Proposed St Kilda Rd Bike Plan Threat to Public Safety

Melbourne Bus and taxi operators have expressed concern about the safety of its passengers if the Melbourne City Council’s proposed St Kilda Road Bike Lane development is allowed to proceed.

The proposed design is a serious threat to the safety of passengers exiting the bus with passengers having step onto the 1 metre stone separation barrier, then wait to ensure there are no bicycles bearing down on them before crossing the 3 metre bike path on to the adjacent footpath. The situation is worst when there are 40 other passengers all wanting to exit the bus at the same time and would even worst again in an emergency situation. 

Bus and taxi drivers are joining the chorus of other community groups  opposed to the proposed $330,000 bike plan design which is scheduled to be installed next month.

Residents, business and community groups are calling on the City Council to scrap the plan and hold am open public review of the proposal.

Community advocate and former City Councillor David Nolte has said that Cr Richard Foster has expressed concern at the proposal and t bis understood he has asked that the matter be brought before Council.

Other Councillors have also expressed concern but said that the issue was in the hands of the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle who was opposed to any review in spite growing concern over its impact on public safety.

Cr Stephen Mayne, who claims to be an advocate for open and transparent government, was not prepared to discuss this issue.

UPDATE: Cr Foster as indicated that he will be calling for a halt to the project and that a report be presented in detail at the next Future Melbourne Committee

Bad Engineering: St. Kilda Rd Bike path fails to consider disabled

Cracks have began to appear in the City of Melbourne’s St Kilda Rd  Bike Lane separation proposal.

The proposed development has not been subject to a public review by the City of Melbourne’s Future Melbourne Committee and the needs and concerns of community groups ignored with the City Engineers failing to take into consideration the impact on disabled stakeholders needs.

The design  of the St Kilda Rd  bike lane is similar to that recently installed in Latrobe Street which has been met with wide condemnation, Recent  comments in public radio by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle indicate the LaTrobe Street bike path was not working and that Council is now forced into considering withdrawing on-street car parking in the area. A move that has angered retailers and owners alike.

The Copenhagen style bike lane separation structures constitute a serious risk to public safety and  motorist parking with disabled and elderly passengers effected the most. The proposed development does not comply with public policy in relation to disabled access.  The Office of Disability in the Department of Human Services had not been consulted.

Calls have been made for the Lord Mayor and City Councillors to put an urgent halt to the proposed development in St Kilda Rd to allow for a public review of the City’s Engineering Bike plan amidst concerns that there are better alternative design options.

The proposed development which is budgeted to cost $330,000 is scheudled to commence on August the 5th

Efforts to contact Richard Foster (Spokesperson for the Council’s People City Portfolio), Cr Ken Ong and Stephen Mayne (Planning) to try and put a hold on the proposed development so as to allow for review and stakeholder consultation was unsuccessful.

City of Melbourne Failing to Learn from the Mistakes of the recent past

The City of Melbourne is about to commence work on installing LaTrobe Street style bike path along a section of St Kilda Road.   The proposal will involve a removal of one lane of traffic and the construction of a concrete separation barriers costing an estimated $330,000. ($1000 a metre)

Council  Engineering Services claims that the new bike path is needed to improve cyclist safety.

Experience on the Latrobe Street bicycle paths indicates that public safety has not improved instead motorist are  forced into opening doors into moving traffic and passengers safety alighting from parked vehicles is at risk. Particularly the elderly or disabled who park in this section of St Kilda Road to access the Art Gallery and nearby parkland.

Whilst we see no problems in removing a lane of traffic (there are currently three lanes along St Kilda Road) there is no need to install concrete island separation barriers.

Separation barriers do not work. They are an eye saw, look tacky, and would seriously detract from the heritage street scape on St Kilda Road.  Gaps are required to be left in between the concrete sections to allow for drainage during period of heavy rain and flooding.  These gaps collect rubbish and add to the public safety risk.  How the City Council managed to get the approval from urban designers and the city heritage consultants is beyond belief. (Nothing surprises us when it comes to Rob Adams Urban design standards. Rob Adams once proposed building balconies above Victorian Heritage verandahs totally destroying Melbourne’s heritage street-scape.)

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 current City Council has not voted on the proposal, The decision to go ahead with the Engineering folly was decided under delegation behind closed doors with the blessing and support of the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.

According to Vicroads data less than 2,000 cyclists use St Kilda Rd per day.

The proposed engineering works will not extend the full length of St Kilda Road only the section between Princess Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue just past the floral clock

Engineering work is expected to commence on
August 5

Doyle’s Dodgy Data and Porkies about Princes Bridge Bike Lane Trial

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, and Bicycle Network lobby accused of promoting false and misleading statical data to justify the reduction in car lanes on Princes Bridge.

News Limited, Jessica Evans, falsely reported that there are 5500 bikes using Princes Bridge which services an average 40,000 cars a day. Robert Doyle also claimed that the number of bicycle movements on the Bridge represented 10% of all traffic movements.

Official figures published by Vicroads portrays a different story.

Vicroad’s maintains an induction loop counter on St Kilda Road in front of the Shrine of Remembrance and reports that the daily average number of bike movements on St Kilda Road to August in 2012 was 1652 (891N and 761S) and 2,691 bikes movements in 2011. Far less than the over inflated figure of 5,500 quoted by the City of Melbourne, the Bicycle Lobby and Journalists.

Independent counts undertaken the week before the lane closures indicated less than 2000 bikes use Princess bridge matching the Vicroads statistics A figure that concurs with the RACV’s data analysis.

This represents less than 5% of the overall traffic movements.

The greatest number of bicycle movements on the North bound lane across Princess bridge is in the morning peak hour 7:45AM to 8:45AM. 0utside this period on average there is less than one a minute.

Traffic congestion on the bridge extended beyond the peak hour period as motorists were forced into one lane whilst the bike lane remained empty. 

Monitoring of traffic on the Bridge during the morning peak hour showed that a number of bicycle riders continued to use the foot path as opposed to the provided dedicated North bound bicycle lane. Some even travelling in the wrong direction riding in the footpath South not North.

Activists critical of the City of  Melbourne’ Bike Network were sidelined by radio 3AW jock Neil Mitchel when interviewing Robert Doyle on Thursday Morning. Mitchel cutting them short by falsely claiming they were lobbyists.   It was clear that Robert Doyle and Neil Mitchel  did not want to have an informed debate or exposure of the false statistics espoused by the Lord Mayor.

The current elected City Council has not debated or approved in open Council meetings the closure of the Princes Bridge lane which was rushed through so money set aside for the project could be spent before the June 30 financial year comes to a close. The Princes Bridge Bike lane is on trail for 3 months.

Cyclist riding South on the footpath in wrong direction

Sign advising Cyclists to dismount ignored and not policed in full view of the City of Melbourne CCTV camera located adjacent on Flinders Street Station

Princes Bridge Traffic Chaos.

Morning traffic on Sta Kilda Road and Princes Bridge was pure mayhem following the City of Melbourne decision to close down Princes Bridge to one lane. Traffic banked up St Kilda Road past the Art Galley back to Grant Street and beyond.

The City of Melbourne has placed its spin on the first day of lane closures on Princes Bridge with a false claim that the transition went well.  To the contrary…

An estimated 500 to 600 bikes travelled over Princes Bride in the morning and then dropped off with very few bikes counted in the mid afternoon.  The bike lane remaining void of bicycle traffic most of the time.

Cyclists safety was at risk at the North end of the Bridge where the lane narrows as cars enter the two lane queuing bay before Flinders Street with most cars turning right into Flinders Street.

The two lane holding bay was half empty, with only one lane of traffic feeding the turning bay it was unable to fill up before traffic was stopped by traffic lights. Either the City Council has not updated traffic signals or their modelling was seriously flawed.

The Melbourne Tourist bus reporting that it took twice as long to cross the bridge then normal.

Melbourne City Council Engineers were out and about monitoring the situation.

Engineering Services Manager Geoff Robinson look on and turned a blind eye to numerous cyclist crossing Swanston Street from Batman Av.Princes Walk to travelling north using the pedestrian crossing without first dismounting, placing pedestrian safety at risk.

 Traffic congestion in one lane whilst Bike lane remains free of bikes.

 Holding bay left half vacant as one lane is unable to fill it within the regulating traffic light cycle

 Police called by City Engineers, City of Melbourne misuse of CCTV

Police Van blocking Bike lane at point in the road where traffic enters the holding bay

Cyclist ignoring traffic signals

 City Engineers survey the situation

Cyclists illegal crossing at pedestrian lights 

 Pedestrians safety placed at risk

 Cyclist travelling at full speed at pedestrian crossing failed to dismount. Police turn a blind eye as do City Engineers

 Engineering Services Manager Geoff Robinson looks on

 Truck cuts into bike lane at Northern end of Princes Bridge where it enters the holding turning bay

 Holding turning bay left half vacant

 Taxis forced into road safety point where two lanes merge into one 

Midday traffic congestion. Bike lane void of bikes

Overnight Lane Closure on Bridge

The City of Melbourne has embarked on an overnight road to reduce traffic access on Princes Bridge to make way for a new Bicycle plan.

North bound traffic on Princes Bridge will have push their way to merge into one lane in order to to cross the river.

The City of Melbourne, under Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has pushed ahead with the lane closure in spite community opposition by the RACV, VicRoads, and local Residents.

Residents South of the Yarra say they have been cut-off and access to the city is now limited.

There is no other viable alternative mans of crossing the River East of Princess Bridge.  The Swan Street Bridge is already congested as is the case to the Queens Street Bridge to the West.

The City of Melbourne claim that the lane closure is a trial and that the Council will evaluate its impact following a 3 months trial

The City of Melbourne say that Princes Bridge is used by over 5,500 cyclists a day yet official VicRoads figures show only 3000 bikes have been recorded crossing the bridge in summer. A recent independent survey taken last week showed that less than 2000 bikes where using the St Kilda Road bike lanes.

The City Council is engineering congestion. T^he Princes Bridge will be the sixth lane closure in the City constricting traffic movement. Other roads include Albert St, Latrobe Street, Queensberry Street and Macaulay Road with plans for more City roads to be reduced to single lane traffic.

Motorcycle and Scooter riders have joined the growing chorus of opposition to the City Bike madness. They say that “the City traffic is getting worse as a result of the growing number of bike lanes which are empty most of the time”. The bike lanes take up space that Motorcyclists and Scooter riders use to access to move ahead of standing traffic.

Police and emergency services are also concerned at the level and safety of access to the city.

Motorists parked on LatTrobe street are reporting insufficient room to park the car. Drivers are running the risk of opening car doors into on coming traffic.  It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured. the City Council will be forced into removing car parking along LaTrobe street all together.

The City of Melbourne has had to make a number of changes to the Latrobe Street design and they still have not got it right.

Traffic traveling Eats along Queensberry Street say they are forced to use a single lane even though there is no bicycles using the bike lane.

Last night the City of Melbourne ignored community concern that the Council was about to spend $300,000 on constructing a bike path along Neil Street Carlton.  A Street that has no traffic and very few bicycles using it. Estimated to be less than 30 bikes a day. The Neil Street plan is opposed by all community groups including Melbourne Bicycle Users Group MBUG.

The push for lane closures and the construction of bike lanes is the work of Geoff Robinson, City Engineering and Rob Adams, director of Urban design

Geoff Robinson had to spend the money now before the end of the financial year or risk losing funding.

The current City Council has not voted on the Princes Bridge project which is proceeding under delegation and decision made by the previous Council.   Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, who had previously campaigned on a policy to limiting the growth of bike paths, has become captive  to the Greens and the bike lobby.  It is understood that a majority of the elected Council is also opposed to the Princes Bridge closure. The suggested trail will uncountably become permant as divers are forced to queue to access the City.

The City Council last night also rejected a proposal to use the millions of dollars collected in a congestion tax to  be used to provide free inner city public transport. A proposal that was rejected by the Council and the Two Greens who refused to even consider it.

The way things are going, Doyle may as well ban cars altogether. – Bruce Guthrie Sunday Age

Illustration: Matt Davidson.Illustration: Matt Davidson. 
Source The  Sunday Age – June 2 2013

Honestly, why doesn’t Robert Doyle erect barricades, put up signs and establish checkpoints around the city to reinforce the obvious? If you’re not on two legs, two wheels or public transport, Melbourne doesn’t want you any more. Our city no longer likes motorists or their cars and it would be better for everyone if the lord mayor just came out and said it.

He came close last year, when he wrote in the foreword to the Transport Plan for Melbourne: ”We are a walking and cycling city, and council provides infrastructure to improve the safety and convenience of cyclists and pedestrians.”

I’ll try to remember that when next I’m forced to drive into town because the weather’s foul or the train or tram systems fail me. Which is pretty often.

The latest salvo against drivers came last week when the council announced it would reduce northbound traffic lanes from two to one on the western side of Princes Bridge to make way for ”a wide green bicycle lane”. 

It’s supposed to be a three-month trial, with roadworks beginning in June, but I’ll bet the lord mayoral Lycra that we will never get that second lane back. (Yes, he wears it on his bike rides; sorry for that image.)
The council says the switch should improve safety by ”moving cyclists from the footpath, which is often crowded, onto their own larger, dedicated lane on the road”.
In a tortured attempt at minimising anger and frustration among motorists forced to queue even longer on St Kilda Road approaches, Doyle said it would affect only 22 cars. Strictly speaking, that’s probably true at any given time. But it will be happening over and over again, a fact the lord mayor did not acknowledge.
Neither did the council press release, which said disingenuously: ”There will be no significant impact to travel times and, while queues will be longer, the same number of vehicles will be able to pass through the [Flinders Street] intersection.” Really? I suspect it will take less time to crawl across the bridge on hands and knees than it will be to drive.
I have no argument with separating cyclists and pedestrians, but I’m not sure it should be at the expense of motorists. Besides, a two-wheeled Fast & Furious plays out every night on the footpaths immediately below Princes Bridge’s south side, and nothing is done about that.
Anyone who has walked along Yarra Promenade by Crown Casino or Southbank Promenade’s restaurant strip during the evening peak knows they are at risk from commuting cyclists. The speed limit for bicycles there is supposed to be 10km/h, but few take notice of it. A drugged-up Lance Armstrong would have trouble keeping up with some of them.
Indeed, when I was editing the Herald Sun five years ago, we hired a speed-gun expert to monitor bicycle traffic on the promenades and found that many cyclists were travelling at twice the speed limit and, in some cases, more. A recent walk there indicated nothing’s changed.
The council has done little or nothing to deal with that – maybe it’s because while they are happy to put limits on drivers, they are disinclined to upset the cycling lobby.
The RACV was quick to condemn the council’s Princes Bridge plan, calling it ”yet another solution on the cheap” that would do little to improve congestion or safety. Their roads and traffic manager, Dave Jones, said it proved the council had learnt nothing from the problems it created through ill-considered changes to La Trobe Street traffic flows. He might have also cited changes to Albert Street on the eastern fringe of the city, where similar ”Copenhagen-style” bicycle lanes – wedged between parked cars and the footpath – continue to delay and confound motorists and their passengers, who have to dodge cyclists when they alight from vehicles.
The pain for motorists does not end there: on-street parking fees are about to jump almost 40 per cent to $5.50 an hour, while rates in council car parks can be double that. (Our private car parks are already among the most expensive in the world.) All in the name of a glossy Transport Plan. Forgive my scepticism, but it sounds like nothing more than a grab for cash under the guise of greening the place. The council is not the first enterprise to do that.
This undeclared war on motorists can’t eliminate cars entirely, though. If that was truly the goal, the council would get rid of on-street parking and turn the space over to pedestrians and cyclists, without penalising moving traffic. But it needs the revenue from parking meters, not to mention fines: it expects to collect $40 million in infringements in the next financial year, aided by those insidious sensors the Doyle administration has been installing in spaces across the city. They mean you can be ticketed even though your meter might show minutes remaining.
It’s no wonder people are taking their business elsewhere. 
Bruce Guthrie is a former editor of The Age and The Sunday Age.

Doyle Trial by deception. Pushes ahead on Princes Bridge lane closure

Melbourne City Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, thumbed his nose at the community and has decided to push ahead with plans to remove traffic lanes on Princess Bridge to make way for bicycles.

Robert Doyle claims the proposal is a trail by city insiders know this is not the case

The City Council has been criticised by the RACV, business and residents alike with Residents’ South of the Yarra complaining there were not been consulted .  South of the Yarra will be blocked-out from accessing the city as Princes Bridge is the MAIN access point to the City.

The number of cyclists using Princess Bridge is minimal and even less during during off-peak and the non summer periods.

Melbourne’s bike paths have come under considerable community opposition.  It’s bike madness.  The City of Melbourne is Engineering congestion.
The push for more bike paths in the City comes from City Engineers Geoff Robinson and Haig Poulson.

Last month the City Council had to defer it’s Road Safety Plan following complaints by Melbourne’s Motorcycle and Scooter riders that they were not consulted in the development of the Traffic management plan.

And it was not just Motorcyclist they were not consulted the City Engineer department also failed to consult Melbourne’s Emergency services, Ambulance or Fire Brigade.  Questions are being asked what impact the lane closure will have on Ambulances accessing the City from the Alfred Hospital?

The proposed lane reduction on Princes has been opposed by the RACV, Motorcycle/Scooter riders, businesses and City residents who have called on the State Government to step in and assume management of the City’s road infrastructure policy development and put a halt on the sheer madness that has engulf our city leaders.
The City Council is flushed with cash and the engineering department is keen to spend up big and issue contracts for expenditure that is not required.  

The Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street bike paths are not working and the intersection of Latrobe Street and Queen Street is an accident waiting to happen.

You only have to travel down Queensberry Street and LaTrobe Street where the Council has spent over 2.6 Million Dollars constructing bike paths that service few bikes.  There is hardly a bike in sight on Queensberry Street yet the council has dedicated a full lane of traffic to bicycles generating congestion in the Street and beyond.

The City of Melbourne has proposed spending additional $300,000 in next years budget on a bike path in Neil Street Carlton. 

We contacted a number of Councillors today and asked them if they had been down Neil Street? They said they had not.  Had they done so they would see that there is no Bicycle traffic or significant car movements in Neil Street that warrants the construction of a $300,000 bike path.  Most bikes use Canning Street not Neil Street.

Robert Doyle is pandering to the wishes of a few at the expense of the majority and in the process demonstrating why he would not have been a good State leader.   

The Princes Bridge “Trial” and lane reduction is another chink in the Armour and is having a negative impact on City businesses .  City Commuters and business will pay the cost for the Council’s engineered congestion,

Doyle pushes for Princes Bridge lane closure

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and the City of Melbourne plans to push ahead with the proposal to reduce traffic lanes in Princess Bridge to allow for the creation of a bike lane amidst opposition from  road users and the local community.

A reported 27,000 motorists use Princes Bridge to access the city a day .  The proposal is to reduced the number of car lanes from two in each direction to just a single lane to create a dedicated bike lane catering for less than 2000 bicyclists.

The Council’s claim to have consulted with stakeholders is false. The Council had consulted with bicycle riders, Vicroads and the RACV but has failed to consult with Motorcyclists, Scooter riders or local residents in South Bank or South Yarra.

Most traffic crossing Princes Bridge heading into the city turn right into Flinders Street and head east and also travel in the reverse direction when existing the city.

The proposed lane closure is expected to increase congestion in the city. The Flinders’ Street/Princess Bridge route is the only route that provides vehicle access to the South Yarra precinct.   Morall’s Bridge to the East which has been closed to vehicular traffic, is for pedestrians and bicyclist only.  The only other nearest means of crossing the Yarra into the City is along Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bride and the Batman Ave. Tollway that travels next to the Tennis Centre and into Exhibition Street.

Alexander Parade/Swan Street Bridge option is already congested with traffic backing up at Swan Street bridge as far back as Princess bridge and the Arts Centre  in peak hour traffic with little easing during the day.   This rout can not absorb any overflow created by Lane closure on Princes Bridge

The other option is for Motorists to travel down South Bank Boulevard around the Casino tuning left at Power Street and across into William Street or turn right and then along Queens Street.  Both of these options will increase travel time for motorists by 20 minutes and further add to city congestion.

The Council could look at constructing an new bridge linking Linlithgow Avenue to Batman Avenue but that would costs Millions of dollars. 

Transport Minister Terry Mulder says VicRoads has jurisdiction over the project.

“VicRoads would have to be consulted for any work that was to be undertaken on that bridge and any impact it would have on the broader road network,” Mr Mulder said.

Last month on 3AW Neil Mitchel Denis Napthine, Victoria’s  Premier, claimed that VicRoads had not signed off on the project.

Opposition spokesperson on Road, Luke Donnellan has also expressed concern over the proposed lane closure.  “The City of Melbourne must put in place alternative routes and measures before it can close down traffic on the bridge. All other options must be considered first.

Melbourne City Councillor Richard Foster echoing the views express by Luke Donnellan has called on the City of Melbourne to implement better line marking and bike path delineation before reducing traffic access to the City.

The City of Melbourne must rethink its proposed lane closure and consult more widely or run teh risk of a community backlash,.  South Yarra residents, who were not consulted, have expressed opposition to the proposal .  Residents are calling on Local State member and former deputy Lord Mayor,  Clem Newton-Brown to put a halt to the project and engaged in more consultation and consider alternative options.