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.

Melbourne’s Bike Plan Roll-out in need of review

300m is not going to address issues related with Car Dooring.  The so called “Copenhagen” style bike lanes are not the solution. They will only add to risk of commuter safety. A better and mare prudent cost saving option would have been to install wider open  Chevron line delineated bike paths. For the cost of 300m Melbourne could have upgraded and installed 4Km of bike path in St Kilda Road travelling down both sides.  The City of Melbourne’s rejection of a one month delay and a review of the Latrobe Street and Princes Bridge lanes closures is a step backwards.

Latrobe Street is a mistake and remains a risk to both driver and cyclist safety. Swanston Street and Albert Street lanes are also in need of review

An important aspect of any road design is the ability to read the road ahead and gauge the level of traffic management and design that applies.

The installation of wider Chevron line delineated lanes would have been consistent with the design of the Princes Bridge bike lane and  other more successful bike paths such as the one installed in Clardeon Street East Melbourne
 
Instead of Latrobe Street the City of Melbourne should have investigated installing bike lanes in alternative less used smaller side streets such as Abbeckett Street or Franklin Street

As to Princes Bridge I have no objection to the lane closure provided the City of Melbourne provides an alternative traffic river crossing to the East of Princess Bride. 

Swan Street Bridge is already congestion servicing West-East bound traffic.

A new bridge connecting Linlithgow to Batman Avenue Toll way would be in order to allow a further reduction in traffic flow on Swantson Street-St Kilda Road Between Flinders Street and Linlithgow Street.

There were a number of flaws in the Council’s consultation process not the least of its failure to properly consider alternative cheaper and more effective designs that address the safety concerns of cyclists and dooring.  Council consulted widely with Cyclist groups but ignored the broader communities concerns in pushing ahead with the design solution adopted including the safety concerns of disabled drivers and passengers.

The segregated lanes in Albert Street, Swanston Street North and recently installed in Latrobe Street are a disaster in design and implementation.  They would have been better had they adopted the alternative chevron design. The money save alone would have allowed the upgrading of a significant number of bike paths within the city not just 300m in St Kilda Road.

A pause for a review to allow assessment of the Princes Bridge and Latrobe Street developments would have been prudent,  responsible and would have allowed for a better roll-out of a safer greater bike plan that is embraced by the whole community as opposed to one that had divided and created hostility towards cyclists.

This is not a way forward but a regressive step to the side

Melbourne’s Bicycle Network Wreck: A tangled web of bad decisions, designs and implementation

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doom to repeat them
The City of Melbourne’s refusal to subject Melbourne Bicycle Lanes to review has only compounded problems and undermine public confidence.
The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and others who claim that the various segments of Melbourne’s bike strategy are separate and as such not related does not wash.
“Latrobe Street does not relate to Swanston Street which is separate from Princes Bridge and that St Kilda Road is also a separate issue to both”
Robert Doyle said that Latrobe Street could not be part of a review because it was in place.  Stephen Mayne said he would support a review if it included Latrobe Street.  
The logic that the proposed review did not include Latrobe Street or that Princes Bridge is not related to the St Kilda Road bike path astounds logic.  Of course they are related, they form part of a network of bike paths in the same way that various Streets , Lanes and Roads, trains trams etc form part of the City road/transport network. They are explicitly related and all directly impact and effect each other. They can not be separated and should have been included in a ongoing review of Council’s transport strategy plan.
There has failed to undertake progressive strategic pubic review of the roll out of its ill-considered Transport plan. The consultation process undertaken was flawed in its implementation. Like the magician or trickster that asks a serious of questions and then shows you the answer written down on a hidden piece of paper.
We already know that the process and management of the consultation was flawed.  Most stakeholders we contacted have said they did not think they were consulted, instead they were just informed and told what was going to happen and their main concerns were ignored. 
A major part of any effective consultation and design project is the review process. The ability to stop and review a project at various stages of the project, each aspect and segment.  The City of Melbourne has failed on all accounts and most can be attributed to the administration of the process , the role of the responsible chairperson and lack of review.
It all depends, of course, on what your goal is. If you have a set idea and you goal is to bring that idea into existence no matter what the cost then all kinds of mistakes will inevitably be made.
There are a number major problems and issues identified with  Melbourne’s Bicycle Network planning, each one in turn has an impacted on the other and every segment and aspect of the overall design ..
Disclaimer and warning
First it needs to be stated that a good designed bicycle network should make a positive contribution to the transport mix to any city. It must seek to address all stakeholders concerns and not favour any one interest group above the interests of another. So before anyone goes on and seeks to engaged in personal abuse and vilification lets be clear Bicycle Paths are good and should be encouraged.
Those that engage in such personal abuse and attacks are not helping to serve their cause. Writing abusive emails or making threats or acts of intimidation might make you feel good at a football match but that is all. Please note that all abusive comments are logged and recorded.
Having stated that there are a number of issues and principles that need to be established to assist in planning the network.
Major roads should be avoided 
Where possible a bike path should seek to use less congested roads and streets. Canning Street, Carlton, is a good example of a inner city bike path that works.   It is a local street that carries minimal traffic and is ideal for cycling. This is evident by the fact that it is Melbourne’s most popular bicycle commuter route.
Lane separation
The so called “Copenhagen Bicycle Lane” separation design should be avoided and only adopted as a last resort. To date they have not worked in Melbourne.  Melbourne unlike Copenhagen has wider streets and different overall traffic patterns.
 
Consideration should be given, in the first instance, to installing a chevron line marking bike lanes,  The bike lane on Claredon Street, East Melbourne, should have been considered as a preferred option before adopting a “Copenhagen Bicycle Lane” closed separation option. 
The Claredon Street Bicycle Lane design addresses cyclists main concern for safety related to lane separation and risk of “dooring”. (Accidents that occur of inattentive drivers and passengers of parked vehicles opening car doors in the path of an oncoming cyclist). The Claredon Street design includes chevron line markings and wider bicycle paths that allow a cyclist to travel away outside the danger zone.
Not only are chevron segmented lanes safer they are also cheaper and as such allow for construct “more bike path for our buck”. The Claredon Street design solution was recommend by Melbourne’s Senior Traffic Engineers but was excluded from consideration by management and Cathy Oake, Chairman of the Council’s Transport portfolio.
Financial resources are limited and any design should have be subject to a  cost benefit analysis.
The closed “Copenhagen style” bike lanes that have a physical separation barrier are ten times more expensive to construct the the Claredon Street option ., Closed lanes create congestion, restict use of the road space by other users, including emergency access, and generate additional safety issues concerns with other road users.
For the price of the 350m St Kilda Road physical lane separation proposal we could install 4Km of chevron bike lane and even more bike lanes could have been upgraded for $2.6 Million spent on Latrobe Street, making it much better and safer overall for cyclists and commuters alike.
The chevron lane separation design is overall a better choice. An option that the City of Melbourne failed to give due and proper consideration.
Public Safety
There are serious issues related to the safety of disabled commuters, taxi and bus passengers with the “Copenhagen closed lane” design.  Drivers and passenger alighting from vehicles parked next to a 21 metre physical concrete barrier have to remain balanced on the separation barrier and extra take care in crossing the neighbouring bike path  to get access to the adjacent footpath. A dangerous situation that discriminates against disabled computers the most.  Unloading from taxis and buses is almost impossible. Try unloading a bus load of 20 or more passengers onto a small narrow concrete strip away from the footpath as will be the case in St Kilda Road.
Whilst bicyclists may be safe from dooring, motorist now run the risk of opening doors in the path of passing traffic. Issues the council had failed to mention in its report.
The other solution is to withdraw On-Street parking adjacent to closed bike lanes but that would result in a loss of Council revenue.
Latrobe Street
Costing $2.6Million the Latrobe Street bike path that has just recently been installed has already proven to be a disaster. It’s design, location and implementation is wrong, safety issues not properly considered and a nightmare in terms of urban design, heritage, cleaning and storm water drainage.
The problems with Latrobe Street are considerable and should have been identified earlier in the design stage of the development and should have been subjected to a review process now it is in place.
The fact that these issues were overlooked raises serious questions in relation to the management and professional standing of the City of Melbourne engineering services. (Most likely a managerial problem)
The failure and refusal of the City Council to undertake a comprehensive review of previous bike lanes on Albert Street and the Northern section of Swanston Street should have alerted the City council of the problems that Latrobe Street is facing. Senior Engineers who did express these concerns were ignored or overridden by management
Apart from the design issue the other significant problem with Latrobe Street is the choice of transit route. Latrobe Street should never have been chosen.
The City Council should have developed Abbecket Street or Franklin Street as an alternative bike path option.
Latrobe Street is proving to a big embarrassment to the City Council and this is the main reason why the Lord Mayor and management were opposed the motion put forward by Councillors Richard Foster and Jackie Watts. It would have been prudent and responsible for the City Council to pause for one month and engaged the community by holding a mid project public review before proceeding to make the same mistakes in St Kilda Road.
The City Council knows it is facing a major problem and is desperate to try and keep the lid on it all in a futile effort to avoid it boiling over or erupting adding to the  inevitable in a total loss of confidence in the Council’s engineering services. After all they Council approved the project and spent $2.6 Million creating the problem on Latrobe Street. 
Avoiding an open public review or attacking those that advocate a review and rethink is not going to make the problem go away.
Like the Collins Class submarine patching up the project to try and make it work is a be a big ask also. Piecemeal band-aid solutions to a problem that should not have been created in the first place.
The City Council, as part of its consultation processtold stakeholders that there would be no loss of amenity or parking. 
Already Council has had to consider removing on-street parking. There are numerous issues related to the design of crossroad intersections and driveway access that place both cyclist and motorists safety at risk. In short the management and design of the project has little to desire, it’s far from the success the Councillors claimed it was. 
Princes Bridge
Princes Bridge is a work in progress. Already the promises made by the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle,  have proven to be false.  Travel time across the bridge is twice as long then prior to the south bound lane closure. the number of cars transiting from Swanston Street into Flinders Street is 2 to 25% less then before. 
Councillor Stephen Mayne reported that Council has estimated that there has been a 12% reduction in traffic throughput out of Swanston Street (this does not correspond with  independent surveys. Prior to the lane closure there were 20-22 cars per light cycle. Currently only 14-16 Cars are exiting into Flinders Street per light cycle) The reduction in throughput and performance could be address to some extent by tweaking the light signaling, something that the Lord Mayor said the Council would do but to date have not changed.  It has been suggested that the Council Engineers had planned to cause congestion and by doing so aimed to reduce the number of motorists using the bridge.
Robert Doyle said that Princess Bridge Lane closure was a trial but no one seriously considered this as anything other misdirection.
Alternative access
Most of the North bound traffic crossing Princes Bridge turns right into Flinders Street and then turns again either at Russell or Exhibition Street.
It would be desirable if Princess Bridge was closed to all non essential vehicular traffic.
The freeing of Princes Bridge from vehicular traffic would allow for better public transport interchange services but this can only be done if there was an alternative river crossing East of Princes Bridge.
The Swan Street Bridge is not suitable and is already suffering severe congestion by traffic transiting in a West East direction.
The  other option is for the construction of a second bridge bridge connecting  Linithgow and Batman Avenue providing a North-South traffic alternative.
Flinders Street
Next on the Council’s agenda is the South bound lane on Princes Bridge,  
In order to construct a south bound bike lane the City of Melbourne in association with Vicroads needs to reduce the volume of traffic and the number of lanes using Flinders Street and tuning left into Swanston Street. Most of the cars on Flinders street are exiting the Eastern end of the City and travelling South.   Flinders Street West of Swanston Street.is already restricted to one lane traffic . 
The construction of an alternative river crossing off Batman  Avenue joining Linlithgow Avenue on the South side would ease traffic demand on Flinders/Swantson Street South on to St Kilda Road.
The Council’s solution is to remove a lane of traffic which will generate congestion which in turn will reduce the number of cars through displacement.
Road Safety and Consultation
One major criticism of the Council’s consultation process was the failure of the City Council to publish all the submissions received. Instead the council  published an edited summary provided by the administration. The failure and refusal of the city council to publish the submission has added to the mistrust and  loss of confidence overall in the consultation process.
Most of the “consultation” that did  take place was in the form of information of what was already decided. There was little to no consideration of variable alternatives.  Many of the stakeholders contacted said they did not think the City Council listened or considered their opinions or concerns. They were just heard out or sent information so the Council could claim it had consulted widely.  
A major part of the consultation undertaken was with the members of the bicycle lobby meeting on coffee shops and various venues, this was disproportionate to other road users.
Earlier on in May that the Council’s “Pedestrian, Bicyclist and Motorcyclist safety plan had to be deferred as Motorcyclist and Scooter Riders were not consulted in the first draft presented to Council. Motorcyclists and scooter riders face the same problems as cyclists in terms of safety and they rightly felt their concerns were not being addressed and in many cases the priority given to cyclists was compounding problems related to their safety
 
Council Engineering Services Department also overlooked a number of other significant stakeholders in the consultation process.  Missing from the list of was Ambulance Victoria and the Metropolitan Fire-brigade who were not listed on the road safety plan .
There is ongoing concern that the various bike paths, tram stops and lane reduction has compromised Melbourne’s emergency response capability.
St Kilda Road “Copenhagen lanes” will also impact on  emergency services response times between the Alfred Hospital and the City.
There is a recognized urgent need for a series of “Emergency stress testing” to ascertain the preparedness of the City to cope with an emergency or possible terrorist attack. We can not afford to ignore or put off this issue much longer. The sooner it is addressed and a comprehensive stress plan is implemented the sooner we can identify problems and restore confidence in the cities preparedness to copy with an emergency.
Major Stake holders sidelined
Organization such as Vicroads, the RACV, Bus proprietors, Street Traders, Emergency Services, the State Disability Advocate and the Taxi industry have all had their concerns down graded or discarded.  Details and copies of their submissions have not been made been published on the Council’s web site.
War in Cars: Engineering Congestion
Instead of managing traffic the City Council is engaged in a war on cars by “Engineering Congestion” in the belief that Cars will bypass the city. This will ave a flow on effect and impact on small business retailers who fear losing customers to the suburban shopping centres. Retailers are already suffering from the city’s high cost of car parking.
  
City Council will do anything to avoid criticism or accountability
Last Tuesdays refusal to engage the community on public debate and undertake a review, before pushing ahead with designs that are proven to not work provides little hope or confidence that the Council is prepared to address important issues, other than placing  the perceived needs of cyclists ahead of all other road users and stakeholders.
No satisfactory explanation has been given for not alternative solutions that are better, cheaper and more effective. 
Welcome to Melbourne “Bike obsessed” City Council. A Council that will go to any length to limit to prevent any rethink or review of its Transport plan
Greens Councillor, Cathy Oake, is chairman of the council’s transport portfolio

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.

Swanston Street: Open it to traffic 7pm to 7am Left turn in Left turn out.

Melbourne’s failed Swanston Street should be open to circulating traffic 7 AM to 7 PM with consideration also be given to opening it up on the weekend.

Swanston Street has been a complete disaster.   100’s of Millons of dollars, super stops and bike paths and the Street still does not work. Killed off by Engineering Services and a City Council hell bent on catering for Bicycles.  Bicycles mainly use Swanston street in the peak monring and afternoon period.  After 7PM it is dead.  If it was not for Street Traders and buskers the Street would be worst than it is.

Opening up Swanston Street for circulating traffic from Flinders Lane, Little Collins Street and Little Lonsdale Street, Left Hand turn in Left hand turn out 7PM to 7AM would dd life and vitality back into the City precinct

Engineering Melbourne: Incompetence or careless oversight?

The City of Melbourne Traffic Engineers NEVER cease to amaze.

A brand new Domain Interchange in St Kilda Road.

New facilities and New Traffic Lights. Looks impressive and costs millions and the execution of the constriction works was impressive.  (Clearly the City of Melbourne were not coordinating the construction phase).

Cars exiting Park Street tuning right into St Kilda Road left in the dark as to the state of the traffic light once they cross the center road divide..

PROBLEM:  Whoever designed the traffic lights signaling just reinstated what was there.  They added a warning sign “Watch for Pedestrians”  HOWEVER traffic exiting Park Street and crossing St Kilda Road then turning right are left in the dark. Some “not so bright traffic engineer” or site design manager failed to install a right tuning arrow on the SE corner of this busy intersection.  A simple yet very useful design change. One extra light showing a turn right arrow is all that’s required to improve traffic flow and safety

What makes it worst is that the City of Melbourne had been informed and had received complaints about the traffic signals at this site and they have still failed to get it right.  I have complained about this site for years and I tthought (Wrongfully as it tuns out) that they will address this design flaw in the new Domain Interchange construction. . Haig Poulson, City Traffic Engineer Manager, was informed of this problem, but he obviously failed to note it or act on it. Too many coffees, too much money and no common sense.

This is an accident waiting to happen, It’s just a matter of traffic light timing, a moments hesitation, a car taking off traveling south. The absence of a right arrow signal that an City Engineer failed to install.

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.
– Econews.com.au

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

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.

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.