets for cars and other vehicles.

    Project spend

    Council investment: $326,000


    See the designs for this cycling improvement project.

    Safer cycling on Albion Street, Brunswick

    We are trialling green treatment and rubber kerbing along the bicycle lanes on Albion Street, Brunswick between the Upfield railway line and Sydney Road (approximately 200 metres), and banning parking in these bicycle lanes.

    This means removing the limited (4 to 5 spaces) of parking in this part of Albion Street to make this area safer for cyclists – most of the parking in this area is already No Stopping or a Bus Zone (which will not be changed).

    This section of Albion Street connects cyclists diverting from the temporary closure of the Upfield shared path north of Tinning Street (due to Level Crossing Removal Project works), to the shared path on Albion Street east of Sydney Road. This shared path provides connections to the detour route along Barrow Street and other streets that may be used by cyclists, such as De Carle Street.

    The width of the street does not allow for full physical separation of cyclists from traffic however rubber kerbing will be provided that makes the bicycle lane more visible and encourages drivers to leave space for cyclists. Banning parking on the short stretch of the street where it is currently allowed will also mean cyclists won’t need to go around parked cars and into the path of traffic.

    Council investment: $40,000

    Estimated completion date: November 2020

    See the design for this safer cycling project

  • Trial shared zones in Albert Street and Victoria Street, Brunswick East

    New shared zones in Brunswick East will make it easier for people to access Fleming Park by foot or bicycle and will make the streets safer for locals by reducing the amount of through traffic through residential streets, while still allowing vehicle access for anybody who needs it.

    These projects will also make it easier and safer for cyclists to travel along the East Brunswick Shimmy which runs north-south through Fleming Park. The East Brunswick Shimmy is a recommended cycling route through quieter backstreets that helps cyclists avoid main roads.

    We are conducting a trial of shared zones using “pop up” materials on Albert Street and Victoria Street, Brunswick East near where the shared path runs through Fleming Park. This is similar to an approach being taken by the City of Melbourne and City of Wyndham as part of their response to COVID-19.

    The length of the shared zones will be approximately 120 metres on Albert Street and 80 metres on Victoria Street – they will not affect the whole street.

    A shared zone is an area that is shared by all road users and vehicles (including cyclists) must give way to pedestrians. In the shared zone, the speed limit for vehicles (including cyclists) will be 20km/h. Speed humps will be used at the edges of the shared zones to slow down traffic. In addition, planter boxes and parklets will be placed on the road and the road surface will be painted with a colourful pattern to show this is not a normal stretch of road.

    We will also be incorporating public art as part of this to create a vibrant place for residents and other locals to enjoy.

    When will construction start and finish?

    Construction will occur between February 2021 and April 2021.

    What changes will occur in these streets?

    Both streets will be remain two-way streets with full access for all vehicles, however vehicles (including cyclists) will need to slow down to 20km/h when within the shared zone. No changes to speed limits are being made to other parts of these streets as part of this project.

    These projects have been designed to minimise impacts on parking and will retain some parking within the shared zones. The number of parking spaces in the area will be reduced by about 20, however these shared zones will allow us to move around safer and make our streets quieter.

    Project spend

    Council investment: $150,000

  • Right turn bans along tram corridors in Brunswick 

    One part of Council’s transport response to COVID-19 was to seek approval to introduce right hand turn bans at key intersections along Sydney Road, Lygon Street and Nicholson Street, generally during peak times only.

    These turn bans will improve pedestrian and cyclist safety by reducing conflict with turning vehicles and will also reduce delay to trams and other traffic. These changes may mean you will need to take a slightly different route when travelling in peak times and this may result in some increase in your travel time.

    These changes have been approved by the Department of Transport and right-hand turns are banned in the following locations, effective as soon as ‘No Right Turns’ signs are installed.





    Sydney Road


    Union Street

    PM (4-6pm)


    Barkly Street

    PM (4-6pm)

    Lygon Street


    Albert Street

    AM (4-6pm)


    Albert Street

    PM (4-6pm)


    Edward Street

    AM (7-9am)


    Edward Street

    PM (4-6pm)


    Barkly Street

    AM (7-9am)


    Barkly Street

    PM (4-6pm)

    Nicholson Street


    Victoria Street

    AM (7-9am)


    Albert Street

    AM (7-9am)


  • Zebra Crossing blitz 

    We are installing approximately 50 new zebra crossings at various intersections and roundabouts across Merri-bek, prioritising locations within activity centres and on what are known as Principal Pedestrian Network routes.

    The exact number and location of new crossings is subject to cost and approval by the state Department of Transport and will be confirmed when the crossings are designed and approved.

    The zebra crossings will make it easier and safer for people to cross the road, particularly for people who need a bit more time, such as elderly people, families with children and people with disabilities. They will also send a visual signal that walking is encouraged, and that drivers and cyclists need to look out for pedestrians.

    Subject to approval from the Department of Transport, these zebra crossings will also include some splashes of colour (next to the crossings, not on them) designed by Council’s Artists in Residence.

    This project will have no impact on car parking.

    Council investment: $400,000 (additional funding is also being sought from the state government)

    Estimated completion date: Delivered progressively from December 2020 to June 2021

  • New pedestrian thresholds

    We are installing approximately 5 new pedestrian thresholds at various locations, prioritising Principal Pedestrian Network routes as well as routes to schools. The exact number and location of the new thresholds is subject to design and cost and will be confirmed later.

    A pedestrian threshold is where the surface of a road is raised at the intersection, encouraging drivers and cyclists to slow down when turning and look for pedestrians. This improves safety, as well as accessibility by providing a continuous surface for pedestrians (without ramps).

    This project will have no impact on car parking.

    Council investment: $400,000 (additional funding is also being sought from the state government)

    Estimated completion date: Delivered progressively from February 2021 to June 2021

  • Improving cyclist safety in the Boundary Road, Pascoe Vale bicycle lanes

    We are trialling a of ban on on-street parking on Boundary Road, Pascoe Vale / Coburg North / Hadfield between the Upfield Railway Line and West Street Pascoe Vale, to improve safety for cyclists using the Boundary Road bicycle lanes.

    This will not impact any on-street parking at the shops across the road from Westbreen Primary School, or the indented parking bays near the shops across the road from Hallam Reserve.

    Boundary Road has bicycle lanes for most of its length however parking has been allowed in these lanes. This means cyclists need to go into the path of traffic to get around parked cars on an arterial road with a 60km/h speed limit.

    In general, very few of the spaces along Boundary Road are in use, as most properties have off-street parking and there is also parking available in side streets.

    Making it safer for cyclists to use Boundary Road provides more east-west travel options in Merri-bek’s north. This also complements the recent extension of the Coburg to Glenroy Bicycle Link with the new shared path along Rhodes Parade, the upcoming extension along Northumberland Road, KW Joyce Reserve and Kent Road, and future improvements in Fawkner as well as the state government’s upgrades and extension of the Upfield shared path.

    Council will receive a report on whether to continue with this trial within 3 months of the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency.

    Estimated completion date: October 2020

  • Purchasing land for a footpath on Stewart Street, Brunswick East 

    Council is purchasing land on the south side of Stewart Street, Brunswick East between Nicholson Street and Ryan Street in order to construct a footpath.

    Currently there is no footpath on the south side of the street and only a very narrow footpath on the north side.

    Once the land is purchased a footpath will be design and is planned to be constructed in 2021-22.

    Estimated completion date: June 2021