Cycling through the Montague-West Gate Freeway Intersection

Janet Bolitho prepared the following submission to the City of Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne wants to enable “residents on the periphery of the City of Melbourne and in neighbouring LGAs to access and travel through the CBD on a comprehensive network of high quality cycle routes“.

The Montague-West Gate Freeway intersection poses a significant barrier to cyclists accessing Docklands and the CBD from Port Melbourne and the south west.

This paper documents safety issues for cyclists accessing the City of Melbourne through this intersection.

Background and context

The Montague-West Gate Freeway intersection is one of the principal access points to Docklands, the City of Melbourne and the west from Port Melbourne and the south west.

The intersection is complex with numerous movements in multiple directions.

In a background report for the Department of Transport to the Fishermans Bend planning process,  GHD found that a total of 39,533 vehicles travelled through this intersection (two-way volume). 20,445 vehicles were recorded in the southbound direction and 19,088 vehicles were recorded in the northbound direction. [GHD for Department of Transport Fishermans Bend Traffic Study Final Report July 2013]

 This study is now five years old and traffic volumes would have increased since then with upgrades to the West Gate Freeway and population growth. Thee figures are quoted to give a sense of the volume of vehicle traffic through this intersection.

Cyclists were not included in that traffic count. Perhaps it was thought that cyclists would not use this intersection and prefer some alternate route. However, since this route is the most direct link between the west and the south west it is used by many cyclists who put their lives at risk every day.

Furthermore, the adopted and agreed Vision for Fishermans Bend is for a population of 80,000 people. With no fewer than 9 development applications of 40 levels in Normanby Road, immediately adjacent to this intersection, there will be significant further pressure on it. The Vision also has a target of 80% of trips to be made by active transport.

For the safety of current users and to keep faith with the vision for Fishermans Bend, supported by the City of Melbourne, safe access for cyclists must be provided through this intersection.

In addition to the issues documented below, many people who are familiar with the traffic light sequence cross against the lights since the wait time between signals is so long.

Some suggestions for immediate improvements are made, but a full safety and access audit needs to be undertaken.