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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the night before Christmas City Council kicks-out Horse and Carriages from City Centre

The Melbourne City Council, just days before Christmas, under the clock of delegation has kicked-out the Horse and Carriages from Swanston Street opposite Town Hall

Signs that allowed Horse and Carriages to trade opposite the Town Hall were removed and  changed overnight.   Melbourne Street Traders who were effected by the decision had not been informed of the change.

No consultation, no documentation, a complete lack of open or transparent decision making.  The decision was made behind closed doors. and not listed for discussion on the Council’s Future Melbourne Committee.  The decision made at a time when the Council is not under scrutiny, Media are on holiday, Councillors are absent attending Christmas events and the public’s attention is on the festive season.

Outraged Street Traders stood for Council  in the October election and joined forces with Community candidates Kevin Chamberlin and Lord Mayor Candidate Brian Shanahan.  The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, and Councillors’ Mayne, Watts and Foster were elected on the back of preferences allocated by the Shanahan-Chamberlin Team.

Stakeholders and community representatives met with Councillor Richard Forster soon after the October Council elections to raise concerns.  Councillor Foster gave an undertaking to look into the matter but did not reply. Councillors appear to have been kept in the dark of the decisions with Councillor Ong, Chairman of the Council’s Planning Committee and Kevin Louey, unaware of the decisions made.

Efforts to contact  newly elected Councillors failed with Stephen Mayne and Richard Foster not returning Street Traders phone calls.

Melbourne’s Street Traders have expressed no confidence in the Council’s Engineering Department and  have called for Street Trading to be removed from Engineering and  placed under the auspice of Tourism and Small business were it belongs – a move supported by many of the City Councillors and State Tourism.

The Horse and Carriages provided a much needed attraction to the City with tourists, lovers and visitors keen to photograph the horses ad carriages opposite the Town Hall.  They add vitality and  interest to the city which is fast becoming more and more family unfriendly.