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.

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.

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.