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

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

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.

Stephen Mayne endorses new Commercial 1 planning zone Gaming Venues as of right use

Melbourne City Councillor and Deputy Chairman of the Planning portfolio has endorsed the proposed new planning regime and the “as of right use” “No permit required” Gaming venues and Taverns under the new Commercial 1 zones that will replace Business 1 zones

Under a current Business 1 zone Gaming venues and Taverns require a planing permit.  Under the new revised Commercial 1 zones Gaming venues and Taverns no longer require a planning permit

Stephen Mayne, who is known to campaign on concerns about the impact of gaming venues, has stood by complacently on his watch as Deputy Chairman of Planning and allowed the establishment of the new planning zones, which come into effect on July 1, 2013 to pass by without comment. 

The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle; Steven Mayne, Greens Councillors Rohan Leppert and Cathy Oak and ALP member and Chairman of the Community Welfare portfolio, Richard Foster, stood silent and remained complacent and negligent by not calling for written a detailed report on the new planning changes in particular the new  Commercial 1 zones and their effect in Melbourne.

The changes to the planning scheme means that applications for use of premises as a gaming venue or tavern within a commercial 1 zone will not require a planing permit. Neighbouring inner city residents will not have any appeal rights and Councils will not be able to object or refuse the proposed use, instead the Council would have to rely on heritage overlays and built form permits to protect residential amenity.

34.01 COMMERCIAL 1 ZONE

Shown on the planning scheme map as B1Z, B2Z, B5Z or C1Z.
Purpose
To implement the State Planning Policy Framework and the Local Planning Policy
Framework, including the Municipal Strategic Statement and local planning policies.
To create vibrant mixed use commercial centres for retail, office, business, entertainment and community uses.
To provide for residential uses at densities complementary
to the role and scale of the commercial centre.
34.01-1 Table of uses
Section 1 – Permit not required

  • Retail premises (other than Shop)
  • Shop (other than Adult sex bookshop)

The defination of retail premises includes:

  • Food and drink premises
  • Gambling premises
  • Landscape gardening supplies
  • Manufacturing sales
  • Market
  • Motor vehicle, boat, or caravan sales
  • Postal agency
  • Primary produce
  • sales
  • Shop
  • Trade supplies

The defination of Food and drink premises includes:

Convenience restaurant

Hotel
Restaurant
Take away food premises
Tavern

Previously Business 1 zone (To be phased out on July 1) listed under

34.01  BUSINESS 1 ZONE

34.01-1 Section 1 – Permit not required

Food and drink premises (other than Hotel, Restaurant and Tavern)

34.01-2 Section 2 – Permit required

Retail premises (other than Betting agency, Food and drink premises, Postal agency, Shop, and Trade supplies)

Tavern

Fostering a Bridge to Reason

A MELBOURNE councillor has voiced concerns about a controversial plan to make Princes Bridge more bike-friendly by removing two car lanes, saying other options should be explored first.

Cr Richard Foster said a better delineation of the bike lanes over the busy bridge should be among them. “We haven’t yet made efforts to colour, pave or widen them . . . We have a line painted on a ground with a symbol of a bike, and I think we can do a lot better than that,” Cr Foster said.

“These are the sorts of things that could well relieve congestion without first interfering with traffic lanes.”

The Herald Sun revealed the Melbourne City Council proposal, which would cost about $150,000, last month.

Cr Foster said there were also “significant pedestrian access issues” with the nearby tram stop

Foster’s ego left begging

The City of Melbourne rightly rejected the motion of resentment put forward by Cr Richard Foster at last Tuesday’s Council Meeting.

The issue under discussion was the need for community action to prevent criminal behavior associated with some persons who are “begging” on Melbourne Streets with concern that vulnerable citizens and visitors to the City were subjected to harassment, threats and intimidation.

Fosters motion, like this  proposed citywide smoking ban, was ill-considered.  Clearly he had not thought this through. Foster realizing that his motion was facing serious opposition tried to modify the motion but in doing so only highlighted his own failings.

The doomed motion was seconded by Cr Watts and received half-hearted support from Cr. Mayne

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, correctly highlighted the problems with the motion and called it for what it was. A cheap shot from a councilor who nose was out of joint and who was not consulted.   Councillor Foster was interstate at the time this issue was raised by the Lord Mayor.,  Council does not stop when a Councillor is not in attendance. Even primadonnas such as Councillor Foster

Cr Foster may also be in breach of the Council’s Code of Conduct Item 3.2 which is a serious offense. As a Lawyer Cr Foster, although not a signature to the code, should have been aware of this.

In a surprising but correct move Cr’s Leppert and Oake opposed the motion.

For:  Councillors Foster, Watts and Mayne
Against: Lord Mayor Robert Doyle,  Deputy Lord Mayor, Susan Riley, Beverly Pinder-Mortimor, Arron Wood, Kevin Louey, Rohan Leppert, Cathy Oake
Absent: Ken Ong

Interested people can listen to the bebate on the motion here.  (Debate starts at 52 mins on)

Fostering good behaviour and communication with Melbourne’s welfare sector

Melbourne City Councillor. Richard Foster, is seeking to gag and prevent the City of Melbourne facilitating meetings or conducting discussions with Victoria Police and Welfare Organisations and other stakeholders from canvassing issues about begging on Melbourne’s Streets unless they have consulted and received his blessing.

The motion put forward by Forster is in response to the leadership role taken by the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle earlier this month to address ongoing concern about aggressive begging on Melbourne’s Streets.

UPDATE:  Richard Foster’s “Gag” Motion voted down with the Greens supporting Team Doyle in rejecting Fosters  ill-considered proposal whilst Stephen Mayne voted to in support @20:30

As anyone who has spent time on Melbourne’s Streets can attest there are a group of individuals who aggressively harass and intimidate people into handing over money cigarets. Their tactics go beyond just asking for money to assist in their living costs. The targets of these aggressive “beggars” are the vulnerable, our elderly and foreign visitors.  They approach their victims and demand cash or commodities such as cigarets. If the person refuses they then stoop to acts of intimidation, threats and assaults which boarder on criminality.   In some cases they are supported by others who corner and gang up on their victims .  You only need to look at the CTV footage to catch these petty criminals in action. If this is not addressed soon someone will be seriously hurt as things get out of hand.

Talk to the Street Traders and they will tell you what really goes on in the Streets of Melbourne. They see it every day 

The Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle, is rightly concerned about this behaviour has sought the support of the Victoria Police and Welfare oganisations such as the Salvation Army in trying to address this issue.

In order to do so the Lord Mayor has set up a task force to try and find ways to best address this problem and at the same time making sure that those in real need obtain assistance and help where required. Robert Doyle has the support of the Salvation Army who know all too well what goes on the Streets of Melbourne

Richard Foster, Chairman of the Council’s “People City” Committee, is peeved by the fact that he was not consulted about the Doyle Action proposal, has sought to curtail the initiative put forward by the Lord Mayor,which is in it’s embryo state, until he has given it his personal stamp of approval

Motion
1. The Council resolves to:
1.1. Request the CEO to instruct Council Officers to cease facilitating meetings or conducting discussions with stakeholders involved in canvassing issues surrounding begging;
1.2. Request that the Chair of the People City Portfolio assume responsibility for any ongoing discussions with stakeholders for the specific purpose of collating views, ideas and suggestions on this issue (which may still involve Council Officers);
1.3. Request the Chair of the People City Portfolio to report the outcomes of these discussions to the Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) at the earliest opportunity in order that any further action may be determined by the (FMC).

If the motion is passed the City of Melbourne would cease all work and liaison with the Police and welfare organizations until Richard Foster has had the opportunity to consider the proposals and give his consent.

 Richard Foster needs to put his ego aside and act more responsibly.   

The Foster motion, which was originally listed as an urgent business motion but later placed on the Council’s General Business agenda, has not been thought through and begs belief

Members of the Public should be able to make submissions and a detailed proper and workable proposal developed. This issue can not be left unattended waiting for Forster to get his act together

It is not an urgent motion and if Council is sincere about its desire to maintain open and transparent governance, it should refer this motion for proper consideration to the Future Melbourne Committee.

The Council and the Lord Mayor should continue to liaise and seek the support of Victoria Police and Welfare organizations in addressing what is a serious problem facing Melbourne   

Conceit, delusional or just limiting collateral damage

Politics is politics, but does anyone really think that the State Government’s recent announcement on selective statewide smoking bans around schools, kindergartens and playgrounds is in response
to Richard Fosters unworkable proposed CityWide blanket ban on smoking?

Richard Foster thinks so. (Twitter)

I wonder if #faillieu gov wouldve moved on smoking laws if Melb wasnt looking at wide ranging,world-leading reform. Looking to us for policy
Richard Foster (@Richo_Foster) February 7, 2013

abc.net.au/news/2013-02-0… Smoking restrictions a good thing but playing catch-up politics doesn’t go far enough. #faillieu 1/2
Richard Foster (@Richo_Foster) February 7, 2013

But #faillieu won’t support a smoking ban in alfresco dining areas.Where’s the support for smokers in his policy on the run? Just fines? 2/2
Richard Foster (@Richo_Foster) February 7, 2013

One step at a time.

One proposal is constructive and feasible. A Citywide ban is not.

Richard Foster’s proposed Citywide smoking ban has failed to receive support from his fellow city Councillors and has not been listed for discussion on the City Council’s agenda.

The City Council has the right to impose a selective smoking ban on Council owned property. It could even consider imposing a smoke-free zone as part of the Council’s on-street trading permit conditions.

A better approach is to install advisory signs in nominated public areas. “Please consider others and refrain from smoking in this area.

A blanket ban beyond Council owned property should not be within the Council’s legislative jurisdiction.

HOWEVER it has highlighted concern for the need to provide State Government oversight and right of veto over Municipal laws.

City Smokers sigh a sign of relief

Melbourne’s Smokers cam rest assured that the City will not impose a blanket outside ban on smoking.  Cr Richard Foster’s propsed smoking ban had no support and the issue was not included for discussion on tonight’s Council agenda.

Discussion with various Councillors it was made clear that Foster did not have any support. The Council would not be imposing a local law that they can not police or implement.  Instead of the big bother heavy handed approach Council would embark on a more passive educational exercise to try and discourage smokers from lighting up. The Council may extend non-smoking areas to Council managed property, kindergartens, playgounds and the like but smoekers will not be targeted in a blanket city ban.

Richard Foster who is a member of the ALP was not endorsed by the Party and the proposed citywide smoking ban is not ALP policy. Foster has no mandate for his proposal. A proposal, if implemented, that  could cost the ALP two inner city Federal seats at the next Federal election. (Melbourne and Port Melbourne)

So outraged at the push and shove approach of the  City Council there were plans to mobilize city smokers in what would have been a firestorm of protest.  A campaign that would have called on the State Government to remove or subject to legislative oversight the establishment of local laws with the State Government and Governor in Council having the final say and right of veto of any proposed local law that is enacted that compromised state interests  Calls for tighter limitations on Council’s right to impose restrictive laws in isolation or with-out a referedum. A proposal that, if adopted, would hamstring all municipalities in passing local laws.

The Foster Smoking ban would have had a negative impact on public health campaigns and made their job that much harder.

Richard Foster having had his citywide ban extinguished is now expected to change tact in order to save face. He will seek to have selective bans imposed instead, but never the less his grandstanding proposal will leave a stain on his reputation.

Richard Foster’s Puff of Smoke causes more harm then good

Newby Melbourne City Councillor Richard Foster has come out and advocated a City wide Smoking ban through-out the City of Melbourne.

Whilst Foster gained some limited encouragement from the supporters of the Nanny State his proposed City wide ban is grandstanding at best, at worst it could possible set back the anti-smoking lobby’s cause years if not longer.

For the record, I am an non-smoker and hate smoking with a passion BUT I will not support a overbearing dictatorial ill-considered policy such as a blanket smoking ban across the city.   Local Council’s should have limited authority in imposing local laws without a referendum. Even then they should be subject to state government oversight. A smoking ban should be at a national or state level. Not a municipality going it alone.  We must oppose any form of gated community be it physical or ideologically.

Richard Forster is unlikley to gain support from his fellow Councillors let alone the State Parliament.  He has no mandate, there was no mention of a Citywide Smoking ban in his election policy documents

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, rightly, has indicated that a citywide ban is unworkable and can not be enforced.  We are not going to have Municipal Bylaws Officers patrolling the street sniffing out smokers and issuing fines to offending persons.  The Council can not police its littering laws let alone begin to enforce a citywide smoking ban in outside public spaces.

An elastic band can only stretch so far and smokers are at breaking point and growing weary of the Nanny State mentality of regulations control and fines.

Foster, who is a member of the Carlton ALP,  does not have the support of the broader Labor Movement.

The notion of imposing a Citywide smoking ban in public places would rebound against the ALP and play into the hands of the Greens and the LNP.  If Foster’s brave new world of City control ever gained traction or taken seriously it would place at risk the ALP holding on to the inner city seats of Melbourne and Melbourne Ports (Both of which fall within parts of the City of Melbourne Municipal boundaries).

Smokers are tied of being singled out and pushed around, they will rebel and vote against the ALP Nanny State policy if push comes to shove. Having nowhere else to go but to support the LNP.  Foster’s policy, if allowed to develop unchecked, could tip the ALP into third place in Melbourne giving an undeserved advantage to the Greens holding on to the seat with the ALP possibly losing the seat of Melbourne Ports to the LNP as a result.

Foster really had not thought it through, removed from reality. It may have delivered him some headlines in the daily media but it has not won him any constructive support.

Foster’s Policy undermines efforts by our health  professionals

The other issue of concern is the impact the policy of enforcement, undermining efforts by our health professionals to limiting the impact of smoking.  An enforced blanket ban does not help it only hinders. It is the old adage what’s better  “A carrot or the stick”.  Those people that continue to smoke need support not condemnation or vilification.  They should be consulted not dictated to. To ignore their concerns would be political suicide and in the end would work against the broader interests  Foster has already came under criticism for his failure to follow through with issues and his lack of consultation.  This is just another example.
.
There is no merit or justification for the City of Melbourne to go it alone. A selective ban on certain venues maybe but not a city wide ban as proposed by Cr Foster.  

Any proposed extension of smoking bans should be state or national wide and should bring on board the general community in support.  Imposed smoking bans should not be something that is imposed by City Councillors who find it to their personal disliking or those seeking cheap headlines.  There are many other ills in our society, the use of plastic bags and containers, excessive drinking both within the Council and on the streets, soft drinks and other sugar based products even coffee all of which cause harm.

Education not regulation is the solution.

The best thing Foster can now hope for  is that the Council rejects his proposed Nanny-State Smoking-Ban and the issue is soon forgotten and the wounds caused healed, but it may already be too late as the damage has been done.  Once a bell has rung it can can not un-rung.