The designs of the contentious Sturt Street bike paths have been unveiled, detailing exactly how cyclists will be expected to travel down the iconic stretch of road.
Minister for Roads, Road Safety and the TAC Jaala Pulford announced the designs at the corner of Sturt Street and Talbot Street on Friday.
"It's really exciting to be here today with Juliana (Addison) and Michaela (Settle) with the final designs for the bike path which will make it so much easier for people with prams, people on foot and people on bikes to get around central Ballarat," she said.
The new design shows an upgrade to the existing path running along the southern side of the Sturt Street median strip, which will be widened to provide a safety buffer between motorists and path users.
HAVE YOUR SAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY
As a result, the driving lanes of the road will shrink to allow for the widening.
The gravel path will be paved over to create a smooth riding surface and a pedestrian crossing will also be added at the Ripon Street intersection.
Ms Pulford added works on the new path would begin in April and are estimated to take around six months to complete.
"By next summer, people will be able to whizz along here nice and safely on their bikes or on foot.
"It's such a lively part of our city... being able to make it easier for more people to be able to enjoy that on foot is a wonderful thing."
Locking in the new design had been something or a long process according to Ms Pulford, who said the confirmed plans add the most appropriate protection for its users while preserving the iconic look of Sturt Street.
"The design has been something of a journey. The community reference group that Regional Roads Victoria was working with initially preferred a meandering model," she said.
"I think what the community will be pleased with is that there won't be a tree lost, there won't be a monument disturbed. Everything we love about this boulevard will be preserved and protected."
Matt Briody, spokesperson for the Ballarat Bicycle User Group praised the new designs, calling it "an excellent piece of infrastructure".
"It will allow people to ride safely, separated from traffic, right into the CBD," Mr Briody said.
"It will link up with existing shared paths on Sturt Street to the west, and to future paths in and through the city."
He added he would have preferred the initial plan which saw the bike lane travel down the centre of Sturt Street, but was pleased with the compromise.
"I personally would have preferred to see the path in the middle of the median, but I see this plan as a reasonable compromise. I think it retains the original design integrity of the gardens, has minimal interference on road traffic and will allow for more people to get in and around the city safely.
"It's been a long process for the officers at RRV and the City of Ballarat, but I think they have arrived at a pretty good design now. Once people have a chance to walk on it or ride it, I think they're really going to enjoy it."