One design would see new bicycle lanes and tram stops elevated and on-street parking entirely removed, while other options would remove just some parking, or allow parking outside of peak hour only.
In the five years to December 2018, there were 223 crashes between Park and Bell streets. Of these, 90 involved cyclists.
The study conducted online between March and April this year and answered mostly by residents in Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West and Coburg, shows that cyclists prefer to use the Upfield bike path, with 62 per cent of riders using the route at least a few times a week.
Four years after cyclist Alberto Paulon was killed in a dooring incident on Sydney Road in 2015, Brunswick’s Green MP Tim Read and the Bicycle Network are calling for fully-protected bike lanes to be built as soon as possible.
Mr Read said as the number of apartments continued to grow in Brunswick, people were increasingly ditching their cars.
“VicRoads and the government have been dragging their heels on this,” Mr Read said, but noted he was pleased to see some designs for cycling lanes put forward.
For inner-northern commuters, it often took the same amount of time to get to the city on a bike compared with overcrowded trams and trains in peak hour, “so if given the choice, you might as well breathe your own air,” he said.
There are no protected bike lanes in the Brunswick electorate, despite more people riding to work from that suburb than anywhere else in Australia.
The Moonee Ponds and Merri Creek off-road trails serve the the western edge of Brunswick West and the eastern edge of Brunswick East respectively. But the primary north-south cycling commuter routes that link up to the CBD include Lygon Street, Sydney Road and the congested off-street Upfield bike path.
This is the first year that Brunswick resident Tessa Fluence’s 12-year-old son Leo is no longer allowed by law to ride his bike on the footpath to get to school.
While Leo’s bike is his primary form of transport (he has not once used public transport) Ms Fluence won’t let him ride on Sydney Road, where she has nearly been doored several times.
“It’s the luck of the draw,” she said of any cyclist’s fate on Sydney Road. “A lot of cars see bikes as invisible, especially on Sydney Road, which is so congested.”
But Ms Fluence is also concerned about his safety on the Upfield bike path, which is less than a metre wide in some sections.
Bicycle Network’s chief executive Craig Richards said Melbourne was at risk of “losing its status as Australia’s bike capital”.
“It’s been almost five years since Alberto Paulon was killed while riding on Sydney Road,” he said. “It’s mind-boggling that we don’t have proper bike lanes yet.”
A government spokeswoman said a report on public feedback on proposed Sydney Road upgrades would be released next month.
“Sydney Road is one of Melbourne’s busiest transport corridors, so it’s important we get it right and balance the needs of traders, drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and the local community.”
Each day, 2200 cyclists travel on the Upfield shared path and 900 cyclists travel on Sydney Road.
Timna Jacks is Transport Reporter at The Age