August 2021: the long running accessibility issue at Gipps Street / Main Yarra trail approach to Collins Bridge, connecting Abbotsford and Kew over the Yarra River has moved to a Planning Application at the City of Yarra.
Over 16 years since Yarra Bicycle Users Group held a Gipps Street Steps campaign day on 20 March 2005 at Abbotsford, a satisfactory resolution to this impasse maybe in sight for walkers, riders, dogs and local wildlife.
Like many who are tired of this issue, that is unfortunately similar to the situation facing the nearby Walmer Street Bridge, dragging on seemingly for eternity, we hope the ramps construction does actually commence within this state governments electoral term
Gipps Street / Collins Bridge back history*
*By no means completely exhaustive but provides a backgrounder to how long this saga has stretched on
City of Yarra – Advertised planning applications: Road Seg 200 – 223 Gipps Street, 81and 81a Victoria Crescent and Main Yarra Trail , Abbotsford. Permit number: PLN21/0208. The responsible authority won’t make a decision before: Tuesday 31 August 2021
Media Release: More Support For Melbourne’s Beloved Green Spaces (July 2021) “Funding of $5.2 million has been provided for construction of a ramp at Gipps Street on the main Yarra Trail adding to the $3.3 million invested for design and consultation. The ramp will replace the existing stairs and improve access for wheelchair users, cyclists and parents with prams.”
Bicycle Network: Gipps Street Steps “Bike riders have to carry their bike up and down three flights of steep steps to access on of Melbourne’s most popular bike routes, the Main Yarra Trail.”
Hansen: Gipps Street Ramp “Six years in the making, and involving extensive collaboration between Hansen’s landscape architecture and planning teams as well as Yarra City Council, Parks Victoria and Melbourne Water, the project will deliver a much needed upgrade to better connect the existing Main Yarra Trail to Gipps Street via a contiguous trail.”
Contract Awarded – ITS2-00228: December 2020, Gipps Street Ramp Engineering Design Services
Tenders Victoria: November 2020, Procurement of Structural and Civil Engineering design services for the Gipps Street Ramp Project “Gipps Street ramp engineering design servicesIssued By Parks Victoria”
Update! Gipps Street, Abbotsford: “So you’ve been wondering what’s happening with Gipps Street, Abbotsford for over a decade? Parks Victoria have just announced news about building an all ability access ramp plus four weeks of consultation via survey. It appears the planets have finally aligned!”
Parks Victoria: “If you have ever lugged your bike or a pram up the Gipps Street steps in Abbotsford, relief is on its way. Parks Victoria is planning an all ability access ramp to replace the Gipps Street steps and give better access for everyone to enjoy the Main Yarra Trail. To have your say on the plan to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety and open a new viewing platform for visitors to this stretch of the Yarra River, complete the survey here http://bit.ly/2tOjLBs“
Gipps Street Steps planned to be upgraded to ramp “After more than a decade of lobbying, inter-organisation planning, couple of false starts and some general hubris, the Gipps Street Steps in Abbotsford are planned to be redeveloped by Parks Victoria into an accessible ramp for all path users.”
Parks Victoria: Gipps Street Ramp “Planning has resumed to replace the Gipps Street steps on the Main Yarra Trail at Abbotsford with an elevated shared path ramp. Once complete, the new ramp will provide improved accessibility and a more enjoyable experience for all users of the Main Yarra Trail.”
The Age: Cyclists fume over missing link back-pedal (Octber 2014): Cycling advocates have slammed the Victorian government over its failure to make good on a promise it made three years ago to fix a missing link in one of Melbourne’s premier off-road bike trails.
The Age: Project bridges missing bike link: (September 2012) The Baillieu government has responded to sustained public pressure and committed to building a bridge that will connect a missing link on one of Melbourne’s premier bike trails. More than $250,000 has been allocated to Parks Victoria to begin building a bridge across the Yarra River in Abbotsford, at a spot where cyclists currently have to walk their bikes up or down steps. It is expected the bridge will be built by 2014.
The Age: Yarra trail rides high on Evans win: (July 2011) “the final piece of Melbourne’s most popular bike trail is set to be completed in the wake of Cadel Evans’s historic Tour de France win. The Baillieu government last night announced it would proceed with a $4.3 million project to build a bridge over the Yarra River in Abbotsford after inquiries from The Age.
Earlier in the day the plan had won support from those closest to Evans, including his mother Helen Cocks, a keen cyclist who said her son would wholeheartedly back any plan to improve the path. The bridge will be built to service the Capital City bike trail and the Yarra bike trail, which runs for about 35 kilometres from the city along the river to Templestowe and is used by thousands of Melburnians each day.
But a 10-metre-high staircase in Abbotsford means riders must carry their bikes up 42 steps to Gipps Street before rejoining the path. Last August the Labor government unveiled a plan to build a $4.1 million bridge this year from Clarke Street that would save riders the climb.”
Boroondara Bicycle Users Group: State government announces $150,000 in funding for the design of Clarke St Bridge as Gipps Street Stairs bypass.
Melbourne Times: The path to a better bike path: “At the base of Gipps Street, Abbotsford, there are 41 obstacles – the number of steps city-bound cyclists have to climb with bikes in hand. Another problem is the demanding one-kilometre hill climb that immediately follows, on the Kew side. For a fit rider it’s an effort, but for a casual cyclist or a child the steps and the hill are daunting and dangerous, Barnett says. “It is much more of a workout than people expect.” These are not the only obstacles along the trail. Barnett says another set of stairs under the Chandler Highway in Kew – are high on most path users’ list of pet hates.
During Bike Path Discovery Day in 2005, puffed-out commuters snapped up 200 leaflets from BUG members at the top of the stairs. The campaigners even had to help several riders carry their bikes up.”
Remember that media op on the Abbotsford path on drizzly Sunday 14 May 2006 with Peter Batchelor, John Thwaites and a bunch of recreational riders? We do!
The Age: Pedal-pushing councils break pollution cycle (15 May 2006) “Yesterday, their transport strategies received a vote of confidence when the State Government announced a $72 million boost in funding for bike paths. The money is to be spent over 10 years, and will be used to upgrade on-road bike lanes and off-road bike trails to make them safer for commuters and families and establish more direct routes around Melbourne. The funding boost was announced on the Capital City Trail in Abbotsford, where a much-loathed set of steps is to be replaced by a ramp.”
Photo from YarraBUG’s Gipps Street Steps Campaign held March 20th, 2005 during Bike Path Discovery Day
Gipps Street Steps – Meet Richard Wynne (December 2005) “Message from Mark Dixon, Bicycle Victoria, also refer to YarraBUG Campaigns for updates, Hi all, We are holding a small event on the Gipps St steps next Wednesday. Bicycle Victoria and Richard Wynne, Member for Richmond will be handing out juices to morning commuters climbing the steps.”
Yarra Bicycle Users Group – Gipps Street Steps Campaign (pdf) There are three major cycling/accessibly issues in Gipps Street area requiring major infrastructure funding (Melways 44 F6):
a). Poor condition of Collins Bridge, (Note: completed July 2005)
b). Re-development of three flights of steep concrete steps on the Yarra Trail, (refer to attached October 2005 Media Release from Richard Wynne MHR)
c). The proposed Gipps St-Flockhart bike path extension.
March 2005: YarraBUG Gipps Street Steps Campaign Leaflet (pdf)