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.

What’s next in Council’s Engineering Congestion Agenda

The Council’s refusal to conduct an open public review of the cities bike path strategy and the design and construction of the Latrobe Street bike lane will only exacerbate frustration and resentment to city cyclists.  Gagging public debate, implementing bad design and making the same mistakes is not a way forward or a solution to the city traffic issues.

The Foster motion was not about stopping development or improvement of bicycle paths in the city but an opportunity to learn from the mistakes. 

Council Engineering Services have failed to manage congestion or traffic flow in the city, instead it is generating congestion and with it is causing more problems then it resolves.

 If the City Council wants to close down Swanston Street and Princes Bridge fine but in order to do so it needs to provide a workable and realistic alternative not a road block.

Closing down Princess bridge would be fine if there was an alternative route to access the city from the South and across the river travel and onto batman avenue but there is not.  Traffic displacement from St Kilda Road can not be accommodated using the Swan Street bridge.  Swan Street bridge is already heavily congested and at full capacity serving a west-east connection.  Batman avenue tollway is not at capacity and can accommodate more traffic but access across the river is the main issue. A second bridge or expansion of the Swan Street Bridge connecting Linlithgow and Batman avenue catering for South North connection is required is traffic from St Kilda Road is to be further restricted and the Princes Bridge lane closure is to work.  

What next in the council’s war on Cars:

Geoff Robinson’s, Manager of City Engineering Services, next move will be to restrict traffic flow along Flinders Street coming from the East. It will do this be seeking to reduce the number of through lanes of traffic between Exhibition Street and Swanston Street to just one lane. This will further restrict the flow of North South Traffic across the city.  It needs to do this to allow it any hope or chance of installing a second South bound bike path on the Eastern side of Princes Bridge which is next on the Council’s war against cars and closing down city access.

Traffic flows like water, you restrict one section and it s displaced and causes problems elsewhere in the system.  Vehicles  travelling North East along Exhibition and Russel Streets have no where to go. Most currently turn right into Flinders Street and then left across Princes Bridge and along St Kilda Road. There is alternative direct route that connects South Yarra to Carlton other then Princess Bridge.  But that will not stop the City Engineers from engineering congestion in the hope that this traffic will find its own level and manage itself.  All it will do is create more congestion and frustration.

Refusing to review and debate the solutions imposed by the City that are causing congestion is not the answer either.  Instead it will only add to the cities wows as Engineering Serviecs opts for the most expensive and ill considered option.

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.

The way things are going, Doyle may as well ban cars altogether. – Bruce Guthrie Sunday Age

Illustration: Matt Davidson.Illustration: Matt Davidson. 
Source The  Sunday Age – June 2 2013

Honestly, why doesn’t Robert Doyle erect barricades, put up signs and establish checkpoints around the city to reinforce the obvious? If you’re not on two legs, two wheels or public transport, Melbourne doesn’t want you any more. Our city no longer likes motorists or their cars and it would be better for everyone if the lord mayor just came out and said it.

He came close last year, when he wrote in the foreword to the Transport Plan for Melbourne: ”We are a walking and cycling city, and council provides infrastructure to improve the safety and convenience of cyclists and pedestrians.”

I’ll try to remember that when next I’m forced to drive into town because the weather’s foul or the train or tram systems fail me. Which is pretty often.

The latest salvo against drivers came last week when the council announced it would reduce northbound traffic lanes from two to one on the western side of Princes Bridge to make way for ”a wide green bicycle lane”. 

It’s supposed to be a three-month trial, with roadworks beginning in June, but I’ll bet the lord mayoral Lycra that we will never get that second lane back. (Yes, he wears it on his bike rides; sorry for that image.)
The council says the switch should improve safety by ”moving cyclists from the footpath, which is often crowded, onto their own larger, dedicated lane on the road”.
In a tortured attempt at minimising anger and frustration among motorists forced to queue even longer on St Kilda Road approaches, Doyle said it would affect only 22 cars. Strictly speaking, that’s probably true at any given time. But it will be happening over and over again, a fact the lord mayor did not acknowledge.
Neither did the council press release, which said disingenuously: ”There will be no significant impact to travel times and, while queues will be longer, the same number of vehicles will be able to pass through the [Flinders Street] intersection.” Really? I suspect it will take less time to crawl across the bridge on hands and knees than it will be to drive.
I have no argument with separating cyclists and pedestrians, but I’m not sure it should be at the expense of motorists. Besides, a two-wheeled Fast & Furious plays out every night on the footpaths immediately below Princes Bridge’s south side, and nothing is done about that.
Anyone who has walked along Yarra Promenade by Crown Casino or Southbank Promenade’s restaurant strip during the evening peak knows they are at risk from commuting cyclists. The speed limit for bicycles there is supposed to be 10km/h, but few take notice of it. A drugged-up Lance Armstrong would have trouble keeping up with some of them.
Indeed, when I was editing the Herald Sun five years ago, we hired a speed-gun expert to monitor bicycle traffic on the promenades and found that many cyclists were travelling at twice the speed limit and, in some cases, more. A recent walk there indicated nothing’s changed.
The council has done little or nothing to deal with that – maybe it’s because while they are happy to put limits on drivers, they are disinclined to upset the cycling lobby.
The RACV was quick to condemn the council’s Princes Bridge plan, calling it ”yet another solution on the cheap” that would do little to improve congestion or safety. Their roads and traffic manager, Dave Jones, said it proved the council had learnt nothing from the problems it created through ill-considered changes to La Trobe Street traffic flows. He might have also cited changes to Albert Street on the eastern fringe of the city, where similar ”Copenhagen-style” bicycle lanes – wedged between parked cars and the footpath – continue to delay and confound motorists and their passengers, who have to dodge cyclists when they alight from vehicles.
The pain for motorists does not end there: on-street parking fees are about to jump almost 40 per cent to $5.50 an hour, while rates in council car parks can be double that. (Our private car parks are already among the most expensive in the world.) All in the name of a glossy Transport Plan. Forgive my scepticism, but it sounds like nothing more than a grab for cash under the guise of greening the place. The council is not the first enterprise to do that.
This undeclared war on motorists can’t eliminate cars entirely, though. If that was truly the goal, the council would get rid of on-street parking and turn the space over to pedestrians and cyclists, without penalising moving traffic. But it needs the revenue from parking meters, not to mention fines: it expects to collect $40 million in infringements in the next financial year, aided by those insidious sensors the Doyle administration has been installing in spaces across the city. They mean you can be ticketed even though your meter might show minutes remaining.
It’s no wonder people are taking their business elsewhere. 
Bruce Guthrie is a former editor of The Age and The Sunday Age.

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.

Melbourne’s Pain is No Gain

The Napthine State Liberal Government has slugged Melbourne with a 33% increase in the “Congestion Tax” up from $900 to $1200 per car space.  The extra imposition of a parking tax will hit small businesses the most.  As the cost of travelling and shopping in the City centre increases more and more customers will opt to shop and do business at the suburban shopping centres were carparking is free.  This creates a never ending spiral. the greater the impost on business and retail , fewer customers increased costs, less trade, fewer businesses.

The City Council continues to engineer congestion. The reduction in traffic lanes in LaTobe street and the proposed reduction of lanes on Princes Bridge will add further to inner city congestion.

Last time the City Council had a windfall in the congestion tax the Council spent the money on the Orange Tourist buses and creating bike lanes.

It should have spent the money generated on establishing a mini bus route that links Melbourne’s inner suburbs. Why do we need to have large buses in the inner city area?

Better still rather than handing money over to the City Council to waste, The State Government  should provide free public transport within the City (Between Docklands/North Melbourne to East Melbourne, Domain Interchange/South Yarra to Parkville/Melbourne University and the Zoo)  Free inner city  public transport would go a long way towards invigorating Melbourne and providing residents and visitors alike a real benefit whilst easing traffic congestion..

Road Safety Plan: "SHARE THE ROAD" STOP Engineering Congestion

The Lord Mayor and Councillors
City of Melbourne
Dear Lord Mayor and Councillors
Further to the decision last night to defer the adoption of the proposed City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan.
I request that the City of Melbourne publish on line in full all submissions made by stakeholders, not just an edited summary.  Such a practice is standard in the consideration of State Parliamentary Committee submissions and allows all members of the public to view the issues raised whilst maintaining public confidence in the consultation process.
Council should provide a process and  further opportunity for public debate on the use and development of the City’s Road Network.
The City of Melbourne should also seek input and submissions from Melbourne’s Emergency Services (Ambulance and Fire brigade) as to the impact of road safety plans, proposals and traffic lane restrictions.
I note with great concern that the Victorian Ambulance and Metropolitan Fire-brigade were not included in the initial Road Safety consultation 
Motorcycle and Scooter riders are at an equal if not greater risk of safety to bicycle riders. The proposals put forward by the City of Melbourne in the draft report do not address Motorcycle and Scooter riders Road Safety issues.  The ill-considered establishment of “Bike” Lanes that exclude access to Motorised Two wheel vehicles (Motorcycles and Scooters) and the associated displacement and congestion that results compounds the Road Safety Risk.
Further consideration needs to be given as to the opportunities of sharing bike lanes through-out Melbourne.  Many lanes are underutilized and could be used to facilitate a safe travel environment for Motorcyclist and Scooter riders. The two modes of transport are not exclusive and can safely coexist under many circumstances and appropriate regulatory guidelines and protocols put in place. Not all bicycle paths are suited for sharing but many are. 
The City Council needs to discuss and identify those lanes were both modes of transport can be accommodated.
The City Council should consider as a matter of priority alternative routes for Cyclist pathways throughout the city with preference given to less congested roads and laneways. Consider for lane reductions should only be given as a last resort and only after extensive consultation with all stakeholders and public approval.
The provision of “Lane Filtering” options at inner city intersections that allow motorcycles and scooter riders to move to the front of the intersection to a safe zone and take advantage of a controlled early start as is currently afforded to bicyclists riders.
The Council’s Transport Strategy plan and road network design needs to be reviewed to take into consideration the needs of all road users.
In addition: I request that the council consider the following additional issues of concern to help improve motorcycle/Scooter Riders  (MSRs) Road Safety
  • Shared Bus Lanes (Higher priority)
  • Shared “Bike” paths (Based on a Bike Lane category system – High Priority)
  • Bicycle “Bike” paths to be encouraged to use smaller less congested streets not major road feeders.
  • Lane Filtering options at intersections (High Priority)
  • Turn left at any time with care rights to reduce congestion and increase traffic flow (High Priority)
  • Road Line Paint that is not slippery (Medium Priority)
  • More attention on pavement surface quality to avoid overlay ridges (High Priority)
  • Advocate for Rear Vision Cameras to be made mandatory on van/trucks and buses/trams where central rear vision mirrors are not available.
  • A public education program to encourage cars to check their stop lights and turning signals regularly
  • Look and signal before turning when in the city signs to be erected in hot spots thought the City
  • The undertaking of a series of independent “Stress testing” reviews of site access and transit times for emergency vehicles thought out the city at various peak congestion/travel times
I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further in more detail the above and other issues related to the City of Melbourne’s proposed Road Safety Plan
Should you require further information I can be contacted via email
Anthony van der Craats
Scooter rider/Resident
South Yarra
Cc Media.. Members of Victorian State Parliament, Victorian Minister and Shadow Minister of Roads

Road Safety: Consultation Vespas into Thin Air

The Victorian Scooters Riders Association (VSRA), An umbrella group representing four largest Victorian Scooter clubs, claim that their concerns on road safety have not been given due consideration. They have also expressed concern that other Motorcycle safety organizations have not been included in the City of Melbourne Road Safety Plan to be considered by the City Council on Tuesday, April 16. The report sets the basis of Council traffic management project funding for the next four years.

Australians are being encouraged to jump on a motorcycle or scooter
as a way of tackling congestion within the country’s major cities.

The City Council claim to have consulted with the Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) a claim denied by  MRA president,  The MRA is a social club only and do not provide advocacy support on Road Safety issues., They leave this up to the Victorian Motorcycle Council and the Independent Riders’ Association.  Neither are listed in the City Council’s report

Stephen Bardsley, spokesperson for the VSRA, in his newsletter to member associations has expressed his concern that a number of issues raised with the City Council has been ignored or played down in the report to Council.

The Melbourne City Council will vote on the Plan this coming Tuesday and as far as I can see the final Report is a disgrace, the opinions of Motorcycle and Scooter Riders have been ignored and the final Report is anti Motorcycle and Scooter Riders at the expense of being totally pro Pedestrian and Pedal Cyclists. 
What is of great concern to me is that the Report states that the VSRA were consulted and this could be seen as our endorsement of the PlanStephen Bardsley

The Victorian Motorcycle and Scooter Riding Groups are unanimous in opposing the plan

In October  2012 the VSRA commented

The report seems to be preparing all and sundry it should be expected that Motorcycle / Scooter Parking on the pavement will no longer be allowed, this really would be a backward step and a short sighted approach, in particular considering the Report acknowledges and includes statements such as:

 “There is a lack of attention to the needs of motorcyclists in the design of street environments”.
and“There is a general lack of appropriate parking for motorcycles in the CBD”

The report on road safety has not considered a number of issues concerning motorcycles and scooter riders.  They have included bus lane sharing only but as a low priority.  No consideration has been given to issues such as Lane Filtering, Shared use of underutilized bike lanes, improved traffic management to ease congestion. Turn left at anytime with care options or alternative routes for bicycle paths that do not impact on major transit routes. And slippery line road markings. It would appear that motorcycles concerns have been ignored or not taken seriously.  An excuse to be seen to be consulting.

Motorcycle/scooter riders were not consulted when the City Council undertook its consultation process on the City’s Bike paths.

VSRA Policy documents

Media Press Releases (Link)

Road Safety: Engineering Congestion

Melbourne City Council is considering its Road Safety report at next Tuesdays “Future Melbourne” Committee Meeting

The published report, which is used to justify Council expenditure on Melbourne Road Network, has come under strong criticism with community Groups accusing the Council Engineers Department of excluding commuters concerns.

The consultation process has been a sham.  Motorcycle groups in particular have been ignored.  The Council claims it has consulted community groups such as the MRA (Motorcycle Riders Association). We called the President of the MRA and they said  they had not been consulted. The MRA no longer provided advocacy support and had they been contacted they would have referred them to the Victorian Motorcycle Council. (VMC)   the President of the VMC said they had not been consulted either.

The City Council is planning to use this report to justify its budget and expenditure over the next five years.  Millions of dollars are being spent on locking down the City placing the interest of the Bicycle Lobby Group first.

Projects such as the reduction of traffic lanes on princess Bridge, LaTrobe Street, Albert Road Bike Lanes reducing traffic lanes to a single lane.

The effect of the City Council’s Traffic plan is to cause more congestion and cost burden on the City’s Business sector. City traders are complaining that the cost of service deliveries and taxis in the city area are going up  as courier and service delivery companies try to recoup their costs associated with ever increasing traffic congestion and increased time in delivery engineered by the City of Melbourne. The more congestion the more the Engineers claim they need to throw more money at to solve the problems they and our urban designers have created or made worst.

Of course money and cost is no barrier to our city engineering department.  Instead of utilizing existing staff they have proposed to create a new managerial position to look into road safety. 

They have no one looking after building site public safety issue or inspectors inspecting building hoardings in the City. Surely there this position can be filled without adding more staff?

Swanston Street has been spared detailed analysis in the Traffic Safety Plan as have Trams. Already the City Council has had to revise Swantson Street design plan in an effort in an effort to minimize accidents.

Other issues such as “Turn Left at any time with Care”, lane filtering for motorcycles, shared use of underutilized bike lanes, The type of road marking paint used to eliminate slipping etc are all missing from the report, not considered or given low priority.

The use of Z class trams with a angled step in the front of the Tram is knows to wedge passengers feet between the tram and the new super stops. There is no mention of excluding these trans from the City Center.

There are cheaper and better alternatives than that proposed by the City of Melbourne Engineers.

The Council’s priority is wrong and we are heading in the wrong direction. The statistics presented by the council are suspect. But what they have shown is that there has been an increase in risks to road safety since 2000.

The more the council locks down the city the more underutilized bike path and road closures the more accidents.

The Council should be exploring developing bike paths in less congested road space not on the major thoroughfare routes.  Morells Bridge and Sandridge Bridge not Princess Bridge. Franklin Street not LaTrobe Street, Cardigan Street as opposed to Lyon/Russel Streets. Spencer Street could accommodate more bicycle traffic leading towards South Melbourne, St Kilda.  There is also better options available in the Docklands precinct and future connections to Fishermans Bend.

The Council must review and reject the “Greens agenda” and listen to all stakeholders and local business concerns.

Public Meeting Melbourne City Council Committee Room, Administration entrance (Cr Little Collins St and Swanston Streets) Tuesday April 16, 5:30PM

Herald Sun: Bike lane blunder

CLOSING a traffic lane over Princes Bridge to make more room for cyclists is as silly as the antics of the “birdmen” who ride off the bridge each year at Moomba.

Car chaos will be the result of the plan by Melbourne City Council to make the city more bike-friendly. Forcing traffic into a funnel over the bridge is likely to cause gridlock at the intersection of St Kilda Rd and Flinders St under the station clocks.

This became congested when the city council decided to block Swanston St to traffic and would become impassable during peak periods.

Clashes between drivers and cyclists promise to become even more heated.

RACV manager of public policy, Brian Negus, describes it as a “cheap option” and an “unacceptable proposal” in what is an already busy area.

This proposal will make it worse. Cars and cyclists are not a happy mix and while cars can be a lethal weapon when drivers are impatient and frustrated in traffic, cyclists are often to blame by shouting abuse at drivers and banging on car doors.

All road users are entitled to travel in safety, but Melbourne City Council needs to rethink what is a dangerous waste of money.

Source Herald Sun Editorial

RACV slams plan to remove car lane on Princes Bridge

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.


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.

La Trobe Street $5.6m Bike Lanes to worsen city congestion

The City of Melbourne is about to spend a further $5.6 Milllion dollars constructing 15Km of bike paths along La Trobe Street ($2.4M) and other city streets, reducing the number of traffic lanes from two to one, causing ongoing traffic congestion and ciaos.

The La Trobe Street bike path will incorporate a road separation between the bike path and parked cars.

La Trobe Street profile: There will be only one lane of traffic, one lane for parking and one lane for bicycles and trams in each direction. Reducing traffic flow from two lanes to one.

A review of the City Councils design documents shows the extent of misleading and deceptive information provided to the public. The design document fails to provide full details or map of the design solution adopted. It is clearly deceptive and designed to mislead residents, business and stakeholders alike. Whilst the Council Engineering Services group claim they have engaged in broad community consultation the truth is the consultation process was seriously flawed with many decisions made behind closed doors.

Limited consultation was undertaken with major stakeholder groups. Motorcyclists and scooter riders in particular were not consulted and unrepresented. 

Consultation involved face-to-face engagement through café information sessions, meetings with key stakeholder groups and door-to-door visits to businesses and property owners along La Trobe Street, as well as an online survey.

The La Trobe Street redevelopment plans will add further to the existing traffic congestion caused by lane reductions. La Tobe street is a major cross-city transport connection route.  Many of the city’s bike lanes, like the ones in Queensberry Street and Albert Road, are under utilized. Not only do they add to traffic congestion they seriously compromise road safety for motorists and pedestrians alike.  There are better alternative options, Streets such as Franklin Street which are not major traffic arterial roads should have been considered prior to reducing traffic lanes in La Trobe Street    The Melbourne City bike lanes and traffic policy needs major review and some lanes should be opened up and shared by other road users or removed.