Stop the War on Cars

Call for review of Melbourne’ Bicycle Network

Community activist and Lord Mayor Candidate Anthony van der Craats (The Light on the Hill Team) has called for a review of the La Trobe Street ‘closed lane’ bicycle path and the banning of bicycles along the Yarra Promenade..

La Trobe Street and the Bicycle Network planning and its rollout has been a complete disaster with the City Council spending 10’s of millions of dollars engineering congestion.’

Council has to restore two lanes of traffic along La Trobe Street to get traffic flowing again.  To do this it either has to remove the existing bike path or remove the adjacent car parking along La Trobe Street.

Outside peak hour less than 20 bicycles use Latrobe Street per hour.

Engineering Services in Melbourne has declined significantly over the last eight years.  The Council is no longer managing traffic instead it is Engineering congestion

Mr van der Craats said that the Copenhagen closed bike lanes have not improved safety and that disabled, elderly and family computers Safety has been placed at risk as a result.

There are better alternatives that cost much less and are better for all users.  Swanston Street is a good example. The Northern end of Swanston Street has a painted line delineation that allows bicycles to travel outside the ‘car dooring zone’, it works, whilst the Southern end between Queensberry Street and Victoria Street is a commuters nightmare.

Similar problems exist with the St Kilda bike lane opposite the Art Galley.

Disabled computers visiting the Art Galley or Gardens can not park safely and as a result are being discriminated against.  For the cost of the 330 metre St Kilda Road strip the Council could have installed a safer more user friendly ‘line delineated’ bike path all the way along St Kilda Road to the Junction.

Yarra River Promenade an accident waiting to happen

Mr van der Craats has also called for bicycles to be banned from the Yarra Promenade as they are a risk to pedestrian and public safety. It is only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs and the Council will be held responsible.

Six months ago the Yarra North Bank walkway was not designated a shared bike path. Now, without consultation, signs have mysteriously appeared and speeding cyclist have turned it into a cyclist speedway.

Council must review and rethink its policy. Other road users needs and consideration must be taken into account.

The Council failed to consult other users most notably Disability advocates, the RACV and motorcycle users all who have been severely impacted on by a poorly design bicycle network.  The Council only consulted bicycle users and held meetings in coffee shops. Alternative designs and solutions had not been properly considered.

It is time to STOP THE WAR ON CARS and to properly manage Melbourne’s road network.

Engineering Congestion: Public Confidence in the slow lane

Public Confidence in the City of Melbourne Traffic Engineering is at an all time low.

Councillor Oake who chairs the Transport portfolio has placed the needs and interests of cyclist ahead of the needs of the City as a whole.

Melbourne City Council’s latest proposal in its war against cars is to reduce the inner city speed limit to 30Km per hour but refuses to apply a 10KM speed limit on cyclists.

A proposal put forward by the City Council bicycle forum chaired by Greens; Councillor Cathy Oake has proposed  further measure to cause congestion within the City of Melbourne.Councillor.

Whilst the City Council claim they have consulted widely the fact is most of the consultation was meeting with select interest groups with the Council officers meetings with Cyclists and the Cyclist lobby groups in coffee shop style meetings.

Council refused to publish Public Submissions unless $25 FOI application fee paid

The City Council has refused to make public copies of submissions relied on in the formation of the City Council’s transport strategy plan. Only executive summary is available. Requests to make copies of all submissions freely available were rejected by the Lord Mayor with Council staff stating that in order to obtain copies of submissions members of the public would have to make an FOI application. 

Public review of Bicycle Lanes rejected

In August this year the City Council rjected a proposal put forward by Crs Foster and Watts to undertake a review of the City Councils’ bicycle network including the La Trobe Street Copenhargen style Bicycle lane  the City Council claiming that the La Trobe Street lane was a success and that they needed to push ahead and continue implementing the City’s transport strategy. The City Council voted agsainst the motion for a review, gagging public debate.

Motorcyclist complain on Safety issues.

In June this year the City Council was forced to defer the adoption of the City Council’s Pedestrian, Cyclist and Motorcyclist Road Safety Plan when Motorcyclist complained that that they were not consulated

The City Council engineers met with representqaives of the Motorcyclist community who are vulnerable road users and in doing so gavce a number of undertaking to consider fuirther the needs of motorcyclist in the City Council’s transport plan. The Council undrtook to develope a Motorcycle Strategy plan  and include motorcyclists needs in the formation and review of future planning reviews.

The Council has yet to deliver on its promises. 

Last month’s Council meeting failed to list Motorcyclist in the Council’s review of the Princes Bridge Lane trial review.

Motorcyclist want the City Council to provide  and facilitate lane filtration, where motor cyclists can move to the front of the queue at intersections as is current afforded to cyclist.  They also want consideration to be given to the sharing of bicycle lanes where possible. Every time the City Council installs a bicycle lane motorcycle safety is ignored and placed at risk

Selective Consultation

The City Council failed to consult with Emergency service providers such as Ambulance Victoria., or the Metropolitan Firebridge in its Transport Safety plan.

Disabled groups were also not consulted along with a host of other road users and stakeholders.  The City Engineers have ignored concerns expressed by the RACV and other community groups

Melbourne’s Bicycle Network Wreck: Solution proposals

Notes and suggestion on possible solutions to Melbourne’s Bicycle Network

Decision making process:

The oversight of the Bicycle plan is the responsibility of Greens Councillor Cathy Oake who is the City Council’s chair of the Transport portfolio. 

The final sign-off and decision to proceed with the St Kilda bicycle plan and the Latrobe Street development were not decided by Council but made under delegation of the Council officers who claim that authority and agreement was made during the Council budget papers and the adoption of the Council’s transport strategy plan.

Final approval of the closure of the Princes Bridge lane and so called trail was not made in an open Council session but by delegation.

The adoption of a budget or the Council strategy plan should not be considered as having provided Council’s consent.

As Councillor Stephen Mayne stated last Tuesday was the first time the newly elected Council had to debate the issue of Bicycle lanes as distinct from the general issue of strategy plans and the like.  And Tuesday’s meeting was discussing the idea of deferring implementation and and having the final decision brought before council for approval.  The  proposal for a review was rejected by the Council, even though it was evident that there was considerable public concern and opposition to the decision made under delegation.

Councillors discussed these issues in closed session but they were not debated in open session where the public are provide the opportunity to make a final submission and presentation in relation to any discussion to be made.

Why did the matter not come before Council for final approval?   Planning permits application readily are discussed in open public committee before they are approved why not the bicycle plan?

Future final approval of future major projects and works MUST be decided by Council in open public session and not under delegation.

Albert Street

The existing bicycle lane should be removed and a Clardeon street design solution implemented.

Consideration should be given to establishing a shared bicycles lane with buses, taxis and motorcycles.

Latrobe Street

This is a disaster zone and in need of urgent comprehensive review. A review that should have taken place before proceeding with the Princes Bridge and St Kilda Road bike lanes

Latrobe Street should never have been chosen to install a segregated bicycle lane.  2.6 Million dollars misspent.

Council should  consider and develop as alternative routes utilizing smaller streets such as Abbeckett and Franklin Street and eventually consideration will have to be made to remove the existing lane separation barriers.

On Street parking should be removed in the meantime to allow for improved traffic movements and protect commuters who are forced to park in the middle of the street with minimal protection of a safe environment

Princes Bridge

Princes Bridge should be closed to all unnecessary vehicular traffic  BUT this should only be done with the provision of a suitable alternative river crossing East of Princes Bridge.

This would allow for installation of a bicycle lane on both sides of the bridge and the development of a public transport interchange/pedestrian precinct.

St Kilda Road

The bike lane should be widened and a Claredon Street chevron design bike lane installed the full length of St Kilda Road.  This would require the consent of City of Port Phillip and Vicroads,.  A chevron delineated lane would provide a safe environment for motorist parking, disabled and emergency vehicle access and cost much less then the expense of constructing a Copenhagen close lane barrier.  More path for our buck

Swanston Street

A 10Km speed limit should be implemented along Swanston Street between Princes Bridge and Victoria Street

The Bicycle lane in Swanston Street North of Victoria Street should be replaced with by Claredon Street chevron line delineation lane as recommended for St Kilda Road and Albert Street

Melbourne’s Bicycle Network Wreck: A tangled web of bad decisions, designs and implementation

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doom to repeat them
The City of Melbourne’s refusal to subject Melbourne Bicycle Lanes to review has only compounded problems and undermine public confidence.
The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and others who claim that the various segments of Melbourne’s bike strategy are separate and as such not related does not wash.
“Latrobe Street does not relate to Swanston Street which is separate from Princes Bridge and that St Kilda Road is also a separate issue to both”
Robert Doyle said that Latrobe Street could not be part of a review because it was in place.  Stephen Mayne said he would support a review if it included Latrobe Street.  
The logic that the proposed review did not include Latrobe Street or that Princes Bridge is not related to the St Kilda Road bike path astounds logic.  Of course they are related, they form part of a network of bike paths in the same way that various Streets , Lanes and Roads, trains trams etc form part of the City road/transport network. They are explicitly related and all directly impact and effect each other. They can not be separated and should have been included in a ongoing review of Council’s transport strategy plan.
There has failed to undertake progressive strategic pubic review of the roll out of its ill-considered Transport plan. The consultation process undertaken was flawed in its implementation. Like the magician or trickster that asks a serious of questions and then shows you the answer written down on a hidden piece of paper.
We already know that the process and management of the consultation was flawed.  Most stakeholders we contacted have said they did not think they were consulted, instead they were just informed and told what was going to happen and their main concerns were ignored. 
A major part of any effective consultation and design project is the review process. The ability to stop and review a project at various stages of the project, each aspect and segment.  The City of Melbourne has failed on all accounts and most can be attributed to the administration of the process , the role of the responsible chairperson and lack of review.
It all depends, of course, on what your goal is. If you have a set idea and you goal is to bring that idea into existence no matter what the cost then all kinds of mistakes will inevitably be made.
There are a number major problems and issues identified with  Melbourne’s Bicycle Network planning, each one in turn has an impacted on the other and every segment and aspect of the overall design ..
Disclaimer and warning
First it needs to be stated that a good designed bicycle network should make a positive contribution to the transport mix to any city. It must seek to address all stakeholders concerns and not favour any one interest group above the interests of another. So before anyone goes on and seeks to engaged in personal abuse and vilification lets be clear Bicycle Paths are good and should be encouraged.
Those that engage in such personal abuse and attacks are not helping to serve their cause. Writing abusive emails or making threats or acts of intimidation might make you feel good at a football match but that is all. Please note that all abusive comments are logged and recorded.
Having stated that there are a number of issues and principles that need to be established to assist in planning the network.
Major roads should be avoided 
Where possible a bike path should seek to use less congested roads and streets. Canning Street, Carlton, is a good example of a inner city bike path that works.   It is a local street that carries minimal traffic and is ideal for cycling. This is evident by the fact that it is Melbourne’s most popular bicycle commuter route.
Lane separation
The so called “Copenhagen Bicycle Lane” separation design should be avoided and only adopted as a last resort. To date they have not worked in Melbourne.  Melbourne unlike Copenhagen has wider streets and different overall traffic patterns.
 
Consideration should be given, in the first instance, to installing a chevron line marking bike lanes,  The bike lane on Claredon Street, East Melbourne, should have been considered as a preferred option before adopting a “Copenhagen Bicycle Lane” closed separation option. 
The Claredon Street Bicycle Lane design addresses cyclists main concern for safety related to lane separation and risk of “dooring”. (Accidents that occur of inattentive drivers and passengers of parked vehicles opening car doors in the path of an oncoming cyclist). The Claredon Street design includes chevron line markings and wider bicycle paths that allow a cyclist to travel away outside the danger zone.
Not only are chevron segmented lanes safer they are also cheaper and as such allow for construct “more bike path for our buck”. The Claredon Street design solution was recommend by Melbourne’s Senior Traffic Engineers but was excluded from consideration by management and Cathy Oake, Chairman of the Council’s Transport portfolio.
Financial resources are limited and any design should have be subject to a  cost benefit analysis.
The closed “Copenhagen style” bike lanes that have a physical separation barrier are ten times more expensive to construct the the Claredon Street option ., Closed lanes create congestion, restict use of the road space by other users, including emergency access, and generate additional safety issues concerns with other road users.
For the price of the 350m St Kilda Road physical lane separation proposal we could install 4Km of chevron bike lane and even more bike lanes could have been upgraded for $2.6 Million spent on Latrobe Street, making it much better and safer overall for cyclists and commuters alike.
The chevron lane separation design is overall a better choice. An option that the City of Melbourne failed to give due and proper consideration.
Public Safety
There are serious issues related to the safety of disabled commuters, taxi and bus passengers with the “Copenhagen closed lane” design.  Drivers and passenger alighting from vehicles parked next to a 21 metre physical concrete barrier have to remain balanced on the separation barrier and extra take care in crossing the neighbouring bike path  to get access to the adjacent footpath. A dangerous situation that discriminates against disabled computers the most.  Unloading from taxis and buses is almost impossible. Try unloading a bus load of 20 or more passengers onto a small narrow concrete strip away from the footpath as will be the case in St Kilda Road.
Whilst bicyclists may be safe from dooring, motorist now run the risk of opening doors in the path of passing traffic. Issues the council had failed to mention in its report.
The other solution is to withdraw On-Street parking adjacent to closed bike lanes but that would result in a loss of Council revenue.
Latrobe Street
Costing $2.6Million the Latrobe Street bike path that has just recently been installed has already proven to be a disaster. It’s design, location and implementation is wrong, safety issues not properly considered and a nightmare in terms of urban design, heritage, cleaning and storm water drainage.
The problems with Latrobe Street are considerable and should have been identified earlier in the design stage of the development and should have been subjected to a review process now it is in place.
The fact that these issues were overlooked raises serious questions in relation to the management and professional standing of the City of Melbourne engineering services. (Most likely a managerial problem)
The failure and refusal of the City Council to undertake a comprehensive review of previous bike lanes on Albert Street and the Northern section of Swanston Street should have alerted the City council of the problems that Latrobe Street is facing. Senior Engineers who did express these concerns were ignored or overridden by management
Apart from the design issue the other significant problem with Latrobe Street is the choice of transit route. Latrobe Street should never have been chosen.
The City Council should have developed Abbecket Street or Franklin Street as an alternative bike path option.
Latrobe Street is proving to a big embarrassment to the City Council and this is the main reason why the Lord Mayor and management were opposed the motion put forward by Councillors Richard Foster and Jackie Watts. It would have been prudent and responsible for the City Council to pause for one month and engaged the community by holding a mid project public review before proceeding to make the same mistakes in St Kilda Road.
The City Council knows it is facing a major problem and is desperate to try and keep the lid on it all in a futile effort to avoid it boiling over or erupting adding to the  inevitable in a total loss of confidence in the Council’s engineering services. After all they Council approved the project and spent $2.6 Million creating the problem on Latrobe Street. 
Avoiding an open public review or attacking those that advocate a review and rethink is not going to make the problem go away.
Like the Collins Class submarine patching up the project to try and make it work is a be a big ask also. Piecemeal band-aid solutions to a problem that should not have been created in the first place.
The City Council, as part of its consultation processtold stakeholders that there would be no loss of amenity or parking. 
Already Council has had to consider removing on-street parking. There are numerous issues related to the design of crossroad intersections and driveway access that place both cyclist and motorists safety at risk. In short the management and design of the project has little to desire, it’s far from the success the Councillors claimed it was. 
Princes Bridge
Princes Bridge is a work in progress. Already the promises made by the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle,  have proven to be false.  Travel time across the bridge is twice as long then prior to the south bound lane closure. the number of cars transiting from Swanston Street into Flinders Street is 2 to 25% less then before. 
Councillor Stephen Mayne reported that Council has estimated that there has been a 12% reduction in traffic throughput out of Swanston Street (this does not correspond with  independent surveys. Prior to the lane closure there were 20-22 cars per light cycle. Currently only 14-16 Cars are exiting into Flinders Street per light cycle) The reduction in throughput and performance could be address to some extent by tweaking the light signaling, something that the Lord Mayor said the Council would do but to date have not changed.  It has been suggested that the Council Engineers had planned to cause congestion and by doing so aimed to reduce the number of motorists using the bridge.
Robert Doyle said that Princess Bridge Lane closure was a trial but no one seriously considered this as anything other misdirection.
Alternative access
Most of the North bound traffic crossing Princes Bridge turns right into Flinders Street and then turns again either at Russell or Exhibition Street.
It would be desirable if Princess Bridge was closed to all non essential vehicular traffic.
The freeing of Princes Bridge from vehicular traffic would allow for better public transport interchange services but this can only be done if there was an alternative river crossing East of Princes Bridge.
The Swan Street Bridge is not suitable and is already suffering severe congestion by traffic transiting in a West East direction.
The  other option is for the construction of a second bridge bridge connecting  Linithgow and Batman Avenue providing a North-South traffic alternative.
Flinders Street
Next on the Council’s agenda is the South bound lane on Princes Bridge,  
In order to construct a south bound bike lane the City of Melbourne in association with Vicroads needs to reduce the volume of traffic and the number of lanes using Flinders Street and tuning left into Swanston Street. Most of the cars on Flinders street are exiting the Eastern end of the City and travelling South.   Flinders Street West of Swanston Street.is already restricted to one lane traffic . 
The construction of an alternative river crossing off Batman  Avenue joining Linlithgow Avenue on the South side would ease traffic demand on Flinders/Swantson Street South on to St Kilda Road.
The Council’s solution is to remove a lane of traffic which will generate congestion which in turn will reduce the number of cars through displacement.
Road Safety and Consultation
One major criticism of the Council’s consultation process was the failure of the City Council to publish all the submissions received. Instead the council  published an edited summary provided by the administration. The failure and refusal of the city council to publish the submission has added to the mistrust and  loss of confidence overall in the consultation process.
Most of the “consultation” that did  take place was in the form of information of what was already decided. There was little to no consideration of variable alternatives.  Many of the stakeholders contacted said they did not think the City Council listened or considered their opinions or concerns. They were just heard out or sent information so the Council could claim it had consulted widely.  
A major part of the consultation undertaken was with the members of the bicycle lobby meeting on coffee shops and various venues, this was disproportionate to other road users.
Earlier on in May that the Council’s “Pedestrian, Bicyclist and Motorcyclist safety plan had to be deferred as Motorcyclist and Scooter Riders were not consulted in the first draft presented to Council. Motorcyclists and scooter riders face the same problems as cyclists in terms of safety and they rightly felt their concerns were not being addressed and in many cases the priority given to cyclists was compounding problems related to their safety
 
Council Engineering Services Department also overlooked a number of other significant stakeholders in the consultation process.  Missing from the list of was Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire-brigade who were not listed on the road safety plan .
There is ongoing concern that the various bike paths, tram stops and lane reduction has compromised Melbourne’s emergency response capability.
St Kilda Road “Copenhagen lanes” will also impact on  emergency services response times between the Alfred Hospital and the City.
There is a recognized urgent need for a series of “Emergency stress testing” to ascertain the preparedness of the City to cope with an emergency or possible terrorist attack. We can not afford to ignore or put off this issue much longer. The sooner it is addressed and a comprehensive stress plan is implemented the sooner we can identify problems and restore confidence in the cities preparedness to copy with an emergency.
Major Stake holders sidelined
Organization such as Vicroads, the RACV, Bus proprietors, Street Traders, Emergency Services, the State Disability Advocate and the Taxi industry have all had their concerns down graded or discarded.  Details and copies of their submissions have not been made been published on the Council’s web site.
War in Cars: Engineering Congestion
Instead of managing traffic the City Council is engaged in a war on cars by “Engineering Congestion” in the belief that Cars will bypass the city. This will ave a flow on effect and impact on small business retailers who fear losing customers to the suburban shopping centres. Retailers are already suffering from the city’s high cost of car parking.
  
City Council will do anything to avoid criticism or accountability
Last Tuesdays refusal to engage the community on public debate and undertake a review, before pushing ahead with designs that are proven to not work provides little hope or confidence that the Council is prepared to address important issues, other than placing  the perceived needs of cyclists ahead of all other road users and stakeholders.
No satisfactory explanation has been given for not alternative solutions that are better, cheaper and more effective. 
Welcome to Melbourne “Bike obsessed” City Council. A Council that will go to any length to limit to prevent any rethink or review of its Transport plan
Greens Councillor, Cathy Oake, is chairman of the council’s transport portfolio

Leppert wants Horse and Carriages out of Princes Bridge Bike Lane blocking traffic


Melbourne Green Councillor Rohan Leppert wants Melbourne’s Horse and Carriages banned from using the Princes Bridge Bike Lane forcing them into using the single traffic lane that crosses the Yarra river.

Worst part is lack of adherence to road rules by Horse Drawn Vehicles. Illegal to travel in bike lane but many still do – dangerous. — Rohan Leppert (@RohanLeppert) July 31, 2013

In Rohan Leppert’s mind the interests of cyclists come first and all others, with the exception of members of Occupy Melbourne and residents of North Melbourne, a distant second.

The Horse and Carriages travel at the speed of 6km per hour.  To force them into the traffic lane particularly during peak hour traffic or at night when the bike lane is empty would cause more congestion on an already congested road.

The proposed St Kilda Rd Bike Lane will force Horse and Carriages into the main traffic lane again blocking traffic.  Horse and Carriages are a legitimate means of transport that run on bio fuel and have every right to use the roads. By using the bike lane they allow traffic, which is already congested as a result of the Princes Bridge lane closure to flow.   When the Horse and Carriages used the main traffic lane motorist opted instead to enter into the bike lane to pass the carriage. Something they are allowed to do up to 50 metres under current road rules.  A situation which would be more disruptive and unsafe for cyclists.  Solution allow Horse and Carriages to use the bike lane.

Horse and Carriages is another problem identified with the proposed St Kilda Rd 350m bike lane.  Horse and Carriage operators never consulted over the proposed design nor were a number of other stakeholders including Motorcycle and Scooter riders not consulted. With up to 12 Horse and Carriage operators in the City using the St Kilda Rd/Gardens route one of the St Kilda Road traffic lanes will be blocked. Greens solution ban horse and carriages and cars.

St Kilda Rd Bicycle Lane: Open Letter to the Lord Mayor and Councillors – City of Melbourne

Lord Mayor and Councillors

City of Melbourne

Town Halls

Swanston Street

Melbourne

Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors

I am writing to request that the City of Melbourne defer the development and construction of the proposed bike lane in St Kilda Road and that the development be referred for consideration at the next City of Melbourne Future Melbourne Committee.
The current City Council has not considered or approved the project other than approve the Council’s Budget and 4 year plan.
There are a number of major issues of concern in relation to the proposed design that should be reviewed.

LATROBE STREET BIKE LANE
The Latrobe Street bike lane has been a complete disaster with growing concern about public safety and suitability of this design.  The Lord Mayor himself on public radio has indicated as such and that the City of Melbourne needs to review the development and make a number of changes to the design including the removal of on street parking.
It would be prudent that such a review is completed prior to the commencement of construction of a similar bicycle lane in St Kilda Road.

PUBLIC SAFETY
The section of St Kilda Road between Princess Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue is widely used by bus operators and members of the public visiting with family and friends the Arts precinct and the neighboring Gardens.

Many with children, elderly or disabled passengers. The proposed design and lane separation would constitute a major risk to public safety to commuters and pedestrians and needs to be reconsidered in light of the problems identified as a result of the construction of the Latrobe Street bike path experiences

The proposed development could be in breach of the Equal Opportunities Act in that it severely disadvantages disabled by denying them  access to safe parking.  Council needs to contact and have reviewed the proposed design by the Victorian Disabilities Advocate

The proposed lane design will force motorists to park on the outside of the bike lane three meters from the footpath creating a major risk to pedestrian and motorist safety.

Passengers alighting from parked vehicles will have to negotiate a balancing act on the one meter concrete strip and check for bicycles racing down the bike lane whilst running to reach the footpath on the other side.  The design will place families with children and the elderly safety at serious risk.  Mums with prams or those with wheel chairs will not be able to safely park their cars in the 3 hour parking zones.  Bus drivers and taxi operators will have similar safety concerns when dropping off passengers.

The proposed “island of danger” separation barrier will be installed in the south bound location between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow  Avenue south of the Floral Clock. Beyond Linlithgow Avenue the bike lane will revert back into the standard bike lane design adding to confusion and further road safety concerns.

Drivers exiting a vehicle will be forced into opening car doors into congested on coming road traffic causing a further risk to motorist safety.

BUS PARKING – DROP OFF ZONE

The proposed design is a serious threat to the safety of passengers exiting the bus with passengers having step onto the one metre concrete separation barrier, then wait to ensure there are no bicycles bearing down on them before crossing the two metre bike path on to the adjacent footpath. The situation is made worst when there are 40 other passengers all wanting to exit the bus at the same time and even worst again in an emergency situation.

ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS
The City of Melbourne needs to reconsider alternative designs that addresses the above safety issues.
In discussion with Senior City of Melbourne Engineers I understand that there was a preferred alternative design similar to the design implemented in Claredon Street East Melbourne.

The Claredon Street bicycle lane uses a delineated bicycle path with a painted safety area to protect cyclists form harm by car dooring. It allows cyclists to travel at a safe distance from parked cars.

A better and much cheaper option is to widen the existing bike path and delineate it from parked cars by line marking as is the case in Clarendon Street East Melbourne.   This would allow sufficient room for cyclists to pass without entering in to the parked car door zone and for the same cost could be extended past the Shine up to Domain Road and beyond. They could also apply the same treatment to the other side adjacent to the Art Gallery and Concert Hall giving ratepayers more value for their dollar.

 The alternative design would be cheaper in cost to install and would allow the City of Melbourne to greater flexibility in implementing and changes that may be required. 

The Claredon Street design solution addresses many of not all of the major concerns in relation to public safety without placing at risk commuter and pedestrian safety.

Further the Claredon St design solution is consistent with the other section of bicycle lane in St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge. The savings in cost would allow the city of Melbourne in conjunction with VicRoads to extend the alternative design bike path to include the entire stretch of St Kilda Road in both directions further adding to cyclist and pedestrian safety.

EMERGENCY ACCESS
St Kilda Road is a major access point for emergency vehicles from and to The Alfred Hospital in Commercial Rd
The construction of the separated bicycle lane barrier would limit  movement and egress options for emergency vehicles.

As I understand Emergency services have not been consulted on the proposed design and the alternative options. The implementation of the Claredeon Street design solution would enable greater flexibility and access for emergency vehicles.
.
REVIEW OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
It is fundamental and prudent that the City of Melbourne that the Council undertake a comprehensive review of the Latrobe Street bike lane and the proposed design of the St Kilda Rd bicycle plan.

In light of the above issues of concern.  Should any person be injured as a result of the proposed development Council would be held liable for any injury and the accident would not be covered by the Victorian Motor Accident Insurance Scheme if a vehicle is not involved.

I therefore request that the City of Melbourne as a matter of urgency defer the construction of the proposed development and refer the project for further consideration at a Future Melbourne Committee and that members of the public and other stakeholders be proposed the opportunity to make further submission on the impact of the proposed design and the alternative options/

Should you require further information I can be contacted via return email
Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats
South Yarra
cc Victorian Minster for Roads, State Opposition Spokesperson for Roads, RACV, Members of Parliament and the Media

St Kilda Rd Bicycle Lane: Open Letter to the Lord Mayor and Councillors – City of Melbourne

Lord Mayor and Councillors

City of Melbourne

Town Halls

Swanston Street

Melbourne

Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors

I am writing to request that the City of Melbourne defer the development and construction of the proposed bike lane in St Kilda Road and that the development be referred fro consideration at the next City of Melbourne Future Melbourne Committee.
The Current City Council has not considered or approved the project other than approve the Council’s Budget and 4 year plan.
There are a number of major issues of concern in relation to the proposed design that should be reviewed.

LATROBE STREET BIKE LANE
The Latrobe Street bike lane has been a complete disaster with growing concern about public safety and suitability of this design.  The Lord Mayor himself on public radio has indicated as such and that the City of Melbourne needs to review the development and make a number of changes to the design including the removal of on street parking.
It would be prudent that such a review is completed prior to the commencement of construction of a similar bicycle lane in St Kilda Road.

PUBLIC SAFETY
The section of St Kilda Road between Princess Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue is widely used by bus operators and members of the public visiting with family and friends the Arts precinct and the neighboring Gardens.

Many with children, elderly or disabled passengers. The proposed design and lane separation would constitute a major risk to public safety to commuters and pedestrians and needs to be reconsidered in light of the problems identified as a result of the construction of the Latrobe Street bike path experiences

The proposed lane design will force motorists to park on the outside of the bike lane three meters from the footpath creating a major risk to pedestrian and motorist safety.

Passengers alighting from parked vehicles will have to negotiate a balancing act on the one meter concrete strip and check for bicycles racing down the bike lane whilst running to reach the footpath on the other side.  The design will place families with children and the elderly safety at serious risk.  Mums with prams or those with wheel chairs will not be able to safely park their cars in the 3 hour parking zones.  Bus drivers and taxi operators will have similar safety concerns when dropping off passengers.

The proposed “island of danger” separation barrier will be installed in the south bound location between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow  Avenue south of the Floral Clock. Beyond Linlithgow Avenue the bike lane will revert back into the standard bike lane design adding to confusion and further road safety concerns.

Drivers exiting a vehicle will be forced into opening car doors into congested on coming road traffic causing a futher risk to motorist safety.
 

BUS PARKING – DROP OFF ZONE

The proposed design is a serious threat to the safety of passengers exiting the bus with passengers having step onto the 1 metre concrete separation barrier, then wait to ensure there are no bicycles bearing down on them before crossing the 2 metre bike path on to the adjacent footpath. The situation is made worst when there are 40 other passengers all wanting to exit the bus at the same time and even worst again in an emergency situation.

ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS
The City of Melbourne needs to reconsider alternative designs that address the above safety issues.
In discussion with Senior City of Melbourne Engineers I understand that there was a preferred alternative design similar to the design implemented in Claredon Street East Melbourne.

A better and much cheaper option is to widen the existing bike path and delineate it from parked cars by line marking as is the case in Clarendon Street East Melbourne.   This would allow sufficient room for cyclists to pass without entering in to the parked car door zone and for the same cost could be extended past the Shine up to Domain Road and beyond. They could also apply the same treatment to the other side adjacent to the Art Gallery and Concert Hall giving ratepayers more value for their dollar. The Claredon Street bicycle lane uses a delineated bicycle path with a painted safety area to protect cyclists form harm by car dooring. It allows cyclists to travel at a safe distance from parked cars.

This alternative design would be cheaper in cost to install and would allow the City of Melbourne to greater flexibility in implementing and changes that may be required. 

The Claredon Street design solution address many of not all of the major concerns in relation to public safety without placing at risk commuter and pedestrian safety.

Further the Claredon St design solution is consistent with the other section of bicycle lane in St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge. The savings in cost would allow the city of Melbourne in conjunction with VicRoads to extend the alternative design bike path to include the entire stretch of St Kilda Road in both directions further adding to cyclist and pedestrian safety.
EMERGENCY ACCESS
St Kilda Road is a major access point for emergency vehicles from and to The Alfred Hospital in Commercial Rd
The construction of the separated bicycle lane barrier would restrict  movement and egress options for emergency vehicles.

As I understand Emergency services have not been consulted on the proposed design and the alternative options. The implementation of the Claredeon Street design solution would enable greater flexibility and access for emergency vehicles.
.
REVIEW OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
It is fundamental and prudent that the City of Melbourne that the Council undertake a comprehensive review of the Latrobe Street bile lane and the proposed design of the St Kilda Rd bicycle plan.

In light of the above issues of concern.  Should any person be injured as a result of the proposed development Council would be held liable for any injury and the accident would not be covered by the Victorian Motor Accident Insurance Scheme if a vehicle is not involved.

I therefore request that the City of Melbourne as a matter of urgency defer the construction of the proposed development and refer the project for further consideration at a Future Melbourne Committee and that members of the public and other stakeholders be proposed the opportunity to make further submission on the impact of the proposed design and the alternative options/

Should you require further information I can be contacted via return email
Yours faithfully

Anthony van der Craats
South Yarra
cc Victorian Minster for Roads, State Opposition Spokesperson for Roads, RACV, Members of Parliament and the Media

Frustrated drivers avoid Princes Bridge for escape routes

Frustrated drivers avoid Princes Bridge
Cars wait on Princes Bridge, which had a lane removed for a bike lane. Picture: Nicole Garmston Source: News Limited
THE removal of a lane on the Princes Bridge is causing traffic chaos on Melbourne’s already clogged roads.

The flow-on impact of dramatic changes to the bridge is being felt on the Swan St Bridge, putting extra pressure on other nearby routes and is adding up to an extra 38 seconds for cars to get through the Flinders St intersection during peak times.

Peak-hour drivers stuck in traffic slammed the decision to remove one city-bound lane, saying it added anywhere from five to 30 minutes to their travel time.
The RACV said frustrated drivers were turning off St Kilda Rd on to Southbank Boulevard because the traffic was not moving or moving at a crawl.

“We have observed cars in the through lanes on St Kilda Rd at Southbank Bouvlevard seemingly waiting for the left turn lane to clear and then getting frustrated and making a last-minute change and heading down Southbank Boulevard,” manager roads and traffic Dave Jones said.

“They are in the through lane and they are queued up waiting, lights are green, they can’t get through and then they pull into that turn lane and make a quick turn around the corner, probably heading down to one of the alternative routes.”

It took the Herald Sun 12 minutes one morning last week to drive the 1.5km from Dorcas St, South Melbourne, to Flinders St Station.

Another morning it took seven minutes.

The City of Melbourne controversially removed one lane of northbound traffic on the bridge last month in a move opposed by the RACV and VECCI.

The three-month trial, expected to cost $70,000 and part of a plan to make the city more bike-friendly, reduced the number of cars queuing northbound on the bridge from 44 to 22.
Hampton woman Joanna Finney said the bike lane should be put back on the bridge footpath.

“It has added another fifteen minutes to my commute and unfortunately there is no other way I can get to work,” she said.

“The only other way is Punt Road but that is chaotic.”

About 34,000 motorists, 31,000 pedestrians and 5500 cyclists use the bridge each day.

Cr Richard Foster said he was very concerned at some of the anecdotes he heard about peak-hour waiting times but was waiting for official council data to make a proper assessment.

“`I am hearing stories of people waiting beyond the bridge for an additional 10 minutes,” Cr Foster said.

“Trials like this are really valuable because in the event that they don’t work it gives us an opportunity to (find) other options that do work.”

St Kilda Rd resident Marise Cheney said she thought traffic had gotten worse since the trial started and she was catching the tram more than driving.

“If I can I postpone appointments until after 9am,” Ms Cheney said.

“`I wish they would get rid of the bloody bikes on St Kilda Rd. I reckon there would be a dust up every morning.”

Council revealed last week it would remove a lane of southbound traffic on St Kilda Rd between Alexandra Gardens and the Floral Clock to make way for a new bike lane.

amelia.harris@news.com.au

Comment:

Vicroads official statistics show less than 2,000 bicycles use the St Kilda Rd/Princes Bridge Bike lane. the inflated 5,500 figure was provided by the Bicycle Users Group (BUG) taken on a ride to work day.  This is not the daily average

St Kilda Road Bike Plan Risk to Commuter and Predestrian Safety

City of Melbourne’s ill-considered $330k St Kilda Lane Bicycle Lane will trade off pedestrian and motorist safety for a marginal gain in cyclist safety. 

Melbourne City Council plans to install a 300 metre section of St Kilda Road Separated bike path against the advice of its own engineers. The bike separation design is similar to the design of the LaTrobe Street bike lane that was installed last month.

The proposed lane design will force motorists to park on the outside of the bike lane 3 meters from the footpath creating a major risk to pedestrian and motorist safety.

Passengers alighting from parked vehicles will have to negotiate a balancing act on the one meter concrete strip and check for bicycles racing down the bike lane whilst running to reach the footpath on the other side.  The design will place families with children and the elderly safety at serious risk.  Mums with prams or those with wheel chairs will not be able to safely park their cars in the 3 hour parking zones.  Bus drivers and taxi operators will have similar safety concerns when dropping off passengers.

The proposed “island of danger” separation barrier will be installed in the south bound location between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow  Avenue south of the Floral Clock. Beyond Linlithgow Avenue the bike lane will revert back into the standard bike lane design adding to confusion and road safety concerns.

This part of St Kilda Road is a favorite drop-off point and parking location for those visiting the gardens and the Arts Centre/Concert Halls

Melbourne City Council Traffic Engineers prefer to install a line-marked lane only without the inside dangerous separation barrier but have been overridden by Engineering Services Manager Geoff Robertson.   City Council Traffic Engineers sight the successful design of the Claredon Street East Melbourne bike lane where the width of the bike lane is such that bikes travel outside of the car door opening zone.  A line painted only bike lane is significantly cheaper than teh ocst of a physical lane separation and would allow the Council to extend the lane beyond Linlithgow Avenue, It also allows emergency vehicles unimpeded access.

Melbourne City Council is under fire over it implementation of its Bicycle Network. The $2.6 Million Latrobe Street experiment is considered to be a complete disaster with the Council now having to remove on-street car parking which has since been found to be unsafe.

The current City Council has never considered or approved the proposed design in open committee. Stakeholders have been denied the opportunity to have their concerns heard.

Crs Stephen Mayne and Rohan Leppert

The Chairman of the City Council’s Governance and Finance Portfolio and Deputy Chair of Planning, Stephen Mayne (who campaigned on open transparency governance platform) has refused to subject the proposed development of a review process. Councillor Mayne is oblivious to the extravagant waste preferring to ignore the professional advise of the City Engineers and instead action the advise of a rouge manager in order to please the Green Councillors who have placed Cyclists interests ahead of public safety concerns of commuters and pedestrians

Councillor Richard Foster has expressed concern and opposition to the St Kilda Rd development by has been railroad by the Greens and  the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle into remaining silent. Councillor Foster wants the development referred to open Council Committee to allow Council to consider the opinions of all stakeholders and the pros and cons of the various designs.

Other City Councillors are also concerned  about the development and the extent of intimidation and railroading of the process by Senior Council Management