Negligence or Corruption a question on Twitters mind

Questions remain unanswered following last months fatal wall collapse with the City of Melbourne ducking for cover and in lock down mode avoiding responsibility.

According to a City of Melbourne spokesperson a permit is required for the construction of a hoarding on a building site. The City of Melbourne in its statement published on April 9 stated that a permit was not issued for a hoarding on the GroCon Swanston Street building site that collapsed on March 28 killing three pedestrians.

When asked on April 16 if the Council had issued a permit for the NEW hoarding on thee GroCon Swanston Street site and if the Council Officers had inspected the site and if not why not? Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Governance portfolio was unable to answer and took the question on notice.

A week has passed and still the City of Melbourne has not been able to respond to this important and yet simple question.

Questions are being asked if the Council is guilty of contributory negligence for the death of three innocent people by failing to fulfill its statutory obligations and/or if Council staff had received inducements to turn a blind eye to the requirement to issue a permit for the construction of a hoarding?  Both the new and old hoardings were taller then the maximum height of 2.4m listed in the Council’s Construction Management Plan guidelines.

It is a simple question and deserves an answer. 

Council itself, and Councillor Mayne in particular, are now being compromised by the Council’s failing to reply.  Avoiding the question will not make it go away and only serves to undermine public confidence in the City Council’s Administration.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, may also be tainted by the Council’s lack of response with allegations being made that Councillor Doyle is actively seeking to block twitter discussion and review of his administration.

Urban Designers and Engineers: Losing the plot

Melbourne City Council has lost the plot.  Our Urban designers (Headed by Rob “Bamboo” Adams) and Engineers (Headed by Geoffrey Robinson) are slowly yet consistently destroying Melbourne and the things that make Melbourne.

The rot started back in 1996 when the Council back-down and supported the shift of Melbourne’s Museum from the City Centre to the Carlton Gardens. A move that was widely opposed by the general community. (The Museum should have been built as part of an expanded Federation Square or on the ill-fated CUB Swanston Street site)

Residents and traders managed to save Lygon Street from the destructive designs of Rob Adams who wanted to build balconies over the top of Lygon Streets Victorian Street Verandahs. (The City of Melbourne may still revisit Rob Adams nightmare on Lygon Street as the adopted Verandah policy has been allowed to slip out of sight and was not listed or included in Melbourne recent heritage review).

They just spent $5Million engineering congestion and reducing the number of traffic lanes in LaTrobe Street and now they have their sight on destroying the Queen Victoria Market extending Franklin Street so that it carves through the market car park and connects up with Duddly Street, increasing traffic where it is most definitely not needed.  Franklin Street should have been the new bike path and the precinct  should be encouraged to accommodate more pedestrian traffic.  If they had of channeled the money spent on LatTrobe street into Franklin Street redevelopment it could have made a positive contribution to Melbourne.

Clearly Road Safety is not on the Council’s agenda.  The other end of Franklin Street at the corner of Victoria Street is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Melbourne and a major accident hotspot. Channeling vehicle traffic down from Duddly Street down Franklin linking up to Victoria Street will only make this intersection worst.  The Council need to close Franklin Street between Swanston and Victoria Street and hand it over to RMIT to allow it to flow into the area and link in with the City Baths.

It is as if Rob Adams and Geoff Robinson are hell bent on destroying Hoddle’s Grid in what ever way they can.  The have extended Collins Street, tried to extend Bourke Street (In name alone) and turned LatTrobe street into a lane with dangerous cross street intersections.

The proposed Queen Victoria Market Franklin Street extension is their “piece de resistance” of utter stupidity in urban design and planning.

Proposed Upgrade of Queen Victoria Market Land Grab: Fails to enhance Melbourne’s iconic precinct

The Melbourne City Council’s concept plans for Melbourne’s iconic Victoria Market is nothing but a land grab that fails to deliver any benefit to the city, the people of Victoria or the interests of the market traders.

The existing car parking site to the South of the Market sheds needs development but it needs to have civic focus and not a high rise residential complex.

The height of the development on this site should not be allowed to exceed the height of the neighbouring Nonda Katsalidis  Equus, Mondo, Roma and Fortuna Terrace Apartments building at the corner of Franklin and Queen Street or the height of the Market historic sheds.

The site should facilitate an underground car park servicing the market and a cluster of laneway shops, dry goods store that complement the Market community services.

The market should also be able to trade 7-days a week with unrestricted times. Bring back wholesale local farmers produce, some bric and brac, second hand goods, local produce and reinstate the vitality it once had.

Remove the Italian house of leather from occupying a predominate spot that brings down the overall appeal of the Market. Bring back Punch and Judy and other community theatrical events. Turn it back into a market of authentic ethnicity.  This can be done now without redevelopment.

The worst aspect of the design concept, developed by Rob “Bamboo” Adams, is the proposed extension of Franklin Street to link up with Dudley Street.

It does not need a park, there is the Flagstaff Gardens nearby and it certainly does not need a road dividing it in half  If anything it should be an open hard edge public space full of activities and events.   The site could have an underground link to Flagstaff Garden’s railway station

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle’s talk of the Markets redevelopment being the Federation Square of the West is a joke.  Clearly the design concept plan is no Federation Square.

Road Safety Plan: "SHARE THE ROAD" STOP Engineering Congestion


The Lord Mayor and Councillors
City of Melbourne
Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors
Further to the decision last night to defer the adoption of the proposed City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan.
I request that the City of Melbourne publish on line in full all submissions made by stakeholders, not just an edited summary.  Such a practice is standard in the consideration of State Parliamentary Committee submissions and allows all members of the public to view the issues raised whilst maintaining public confidence in the consultation process.
Council should provide a process and  further opportunity for public debate on the use and development of the City’s Road Network.
The City of Melbourne should also seek input and submissions from Melbourne’s Emergency Services (Ambulance and Fire brigade) as to the impact of road safety plans, proposals and traffic lane restrictions.
I note with great concern that the Victorian Ambulance and Metropolitan Fire-brigade were not included in the initial Road Safety consultation 
Motorcycle and Scooter riders are at an equal if not greater risk of safety to bicycle riders. The proposals put forward by the City of Melbourne in the draft report do not address Motorcycle and Scooter riders Road Safety issues.  The ill-considered establishment of “Bike” Lanes that exclude access to Motorised Two wheel vehicles (Motorcycles and Scooters) and the associated displacement and congestion that results compounds the Road Safety Risk.
Further consideration needs to be given as to the opportunities of sharing bike lanes through-out Melbourne.  Many lanes are underutilized and could be used to facilitate a safe travel environment for Motorcyclist and Scooter riders. The two modes of transport are not exclusive and can safely coexist under many circumstances and appropriate regulatory guidelines and protocols put in place. Not all bicycle paths are suited for sharing but many are. 
The City Council needs to discuss and identify those lanes were both modes of transport can be accommodated.
The City Council should consider as a matter of priority alternative routes for Cyclist pathways throughout the city with preference given to less congested roads and laneways. Consider for lane reductions should only be given as a last resort and only after extensive consultation with all stakeholders and public approval.
The provision of “Lane Filtering” options at inner city intersections that allow motorcycles and scooter riders to move to the front of the intersection to a safe zone and take advantage of a controlled early start as is currently afforded to bicyclists riders.
The Council’s Transport Strategy plan and road network design needs to be reviewed to take into consideration the needs of all road users.
In addition: I request that the council consider the following additional issues of concern to help improve motorcycle/Scooter Riders  (MSRs) Road Safety
  • Shared Bus Lanes (Higher priority)
  • Shared “Bike” paths (Based on a Bike Lane category system – High Priority)
  • Bicycle “Bike” paths to be encouraged to use smaller less congested streets not major road feeders.
  • Lane Filtering options at intersections (High Priority)
  • Turn left at any time with care rights to reduce congestion and increase traffic flow (High Priority)
  • Road Line Paint that is not slippery (Medium Priority)
  • More attention on pavement surface quality to avoid overlay ridges (High Priority)
  • Advocate for Rear Vision Cameras to be made mandatory on van/trucks and buses/trams where central rear vision mirrors are not available.
  • A public education program to encourage cars to check their stop lights and turning signals regularly
  • Look and signal before turning when in the city signs to be erected in hot spots thought the City
  • The undertaking of a series of independent “Stress testing” reviews of site access and transit times for emergency vehicles thought out the city at various peak congestion/travel times
I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further in more detail the above and other issues related to the City of Melbourne’s proposed Road Safety Plan
Should you require further information I can be contacted via email
Anthony van der Craats
Scooter rider/Resident
South Yarra
Cc Media.. Members of Victorian State Parliament, Victorian Minister and Shadow Minister of Roads

RACV – CoM has got it wrong

 Source – The Age – Jason Dowling

Melbourne City Council has got it wrong with a new road safety plan that focuses on more protection for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and cycling lanes on Princes Bridge, the RACV says.
But Victoria’s peak motoring body denied it was anti-bike after opposing three big cycling upgrades in the city in recent years – separate bike lanes on Albert and La Trobe streets and the loss of traffic lanes on Princes Bridge to make way for bike paths.

RACV public policy manager Brian Negus said it was unnecessary to remove traffic lanes for bike lanes and the council should instead be removing street parking.

It is very important when looking at on-road bicycle facilities that the needs of all road users are properly considered. That includes those in cars, trucks, buses and trams, and cyclists and pedestrians,” he said.
 ”That is the principle that has probably been neglected by the Melbourne City Council, both in what they have looked at in their road safety strategy, and secondly in the context of the three [recent] bicycle proposals.”

He said Albert Street was done on the cheap and was an ”anti-car proposal” that looked ”absolutely dreadful”.

The RACV operates the Melbourne Bike Share scheme, and supported the bike-friendly upgrade of Swanston Street.

Mr Negus said the lobby group also supported removing traffic on Elizabeth Street between Bourke and Flinders streets.

We certainly have promoted the need for safe bicycle facilities, both off road and on road,” he said.
Garry Brennan, spokesman for Bicycle Network Victoria, said ”the spectacular success of central Melbourne as a pedestrian and bicycle-dense CBD caught many people and organisations by surprise and they are having trouble adapting to this new, thriving city reality”.

With the RACV it’s a case of the shock of the new. In a few years’ time they will be wondering what all the fuss was about,” he said.

Melbourne council’s new road safety plan aims to make the city more pedestrian and cyclist- friendly.

Council’s Road Safety Plan placed on hold pending review

Melbourne City Council yesterday deferred, at the request of representatives of Melbourne’s Motorcycle and Scooter Riders’ Associations. The adoption of the City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan amidst concern that the report and the consultation process was flawed and lacking public confidence.

Representatives of Melbourne’s four main Motorcycle and Scooter Riders Associations, representing over 380,000 members, called on the Council to deffer the report so as to allow for more consideration of the needs of motorcycle and scooter rider’s safety concerns.

Spokesperson for the Motorbike and Scooter riders said “The Council report included a number of mother hood statements and lacked causing on the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists but ignore concerns of two wheel power riders and other road users

Community activist and scooter rider, Anthony van der Craats, said that “The City Council was “Engineering Congestion” and that the city was making road safety worst as a result.  There is a need to stop and review the impact of the Council’s Transport Strategy plan so that all road users were given equal consideration“.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, also expressed concern that report did not include in a holistic manner consideration of other road users such as cars, trucks and vans, all which need to consulted.

Emergency Access Restricted

Mr van der Craats said “The Road Safety Report also failed to consult Emergency Services such as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Ambulance Victoria“.

During question time Mr van der Craats expressed his condolence for Melbourne’s Sister City Boston and the Terrorist attacks that were carried out earlier in the day.

These tragic events raised concern as to Melbourne’s preparedness for such emergencies.  There is growing concern recent road works and  engineering restrictions in the City may have an adverse impact on the response time of Emergency Vehicles in the City. 

Mr van der craats called on the City of Melbourne as part of is Road Safety Strategy to undertake a serious of Stress Testing involving the emergency services to ensure that the city engineering services do not prevent or hinder emergency service response times.   “There is ongoing concern that an event such as what occurred in Boston today could be a disaster if Firetrucks and Ambulances were not able to pass trams blocking the major transit routes. The  new Super Stops and bicycle paths in particular constitute a real risk to public safety

Councillor Richard Foster earlier today reported that he will not be supporting the reduction of traffic lanes on Princess Bridge from two lanes to one.

Princess Bridge is a major access route to the City and the nearby Alfred Emergency Critical Care Hospital.  A reduction in vehicular access could have serious impact on Ambulance response times and could conceivable cost lives.
 
The fact that the City of Melbourne had not consulted our emergency services or reviewed their needs was a major oversight.

The City Engineers proposal to create further congestion on Princes Bridge  has been rejected by the RACV, VicRoads and other community groups.

Victoria’ Premier, Dr Napthine, on Radio 3AW Neil Mitchel earlier this week, cast doubt over the proposal following overwhelming community rejection.

Mr van der Craats said “There is no support other than from Council Engineers and the Green Bicycle Lobby group.  The State Government must rain in the City Council and put an end to the Congestion creation strategy pursued by the Greens”.

Community representatives will meet with Opposition Spokesperson Luke Donellan to seek his support in stopping this ill-considered proposal

The Engineering Services Director, Geoff Robinson, has until July 9 to address stakeholder concerns and present a workable and accepted Road Traffic proposal

Council’s Road Safety Plan placed on hold pending review

Melbourne City Council tonight deferred, at the request of stakeholders, the adoption of the City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan amidst concern that the report and the consultation process was flawed and lacking public confidence.

Representatives of Melbourne’s four main Motorcycle and Scooter Riders Associations, representing over 380,000 members, called on the Council to deffer the report so as to allow for more consideration of the needs of motorcycle and scooter rider’s safety concerns.

Spokesperson for the Motorbike and Scooter riders said “The Council report included a number of mother hood statements and lacked causing on the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists but ignore concerns of two wheel power riders and other road users

Community activist and scooter rider, Anthony van der Craats, said that “The City Council was “Engineering Congestion” and that the city was making road safety worst as a result.  There is a need to stop and review the impact of the Council’s Transport Strategy plan so that all road users were given equal consideration“.

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, also expressed concern that report did not include in a holistic manner consideration of other road users such as cars, trucks and vans, all which need to consulted.

Emergency Access Restricted

Mr van der Craats said “The Road Safety Report also failed to consult Emergency Services such as the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Ambulance Victoria“.

During question time Mr van der Craats expressed his condolence for Melbourne’s Sister City Boston and the Terrorist attacks that were carried out earlier in the day.

These tragic events raised concern as to Melbourne’s preparedness for such emergencies.  There is growing concern recent road works and  engineering restrictions in the City may have an adverse impact on the response time of Emergency Vehicles in the City. 

Mr van der craats called on the City of Melbourne as part of is Road Safety Strategy to undertake a serious of Stress Testing involving the emergency services to ensure that the city engineering services do not prevent or hinder emergency service response times.   “There is ongoing concern that an event such as what occurred in Boston today could be a disaster if Firetrucks and Ambulances were not able to pass trams blocking the major transit routes. The  new Super Stops and bicycle paths in particular constitute a real risk to public safety

Councillor Richard Foster earlier today reported that he will not be supporting the reduction of traffic lanes on Princess Bridge from two lanes to one.

Princess Bridge is a major access route to the City and the nearby Alfred Emergency Critical Care Hospital.  A reduction in vehicular access could have serious impact on Ambulance response times and could conceivable cost lives.
 
The fact that the City of Melbourne had not consulted our emergency services or reviewed their needs was a major oversight.

The City Engineers proposal to create further congestion on Princes Bridge  has been rejected by the RACV, VicRoads and other community groups.

Victoria’ Premier, Dr Napthine, on Radio 3AW Neil Mitchel earlier this week, cast doubt over the proposal following overwhelming community rejection.

Mr van der Craats said “There is no support other than from Council Engineers and the Green Bicycle Lobby group.  The State Government must rain in the City Council and put an end to the Congestion creation strategy pursued by the Greens”.

Community representatives will meet with Opposition Spokesperson Luke Donellan to seek his support in stopping this ill-considered proposal

The Engineering Services Director, Geoff Robinson, has until July 9 to address stakeholder concerns and present a workable and accepted Road Traffic proposal

Fostering a Bridge to Reason

A MELBOURNE councillor has voiced concerns about a controversial plan to make Princes Bridge more bike-friendly by removing two car lanes, saying other options should be explored first.

Cr Richard Foster said a better delineation of the bike lanes over the busy bridge should be among them. “We haven’t yet made efforts to colour, pave or widen them . . . We have a line painted on a ground with a symbol of a bike, and I think we can do a lot better than that,” Cr Foster said.

“These are the sorts of things that could well relieve congestion without first interfering with traffic lanes.”

The Herald Sun revealed the Melbourne City Council proposal, which would cost about $150,000, last month.

Cr Foster said there were also “significant pedestrian access issues” with the nearby tram stop

Engineering Melbourne: Incompetence or careless oversight?

The City of Melbourne Traffic Engineers NEVER cease to amaze.

A brand new Domain Interchange in St Kilda Road.

New facilities and New Traffic Lights. Looks impressive and costs millions and the execution of the constriction works was impressive.  (Clearly the City of Melbourne were not coordinating the construction phase).

Cars exiting Park Street tuning right into St Kilda Road left in the dark as to the state of the traffic light once they cross the center road divide..

PROBLEM:  Whoever designed the traffic lights signaling just reinstated what was there.  They added a warning sign “Watch for Pedestrians”  HOWEVER traffic exiting Park Street and crossing St Kilda Road then turning right are left in the dark. Some “not so bright traffic engineer” or site design manager failed to install a right tuning arrow on the SE corner of this busy intersection.  A simple yet very useful design change. One extra light showing a turn right arrow is all that’s required to improve traffic flow and safety

What makes it worst is that the City of Melbourne had been informed and had received complaints about the traffic signals at this site and they have still failed to get it right.  I have complained about this site for years and I tthought (Wrongfully as it tuns out) that they will address this design flaw in the new Domain Interchange construction. . Haig Poulson, City Traffic Engineer Manager, was informed of this problem, but he obviously failed to note it or act on it. Too many coffees, too much money and no common sense.

This is an accident waiting to happen, It’s just a matter of traffic light timing, a moments hesitation, a car taking off traveling south. The absence of a right arrow signal that an City Engineer failed to install.

VICTORIAN MOTORCYCLE & SCOOTER RIDERS OPPOSE THE MELBOURNE ROAD SAFETY PLAN


MEDIA RELEASE 


VICTORIAN MOTORCYCLE & SCOOTER RIDERS
OPPOSE THE MELBOURNE ROAD SAFETY PLAN
Powered Two Wheeler (PTW) rider advocacy groups including the Victorian Motorcycle Council (VMC), the Independent Riders Group (IRG) and the Victorian Scooter Riders Association (VSRA) have collectively called for postponement of the vote endorsing the Melbourne Road Safety Plan. Their concerns are the Plan fails to enhance the safety of PTW riders and fails to meet its goal to:

 “Create a safe, comfortable and richly engaging urban environment where pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are welcomed and supported through world leading road safety practices” and “to recognise the needs 

of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in street design

Stephen Bardsley, VSRA spokesperson said, “Despite raising concerns back in October 2012, the Plan fails to recognise the needs of PTW riders in any meaningful way. It’s a disgrace.”

Damien Codognotto from the IRG said, “Whereas it’s good PTW’s were mentioned in the Plan, that’s all we got and it simply doesn’t give riders a fair go.”

Peter Baulch from the VMC said, “The Plan proposes no initiatives that encourage the most efficient and fastest growing form of road transport to enter the city, it also fails to recognise their needs.”

The spokespersons for all three organisations are collectively disappointed that whereas local Governments all over the World are implementing policies to encourage Motorcycle and Scooter Riders into CBD’s, the City of Melbourne appears to have failed its obligations in this regard. This when:
? Evidence shows the answer to the World’s urban traffic congestion may be as simple as creating
     policies promoting the use of PTW’s, the fastest growing mode of transport in Melbourne.

? Research released in 2012 proved if just 10% of all private cars were to be replaced with
     PTW’s then traffic congestion would be reduced by up to 40%, to the benefit of all road users.
The VMC, IRG and VSRA are united in calling for the Melbourne City Council to postpone endorsing the plan and to initiate genuine stakeholder review.
End of Media Release
VMC
Spokesperson – Robert Salvatore
Telephone: 0409 416 230
email: Rob.Salvatore@qenos.com

IRG
Spokesperson – Damien Codognotto
Telephone: (03) 9846 8621
email: d.codognotto.oam@bigpond.com

VSRA
Spokesperson – Stephen Bardsley
Telephone: 0409 848 428
email: okeh1@bigpond.com