Stop the War on Cars

Call for review of Melbourne’ Bicycle Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yarra River Promenade an accident waiting to happen

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

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

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

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

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

Data does not back up Cr Oake claim justifing rejection of proposal to hold an open public review of the design of Melbourne’s Bike Lanes

Melbourne City Councillor Cathy Oake who claimed last Tuesday that the St Kilda Road section between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue was one of the worst Bicycle accidents spots has been proved to be false and misleading.

Geo-Spatail data of bicycle accidents show that the section of St Kilda Road in which the City of Melbourne proposes to construct a Latrobe Street style 350m bike lane costing $330,000 is not a a major source of accidents.  There is growing concern and opposition to the roll out and implementation of Melbourne’s Bicycle plan. There are a number of shortfalls in the consultation process with major stakeholders not consulted in the formation of the policy including Motorcyclists and Emergency services. Cathy Oake was chairman of the City Council’s Transport Portfolio.

On Tuesday the City of Melbourne rejected a proposal to defer the development of the St Kilda Road Bike Lane and to undertake a comprehensive review of the Latrobe Street and Princess Bridge Bike lane developments.

The City of Melbourne failed to give due and proper consideration to the cheaper alternative “Chevron line delineated” bike lane design that would have allowed for 3-4Km safer bike path to be installed along St Kilda Road. The proposed 350m bike lane will do nothing to improve public safety.

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

Lord Mayor and Councillors

City of Melbourne

Town Halls

Swanston Street

Melbourne

Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUS PARKING – DROP OFF ZONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Mayor and Councillors

City of Melbourne

Town Halls

Swanston Street

Melbourne

Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUS PARKING – DROP OFF ZONE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABC Error in Reporting on Council’s Press Release on Wall Collapse

The ABC, following a complaint in relation to an article on the Wall collapse in Swanston Street, reported that the City of Melbourne was not required to issue a permit for the hoarding.  The ABC reporter was wrong.

ABC’s response to the complaint

ABC News acknowledges the reporter misinterpreted the press release issued by the City of Melbourne and consequently inadvertently misrepresented the council’s position.

News advise that the release came after several days of phone calls by the reporter to the City of Melbourne asking about whether or not a council permit was required and, if so, whether one was issued. She was told by council officers that the situation regarding permits was confused as there were a number of different authorities involved. The confusion was compounded by the press release, which was not received until late in the day. On reading the release she came to the conclusion that it was indicating that the council did not need to issue a permit.

ABC News apologises for the error. The story has been corrected and an editor’s note attached.
The City of Melbourne Press release did not state that the Council “did not need to issue a permit” to the contrary it stated that 

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.

The City of Melbourne’s responsibility of the subject of a number of inquiries including the Coroner, Work Safety and the Building Commission.  The Council has refused to undertake an independent inquiry into its responsibility on the administration of public safety, it’s Local laws and liability

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

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The  march begins at Trades Hall in Victoria Street,  and will proceed to the Swanston Street site of last month’s tragedy for a minute’s silence as a sign of respect.outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”

CFMEU: Tuesday March for Safety

The CFMEU (Construction Forestry Mining Employees Union) and Victoria’s Trade Unions will be marching next Tuesday April 30 in support of Safety on Melbourne’s Building sites.  The march will start at 10AM outside the GroCon CUB building site on Swanston Street.

The City of Melbourne still has not provided information why it had not issued a permit or inspected  the building site hoarding which collapsed on March 28.killing three innocent pedestrians.

Councillor Stephen Mayne, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Governance portfolio, was unable to answer questions from the public last week if the City of Melbourne had issued a permit for the new hoarding or if it had inspected the site and if not why not?

The City of Melbourne continues to shift blame and avoid accountability for for its own failings. Public Safety is the prime directive and obligation of the City Council. Stephen Mayne describing public concerns about safety on the GroCon site as “Grandstanding”