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.

Herald Sun: Bike lane blunder

CLOSING a traffic lane over Princes Bridge to make more room for cyclists is as silly as the antics of the “birdmen” who ride off the bridge each year at Moomba.


Car chaos will be the result of the plan by Melbourne City Council to make the city more bike-friendly. Forcing traffic into a funnel over the bridge is likely to cause gridlock at the intersection of St Kilda Rd and Flinders St under the station clocks.

This became congested when the city council decided to block Swanston St to traffic and would become impassable during peak periods.

Clashes between drivers and cyclists promise to become even more heated.

RACV manager of public policy, Brian Negus, describes it as a “cheap option” and an “unacceptable proposal” in what is an already busy area.

This proposal will make it worse. Cars and cyclists are not a happy mix and while cars can be a lethal weapon when drivers are impatient and frustrated in traffic, cyclists are often to blame by shouting abuse at drivers and banging on car doors.

All road users are entitled to travel in safety, but Melbourne City Council needs to rethink what is a dangerous waste of money.

Source Herald Sun Editorial

RACV slams plan to remove car lane on Princes Bridge

BICYCLE MADNESS
Source: Herald  Sun

The RACV has blasted the idea, saying it would increase commuter congestion and pose safety problems on the bridge and at the “complex” T-intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets.

The council’s Bicycle Plan 2012-16 proposes installing “chevron-separated lanes by removing one lane of traffic”.

“This will increase the capacity of a major link to the central city, improve safety and reduce pedestrian/cyclist conflict,” the plan says.

VicRoads and City of Melbourne are using traffic modelling as part of planning.


Cr Cathy Oke, who chairs the City of Melbourne’s transport committee, declined to comment before the design was signed off.

RACV general manager of public policy Brian Negus said removing at least one lane of traffic appeared to be a cheap option.

“They should either be looking at changing the cross-section on the footpath or indeed looking at another separate bridge for bicycles,” Mr Negus said. “Our interpretation of what is briefly outlined in the document is one lane of traffic disappears in both directions.

“It is just an unacceptable proposal in what is already a busy area. This will make it significantly worse from a congestion point of view and it becomes a safety issue as well.”

Mr Negus called on the council to undertake a feasibility study for a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge next to Princes Bridge.

Council spokeswoman Irene Vlahos said the proposed works on Princes Bridge were part of $5.6 million allocated in the 2012-13 budget to improve the city’s cycling network.

“Vital to any works is improved safety and consistency for all road users,” Ms Vlahos said. “Planning for this project is under way and we are working closely with VicRoads on the concept design.”

Twenty-two cyclists were injured after smashes on Princes Bridge between 2008 and 2010, according to VicRoads statistics. Bicycle Network Victoria counted 1864 bikes on the bridge between 7am and 9am during its annual counting day earlier this month.

Mr Negus said the RACV also opposed council building a $2.4 million separated bike route on La Trobe St.

amelia.harris@news.com.au

Comment:

The City Council continues to lock down the city causing ongoing congestion in the city centre. The Council has come under fire for its Bike Madness and lack of community consultation.  Motorcycle riders in particular have not been consulted.  

The  City Council’s Engineers are slowly strangling the city. Swanston Walk was originally planned as a pedestrian street but has has now been overtaken by Lycra clad cyclists who show little concern for other road users or pedestrian safety.  Add to that the closing down of traffic lanes in La-Trobe Streets and other ill-considered bike plans.

Businesses are crying out and not being heard. The cost of doing business in the CBD retail precinct is diving retail business out of the city with the cost of couriers and delivery set to go through the roof as movement around the City Center is further constricted.

What’s worst is the elected Council  is oblivious pr unwilling to address the situation. Many of the decisions are made under delegation and  not brought forward to the Council’s open public forums

Robert Doyle appears to be held hostage to the Greens and overzealous Engineers.

This could be the issue that brings down the Lord Mayor and team Doyle if they do not begin to address it properly.  The Council reports gave the impression that the Council’s 5.4Million nike plan was approved by the RACV.  This clearly is not the case. Stakeholder representative groups have been ignored and their opinion shoved aside. The extent of the Council’s consultation process was a few meetings with Bicycle users groups held in city cafes over a cup of coffee.

The City Council needs to stop and rethink its plans and hold a major forum and review of its Bicycle network or face the wrath of business and motorists alike.

La Trobe Street $5.6m Bike Lanes to worsen city congestion

The City of Melbourne is about to spend a further $5.6 Milllion dollars constructing 15Km of bike paths along La Trobe Street ($2.4M) and other city streets, reducing the number of traffic lanes from two to one, causing ongoing traffic congestion and ciaos.

The La Trobe Street bike path will incorporate a road separation between the bike path and parked cars.

La Trobe Street profile: There will be only one lane of traffic, one lane for parking and one lane for bicycles and trams in each direction. Reducing traffic flow from two lanes to one.

A review of the City Councils design documents shows the extent of misleading and deceptive information provided to the public. The design document fails to provide full details or map of the design solution adopted. It is clearly deceptive and designed to mislead residents, business and stakeholders alike. Whilst the Council Engineering Services group claim they have engaged in broad community consultation the truth is the consultation process was seriously flawed with many decisions made behind closed doors.

Limited consultation was undertaken with major stakeholder groups. Motorcyclists and scooter riders in particular were not consulted and unrepresented. 

Consultation involved face-to-face engagement through café information sessions, meetings with key stakeholder groups and door-to-door visits to businesses and property owners along La Trobe Street, as well as an online survey.

The La Trobe Street redevelopment plans will add further to the existing traffic congestion caused by lane reductions. La Tobe street is a major cross-city transport connection route.  Many of the city’s bike lanes, like the ones in Queensberry Street and Albert Road, are under utilized. Not only do they add to traffic congestion they seriously compromise road safety for motorists and pedestrians alike.  There are better alternative options, Streets such as Franklin Street which are not major traffic arterial roads should have been considered prior to reducing traffic lanes in La Trobe Street    The Melbourne City bike lanes and traffic policy needs major review and some lanes should be opened up and shared by other road users or removed.

Traffic Congestion in Melbourne: Green overkill

How much of Melbourne traffic congestion is due to overkill in bike paths?

Painting a line on a road and reducing the number of lanes available does not create a bike friendly city?  To the contrary it reduces safety and causes more congestion and traffic chaos.

Bad design and poor choices no consultation.  It is time to review our bike network and take into consideration other road users.