Rush hour protest looms as battle for future of Sydney Road heats up

In the five-year period ending December 2021, 73 accidents involving cyclists were reported on Sydney Road between Bell Street and Brunswick Road, 22 of which resulted in serious injury.

Sydney Road overhaul options released in 2019 by the state government included this one with wider pathways. Credit:VicRoads

And in 2015, a 25-year-old Italian visitor, Alberto Paulon, was cycling on Sydney Road in Brunswick when a motorist opened his door, knocking him under a passing lorry. Paulon, who was on his way to work with his fiancée, died.

Read said the closure of the Upfield Cycleway during construction of the elevated rail line meant cyclists needed an alternative route. “Building safe cycle paths, accessible tram stops and wider pathways with space for trees or street furniture would make this a more attractive destination rather than just a sewer.”

Labor candidate for Brunswick, Mike Williams, said a re-elected Andrews government would make Brunswick level crossings free by removing blockades on eight roads.

Williams said any significant changes to Sydney Road, including the reallocation of road space to provide protected cycle lanes, “would require careful consideration and investigation to strike a balance between the needs of all transport users, merchants and people who live in the community”.

Mike Williams, Labor candidate for Brunswick.

Mike Williams, Labor candidate for Brunswick.Credit:Labour Party

age contacted the Sydney Road Brunswick Association for comment.

Manager Troy Stuchbree declined to comment on whether removing parking on the Strip would be good for business, saying he couldn’t comment on a political issue.

The project to remove the level crossing in Brunswick is expected to last until 2027.

Program manager for the level crossing removal project, Andrew Pepplinkhouse, said the project was still in its planning phase and no construction contract had yet been awarded. He said the impact on the bike path of the Upfield Cycle Path was not yet clear.

The recent removal of four level crossings in Cobourg – which won a Planning Institute award this week – saw the Upfield Cycle Route in this area closed for over a year.

The ‘Critical Mass’ cycling protest will start at 5 p.m. at the State Library, descend the Royal Parade – where organizers also want Melbourne City Council to install protected cycle lanes – and is expected to end in Brunswick Park on Albion Street around 6 p.m.


Among the organizers of Friday’s event is Faith Hunter, host of the Merri-bek Bicycle User Group. She said the ride was intended to highlight the need for a safe and accessible Sydney road for all forms of transport.

“Without accessible tram stops and protected and safe cycle lanes for all members of the community, Sydney Road is missing,” Hunter said.

In 2019, the Department of Transport introduced the Sydney Road Improvement Project, and among the projects it considered included the removal of all on-street parking, the extension of footpaths and the installation of separate protected cycle paths.

Of the five options presented to locals, this received the most support. Then Roads Minister Jaala Pulford told Parliament in 2019 that the redevelopment of Sydney Road would not proceed without a business case and would only happen after the proposed Cobourg level crossing removal.

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