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

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

Woman: Melbourne Council Caught Google Spying on Residents

Image

Source: 3AW

The City of Melbourne is employing Google Earth-style camera monitoring of its property in inner city residential streets.

Linda Bond, a Carlton woman told Tom Elliott she saw a council contractor filming backyards, with the camera gazing over fences.

“I was home one afternoon and I saw a camera on a stick peering into my backyard,” Linda said.

“I walked over to the car with the camera attached and I asked the people inside what they were doing and they said they were taking photographs for the council.

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.

Decision on Princes Bridge made under a cloak of secrecy

Melbourne City Council Lord Mayor and Councillors failed to consult on the decision to close down a lane on princes Bridge.

Councillors Stephen Mayne, Jackie Watts and Richard Foster and the Greens claim to be advocates for open transparent government yet on this and many other issues issue they have failed to ensure decisions of council were made in open session.

Questions have been raised to the legality of the decision making process as decisions of Council are supposed to be made in open Council. It appears that controversial decisions are being made under delegation following consideration at closed session Councillor Forms, locking out members of the public, where councillors give a nod and a wink and the decision is made.
 
No opportunity for public comment on thee proposal which will see access to the city restricted.  Residents South of the Yarra who are effected the most were not consulted.

If the issue appears in the Council budget papers then it is assumed that approval has been given.

Act of bad faith – Council credibility with the community at an all time low.

The Council’s budget papers indicated that the decision to build the bike lane was not possible before June 30 end of financial year.

Having deceived the public the Council held a serious of closed session and a decision has been made to announce the lane closure under the disguise of a “trial” . 

Just last week the City Council engineers, Haig Poulson and Geoff Robertson had met with representatives of the Motorcyclist and Scooter riders association to discuss the road safety issues that had not been addressed by the City Council. Motorcyclists and Scooter riders had been left out of the Council Transport Strategy plan.,  The Council gave an undertaking that it would develop a traffic strategy plan similar to the Council’s Bike plane to look at issues of concern related to motorcycle scooter riders. In addition Haig Poulson undertook to before implementing any traffic engineering modification.  In less than two weeks the Council reneged on its undertaking and pushed ahead with the Princes Bridge proposal, a proposal that will impact on road users, motorcycle and scooter riders in particular.  Motorcycles safety is also at risk and they want equal access to many of the City’s bike lanes that are underutilized and in many cases empty.

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.

City of Melbourne denies any responsibility for permits to construct a hoarding

In a surprised turn around the City of Melbourne has come out and denied that it has any responsibility to issue permits for hoardings on private property.

Previously the City of Melbourne had stated:

We can confirm that the City of Melbourne has not issued a permit for the structure attached to the wall.
 
There are four relevant legislative frameworks – Planning, Building, Occupational Health and Safety and Local Laws. There are intricacies in the way in which these interconnect and overlap.  These complexities are likely to be considered by the investigating authorities.

A CMP (Construction Management Plan) does not replace the need for Planning, Building or Local Laws approval for specific works. These must be sought separately.

Developers, builders and owners along with lawyers will have a field day with this one. Anarchy reigns in Melbourne’s Streets  I wonder what the Coroner and the Work Safety inquiries will make of this one.  

 The City of Melbourne has a permit application for hoardings which comes with a fee for service. They have published a full list of permits required and a hoarding, fence and advertising sign is on the list which is also included in the

City of Melbourne Local Law 2009.

Part 7 BUILDING STANDARDS Compliance with Code
Part 13 PERMITS When is a permit required under this Local Law?

What the response from the City of Melbourne (published below) failed to mention or make clear was that under the local law a hoarding (Both on public land and on private land) must comply with the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan and the relevant design standards related to height and wind loading  The code of practice, (1.4) which is referenced in the City of Melbourne Local Law, stipulates a maximum height of 2.4m and ability to withstand wind loads to AS1170.2 standards

Under the the Code of Practice

Item 2. Definitions“Hoarding” means “a high temporary fence or structure enclosing a demolition site or a building site during building works, to restrict access and provide side protection to the public”
Item 4. Hoardings

4.1 … Hoarding screens must be constructed of closely boarded timber or plywood between 1.8m to 2.4m in height to secure a building site and form a barrier against noise, dust and debris.

… Hoardings are to be designed to withstand wind loads to AS 1170.2 with counterweights as necessary to prevent overturning. In addition hoardings adjoining excavations are to be designed to withstand a lateral line load of 0.75 kN/m applied at a height of 1 metre from the base and suitably guarded by barriers to prevent vehicular impact.

 
With all the word games and “intricate interconnect overlap and complexities” that surround this issue there is a clear need for the City of Melbourne to undertake an independent review of the legislative provisions governing public safety on building sites and the City Council.

This should be done as a matter of urgency and without delay or waiting pending the outcome of the Coroner’s report or other investigations that are currently underway in relation to the March 28 Swanston Street Wall Collapse. It will have to be done eventually,. The sooner they start the better

Council response dated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 12:08 

I refer to the Future Melbourne Committee Meeting of 15 April 2013 – Question without Notice in relation to 555-591 Swanston Street and 2-76 Bouverie Street, Carlton and provide the following response.


Question:

“Did the City of Melbourne issue a permit for the construction of the new hoarding on the CUB Swanston Square project site?  The height being significantly taller than the 2.4m maximum permitted height pursuant to the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines.

Has the City of Melbourne inspected the site since the new hoarding was constructed?  If not, why not?”

Response:

No permit has been issued for the construction of a hoarding.
The temporary fence/hoarding is located on private property.  In this instance a permit is not required under the Activities Local Law 2009.

The structure is also exempt from a building permit under the Building Regulations 2006
(Sch. 8).

The structure satisfies Element 1, Item 1.5 of the City of Melbourne Construction Management Plan Guidelines as:
1.   
It is a solid barrier
2.   
The barrier prevents viewing; and
3.   
The barrier should restrict unauthorised entry


It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure the structure is designed, installed and maintained in accordance with engineering principles and must satisfy any relevant standards.

City of Melbourne officers attended the site shortly after the barrier was erected.
Angela Meinke | Manager Planning and Building | City Planning and Infrastructure

City of Melbourne | Council House 2, 240 Little Collins Street Melbourne 3000 | GPO Box 1603 Melbourne 3001
T: 03 9658 8400 | M: 0429 502 043 | F: 03 9658 9891
|www.melbourne.vic.gov.au | |www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/whatson

March for Public Safety: Melbourne Community in Solidarity with Workers

Some 8,000 to 10,000 Trade Unionists and members of the public marched in solidarity for public and workplace safety.

The Union rally follows on from four deaths associated with GroCon buildings sites in Melbourne. One Worker who fell from a construction site crane and three innocent pedestrians who were killed when a hoarding and brick wall collapsed on March 28.

Whilst the main focus was on GroCon and the State Government Work Safety questions are being asked as to the City of Melbourne’s responsibility and why it failed to issued a permit or inspect the Swanston Street building site?

The City of Melbourne needs to undertake an internal review of its role in the tragic events and its statutory obligations.

  • Is GroCon being given favourable consideration and are they exempt from local laws and prosecution?
  • Has the City of Melbourne been negligent or are they turning a blind eye in a gentleman’s agreement? 

The media are also asking questions but the Council has gone underground refusing to answer, hoping to weather the storm and escape attention from three government inquiries.  Worksafe, the Buildling Industry and  a Coronal inquiry.

There is a need for a fourth Statutory compliance and review which must look closely at the role of the City of Melbourne in overseeing Construction site public safety.

The City of Melbourne has a whole department of Engineers and exactly what do they do other then Engineer congestion, attend seminars and drink coffee? If they are not providing oversight, inspection and enforcing the rules why are they employed? Why are rate payers paying their wages?

The Union movement plans further rallies should the government inquires seek to scape goat or fail to hold to account those responsible.  This includes the City of Melbourne and the State Government

Urban Designers and Engineers: Losing the plot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Engineering Melbourne: Incompetence or careless oversight?

The City of Melbourne Traffic Engineers NEVER cease to amaze.

A brand new Domain Interchange in St Kilda Road.

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

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

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

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

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