Engineering Congestion: Public Confidence in the slow lane

Public Confidence in the City of Melbourne Traffic Engineering is at an all time low.

Councillor Oake who chairs the Transport portfolio has placed the needs and interests of cyclist ahead of the needs of the City as a whole.

Melbourne City Council’s latest proposal in its war against cars is to reduce the inner city speed limit to 30Km per hour but refuses to apply a 10KM speed limit on cyclists.

A proposal put forward by the City Council bicycle forum chaired by Greens; Councillor Cathy Oake has proposed  further measure to cause congestion within the City of Melbourne.Councillor.

Whilst the City Council claim they have consulted widely the fact is most of the consultation was meeting with select interest groups with the Council officers meetings with Cyclists and the Cyclist lobby groups in coffee shop style meetings.

Council refused to publish Public Submissions unless $25 FOI application fee paid

The City Council has refused to make public copies of submissions relied on in the formation of the City Council’s transport strategy plan. Only executive summary is available. Requests to make copies of all submissions freely available were rejected by the Lord Mayor with Council staff stating that in order to obtain copies of submissions members of the public would have to make an FOI application. 

Public review of Bicycle Lanes rejected

In August this year the City Council rjected a proposal put forward by Crs Foster and Watts to undertake a review of the City Councils’ bicycle network including the La Trobe Street Copenhargen style Bicycle lane  the City Council claiming that the La Trobe Street lane was a success and that they needed to push ahead and continue implementing the City’s transport strategy. The City Council voted agsainst the motion for a review, gagging public debate.

Motorcyclist complain on Safety issues.

In June this year the City Council was forced to defer the adoption of the City Council’s Pedestrian, Cyclist and Motorcyclist Road Safety Plan when Motorcyclist complained that that they were not consulated

The City Council engineers met with representqaives of the Motorcyclist community who are vulnerable road users and in doing so gavce a number of undertaking to consider fuirther the needs of motorcyclist in the City Council’s transport plan. The Council undrtook to develope a Motorcycle Strategy plan  and include motorcyclists needs in the formation and review of future planning reviews.

The Council has yet to deliver on its promises. 

Last month’s Council meeting failed to list Motorcyclist in the Council’s review of the Princes Bridge Lane trial review.

Motorcyclist want the City Council to provide  and facilitate lane filtration, where motor cyclists can move to the front of the queue at intersections as is current afforded to cyclist.  They also want consideration to be given to the sharing of bicycle lanes where possible. Every time the City Council installs a bicycle lane motorcycle safety is ignored and placed at risk

Selective Consultation

The City Council failed to consult with Emergency service providers such as Ambulance Victoria., or the Metropolitan Firebridge in its Transport Safety plan.

Disabled groups were also not consulted along with a host of other road users and stakeholders.  The City Engineers have ignored concerns expressed by the RACV and other community groups

Melbourne City Council’s Show Trial increments up a notch

The Melbourne City Council voted to make the Princes Bridge Bike lane a permanent feature following a report of false and misleading statements by City Engineer Geoff Robertson.

Mr Robinson in his report claimed that waiting times for traffic to cross Princes Bridge had increased by only 45 second and that there were no reports of Cyclist accidents due to car dooring.A fact that is not surprising given that cars do not park on Princes Bridge and are not expected to open their doors into mid coming bicycle traffic.

The City Council undertook a select serious of   time testing on Tuesday through to Thursday to determine the impact of the Bike Lane on City Traffic during the morning and afternoon peak periods.  They left off Monday, Friday’s and weekend statistics as they would have distorted statistics included in the Council report. Friday being the heaviest traffic day of the week.

Missing from the report was information on traffic volumes before and after the lane closure. 

There number of cars exciting into Flinders Street per traffic light cycle had decreased from 22 down to 17 engineering congestion of 20%.  Whilst the movement of traffic across the bridge may be 45 second to one minute longer this does not include the time spent stuck in quest that are extending back to Dorcus Street during the peak traffic period.

The report also failed to make mention of the other peak traffic periods along St Kilda Road most notably the lunch time period from 12Noon to 2PM and the late night evening peaks on Friday and Saturday Nights. Where traffic crossing Princes Bridge comes to a crawl taking in excess of 10 minutes travel time. What the City Engineers failed to list is that there are no bikes using the Princes Bridge Bike lane at this time.  Congestion without bikes.

Safety issues left out

Geoff Robinson’s report failed to list or mention safety concerns about the design of the bike lane at the South-Eastern corner of Flinders Street Station  where traffic de-merges from the single lane into two lanes.  With cyclists failing to dismount  whilst using the adjacent pedestrian crossing and the limited space for cyclists to travel.

This site is an accident waiting to happen.

Council’s war on horses

Geoff Robinson in his presentation attacked Melbourne’s  award winning Horse and Carriage operators complaining that the horse and carriages were using the bike lane instead of traveling in the single lane set aside for vehicular traffic. Geoff Robinson wants Victoria Police to monitor and fine the horse and carriages for travelling in the bike lane

If the horse and carriages traveled in the main traffic lanes we can expect more congestion and further waiting time delays.  The Horse and Carriages operate from 2PM until midnight most days and in the evening the bike lanes are empty.

On occasions when the horse and carriages stuck to the main traffic lanes frustrated drivers drove into the bike lane to pass the carriages on their left. A situation which would be much more dangerous then allowing the horse and carriages to use the less congested bike lanes.

Motorcyclists and Scooter riders

Earlier in response to Motorcyclist and Scooter riders safety concerns, the City Council gave an undertaking to list and include the impact of motorcyclist  in Councils reports.  Geoff Robinson has reneged on this undertaking and there was not mention or impact of motorcyclists in the published report. Motorcyclists, who are vulnerable road users, also want to be able to use the bike lane to safety pass traffic and consistently have complained that the City of Melbourne has ignored their concerns.

Haig Pulson, Senior City Engineer, previously indicated that the width of the Princes Bride traffic lane would be increased to 4.1 metres allowing room motorcyclists to filter though traffic.  Contrary to the undertaking given the width of the traffic lane has been pegged back to just 3.45 metres which does not allow sufficient room for motorcyclists to safely pass.

 Push for the Southern side to be reduced to a single lane

The City Council is now embarked on a campaign to further engineer congestion  and close down a lane of traffic on the Southern bound side of the bridge so as to be able to remove speeding cyclist from sharing the foot path.  

A lane closure on the Southern bound side of Princes Bridge would be much harder to implement and is opposed by the State Government Vic Roads.  Most of the traffic in Flinders Street turns left into Swanston Street to travel South., To reduce the number of lanes from two to one would  have a rippling effect causing major congestion and gridlock though-out the city.  Before Council can contemplate traffic lane closures they would have to reduce the number of cars traveling along Flinders Street turning left into Swanston Street.  

Alternative Options

The best solution would be to close St Kilda Road/Princes Bridge/Swanston Street to non essential traffic allowing Taxis, Motorbikes, Buses and trams only but there is no viable alternative for cars wishing to travel from the Southern side of the City into and from the City Centre currently in place.

One option that has not been considered by the Council’s Traffic management has been the use of Bateman Avenue near the Tennis Centre  that links up to Exhibition Street. Bateman Avenue is underutilized and and only serves as a exit point for cars wishing to use the toll way to access the Monash Freeway.  It’s inbound South North traffic is minimal.

The Council, in consultation with Vic Roads and Trans Urban -City Link who manage the Bateman Ave toll way, should be looking at upgrading the Swan Street Bridge or building a new bridge that crosses the Yarra river allowing traffic to link up with Linithgow Avenue on the Southern side of the river.  Providing an alternative traffic connection would address all concerns and allow for the restricted closure of Swanston Street Princess Bridge connection.

Green’s Council Cathy Oake, who chairs the Council Transport Portfolio, indicated last night that the Council had not yet considered this option even though it has been talked about for decades.

Melbourne’s Bicycle Network Wreck: Solution proposals

Notes and suggestion on possible solutions to Melbourne’s Bicycle Network

Decision making process:

The oversight of the Bicycle plan is the responsibility of Greens Councillor Cathy Oake who is the City Council’s chair of the Transport portfolio. 

The final sign-off and decision to proceed with the St Kilda bicycle plan and the Latrobe Street development were not decided by Council but made under delegation of the Council officers who claim that authority and agreement was made during the Council budget papers and the adoption of the Council’s transport strategy plan.

Final approval of the closure of the Princes Bridge lane and so called trail was not made in an open Council session but by delegation.

The adoption of a budget or the Council strategy plan should not be considered as having provided Council’s consent.

As Councillor Stephen Mayne stated last Tuesday was the first time the newly elected Council had to debate the issue of Bicycle lanes as distinct from the general issue of strategy plans and the like.  And Tuesday’s meeting was discussing the idea of deferring implementation and and having the final decision brought before council for approval.  The  proposal for a review was rejected by the Council, even though it was evident that there was considerable public concern and opposition to the decision made under delegation.

Councillors discussed these issues in closed session but they were not debated in open session where the public are provide the opportunity to make a final submission and presentation in relation to any discussion to be made.

Why did the matter not come before Council for final approval?   Planning permits application readily are discussed in open public committee before they are approved why not the bicycle plan?

Future final approval of future major projects and works MUST be decided by Council in open public session and not under delegation.

Albert Street

The existing bicycle lane should be removed and a Clardeon street design solution implemented.

Consideration should be given to establishing a shared bicycles lane with buses, taxis and motorcycles.

Latrobe Street

This is a disaster zone and in need of urgent comprehensive review. A review that should have taken place before proceeding with the Princes Bridge and St Kilda Road bike lanes

Latrobe Street should never have been chosen to install a segregated bicycle lane.  2.6 Million dollars misspent.

Council should  consider and develop as alternative routes utilizing smaller streets such as Abbeckett and Franklin Street and eventually consideration will have to be made to remove the existing lane separation barriers.

On Street parking should be removed in the meantime to allow for improved traffic movements and protect commuters who are forced to park in the middle of the street with minimal protection of a safe environment

Princes Bridge

Princes Bridge should be closed to all unnecessary vehicular traffic  BUT this should only be done with the provision of a suitable alternative river crossing East of Princes Bridge.

This would allow for installation of a bicycle lane on both sides of the bridge and the development of a public transport interchange/pedestrian precinct.

St Kilda Road

The bike lane should be widened and a Claredon Street chevron design bike lane installed the full length of St Kilda Road.  This would require the consent of City of Port Phillip and Vicroads,.  A chevron delineated lane would provide a safe environment for motorist parking, disabled and emergency vehicle access and cost much less then the expense of constructing a Copenhagen close lane barrier.  More path for our buck

Swanston Street

A 10Km speed limit should be implemented along Swanston Street between Princes Bridge and Victoria Street

The Bicycle lane in Swanston Street North of Victoria Street should be replaced with by Claredon Street chevron line delineation lane as recommended for St Kilda Road and Albert Street

Democracy dead and buried Melbourne City Council censorship on public submissions seeking disclosure of Councilor’s expenses

Open and Transparent Governance in Melbourne is non-existent with the City Council going to extraordinary steps to avoid accountability and responsibility.

The City Council has now embarked on an act of censorship by refusing to publish reports and public submissions that are critical of the Council’s administration and governance.

The City of Melbourne administration with the consent of Cr Brian Shanahan, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee, failed to publish a submission presented to the Council concerning Council expenses and correspondence criticising the Council’s recently published transport policy.

The Melbourne City Council has abandoned its duty and responsibility to maintain an open and transparent system of governance.

First there was the decision of Council moved by Greens Councillor Fraser Bindley to deny public access to documents outlining the cost of inbound missions (hosting of overseas visitors) by referring a report to be considered by the Council behind closed doors at a secret meeting, now the City of Melbourne goes one step further by imposing censorship on public submissions.

This unjustified act of censorship is outrageous and corrupt.

Council clearly do not want to be held accountable and are now prepared to go to the extraordinary efforts of censorship to avoid disclosure of their expenses and criticism of the Council’s administration.

Council has a duty and obligation to consider these issues

The report and submission to Council made a number of recommendations including a request that information on the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines be included in the Councillor’s expense statements . Currently these costs are excluded from the Councillors expense statements which are false and misleading, the public have a right to know the full extent of costs and subsidies paid to Councillors.

The City Council and chairman have closed ranks and have demonstrated their continuing abuse of process and administration.

The submission was listed for discussion on the Council’s agenda but the Council failed to publish the content of the submission or consider in detail the recommendations. (copy available here). The report was a follow up and response to information disclosed following the publication of the council’s Travel Register outlining cost associated with Councils overseas and interstate Travel.

Normally all reports and submissions to be considered by the Council are published with the Council’s agenda and made available to the public but on this occasion the Council refused to publish the associated documents or make them available at the public meeting held yesterday.

“A lack of openness, transparency, information and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes”

No explanation provided.

A letter requesting an explanation and the reasons for Council’s failure to publish the documents listed on the agenda was forwarded to Cr Shanahan last Friday.

Council on Tuesday noted the report, which was not made available to the public, the council also failed to consider in detail the recommendations and issues raised. There are serious issues that continue to go unaddressed. Council administration, who were the subject of criticism in the report, falsely claimed that the report was defamatory.

Clearly the Council has something to hide and does not want the public to know

Democracy dead and buried Melbourne City Council censorship on public submissions seeking disclosure of Councilor’s expenses

Open and Transparent Governance in Melbourne is non-existent with the City Council going to extraordinary steps to avoid accountability and responsibility.

The City Council has now embarked on an act of censorship by refusing to publish reports and public submissions that are critical of the Council’s administration and governance.

The City of Melbourne administration with the consent of Cr Brian Shanahan, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee, failed to publish a submission presented to the Council concerning Council expenses and correspondence criticising the Council’s recently published transport policy.

The Melbourne City Council has abandoned its duty and responsibility to maintain an open and transparent system of governance.

First there was the decision of Council moved by Greens Councillor Fraser Bindley to deny public access to documents outlining the cost of inbound missions (hosting of overseas visitors) by referring a report to be considered by the Council behind closed doors at a secret meeting, now the City of Melbourne goes one step further by imposing censorship on public submissions.

This unjustified act of censorship is outrageous and corrupt.

Council clearly do not want to be held accountable and are now prepared to go to the extraordinary efforts of censorship to avoid disclosure of their expenses and criticism of the Council’s administration.

Council has a duty and obligation to consider these issues

The report and submission to Council made a number of recommendations including a request that information on the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines be included in the Councillor’s expense statements . Currently these costs are excluded from the Councillors expense statements which are false and misleading, the public have a right to know the full extent of costs and subsidies paid to Councillors.

The City Council and chairman have closed ranks and have demonstrated their continuing abuse of process and administration.

The submission was listed for discussion on the Council’s agenda but the Council failed to publish the content of the submission or consider in detail the recommendations. (copy available here). The report was a follow up and response to information disclosed following the publication of the council’s Travel Register outlining cost associated with Councils overseas and interstate Travel.

Normally all reports and submissions to be considered by the Council are published with the Council’s agenda and made available to the public but on this occasion the Council refused to publish the associated documents or make them available at the public meeting held yesterday.

“A lack of openness, transparency, information and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes”

No explanation provided.

A letter requesting an explanation and the reasons for Council’s failure to publish the documents listed on the agenda was forwarded to Cr Shanahan last Friday.

Council on Tuesday noted the report, which was not made available to the public, the council also failed to consider in detail the recommendations and issues raised. There are serious issues that continue to go unaddressed. Council administration, who were the subject of criticism in the report, falsely claimed that the report was defamatory.

Clearly the Council has something to hide and does not want the public to know

Democracy dead and buried Melbourne City Council censorship on public submissions seeking disclosure of Councilor’s expenses

Open and Transparent Governance in Melbourne is non-existent with the City Council going to extraordinary steps to avoid accountability and responsibility.

The City Council has now embarked on an act of censorship by refusing to publish reports and public submissions that are critical of the Council’s administration and governance.

The City of Melbourne administration with the consent of Cr Brian Shanahan, Chairman of the Council’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee, failed to publish a submission presented to the Council concerning Council expenses and correspondence criticising the Council’s recently published transport policy.

The Melbourne City Council has abandoned its duty and responsibility to maintain an open and transparent system of governance.

First there was the decision of Council moved by Greens Councillor Fraser Bindley to deny public access to documents outlining the cost of inbound missions (hosting of overseas visitors) by referring a report to be considered by the Council behind closed doors at a secret meeting, now the City of Melbourne goes one step further by imposing censorship on public submissions.

This unjustified act of censorship is outrageous and corrupt.

Council clearly do not want to be held accountable and are now prepared to go to the extraordinary efforts of censorship to avoid disclosure of their expenses and criticism of the Council’s administration.

Council has a duty and obligation to consider these issues

The report and submission to Council made a number of recommendations including a request that information on the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines be included in the Councillor’s expense statements . Currently these costs are excluded from the Councillors expense statements which are false and misleading, the public have a right to know the full extent of costs and subsidies paid to Councillors.

The City Council and chairman have closed ranks and have demonstrated their continuing abuse of process and administration.

The submission was listed for discussion on the Council’s agenda but the Council failed to publish the content of the submission or consider in detail the recommendations. (copy available here). The report was a follow up and response to information disclosed following the publication of the council’s Travel Register outlining cost associated with Councils overseas and interstate Travel.

Normally all reports and submissions to be considered by the Council are published with the Council’s agenda and made available to the public but on this occasion the Council refused to publish the associated documents or make them available at the public meeting held yesterday.

“A lack of openness, transparency, information and insufficient accountability creates the conditions in which corruption flourishes”

No explanation provided.

A letter requesting an explanation and the reasons for Council’s failure to publish the documents listed on the agenda was forwarded to Cr Shanahan last Friday.

Council on Tuesday noted the report, which was not made available to the public, the council also failed to consider in detail the recommendations and issues raised. There are serious issues that continue to go unaddressed. Council administration, who were the subject of criticism in the report, falsely claimed that the report was defamatory.

Clearly the Council has something to hide and does not want the public to know

Scrap the Limo Help Melbourne become a "Car Free" city. Campaign to scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousines

Help support our campaign to



The Lord Mayor and our City Councillors should practice what they preach and set an example.

The Melbourne City Council should scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine and any council funded staff remuneration package/car lease agreements along with its “free-inner city Council car-park”

Each Councillor and senior staff member could be offered a free public transport pass and/or use of a Council bicycle.

Herald-Sun Poll (Dec 19):
Should ratepayers have to pay for councillors’ cars?
Yes: 32 (4.0%)
No: 768 (96.0%)

Write to the City of Melbourne and express your views.

The Lord Mayor and Councillor’s
City of Melbourne
Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Scrap the Limo Help Melbourne become a “Car Free” city. Campaign to scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousines

Help support our campaign to



The Lord Mayor and our City Councillors should practice what they preach and set an example.

The Melbourne City Council should scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine and any council funded staff remuneration package/car lease agreements along with its “free-inner city Council car-park”

Each Councillor and senior staff member could be offered a free public transport pass and/or use of a Council bicycle.

Herald-Sun Poll (Dec 19):
Should ratepayers have to pay for councillors’ cars?
Yes: 32 (4.0%)
No: 768 (96.0%)

Write to the City of Melbourne and express your views.

The Lord Mayor and Councillor’s
City of Melbourne
Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Scrap the Limo Help Melbourne become a “Car Free” city. Campaign to scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousines

Help support our campaign to



The Lord Mayor and our City Councillors should practice what they preach and set an example.

The Melbourne City Council should scrap the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor’s Limousine and any council funded staff remuneration package/car lease agreements along with its “free-inner city Council car-park”

Each Councillor and senior staff member could be offered a free public transport pass and/or use of a Council bicycle.

Herald-Sun Poll (Dec 19):
Should ratepayers have to pay for councillors’ cars?
Yes: 32 (4.0%)
No: 768 (96.0%)

Write to the City of Melbourne and express your views.

The Lord Mayor and Councillor’s
City of Melbourne
Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000

Gridlocked ideology Herald Sun Editorial

Gridlocked ideology

02feb06

MELBOURNE’S road and rail transport remains in chaos while the State Government and the Melbourne City Council bow to pressure from special interest groups.

At the root of the trouble is increasing disapproval of the motor car as a politically incorrect form of locomotion.

The green band offer the following gratuitous advice: catch public transport, ride a bike, or walk to work.

But people are entitled to choose whichever suits them without being heavied by governments – state or municipal.

In pursuit of its agenda the Government has hit long-term inner-city parkers with a tax of about $40 a month on top of the normal fees. This will double to about $80 a month next year.

The latest in the war on motorists is that Melbourne City Council is reportedly urging abandonment of road infrastructure in favour of keeping the city car-free to make way for bicycles and public transport.

But more than 90 per cent of respondents to a Herald Sun Voteline said Melbourne’s transport system needs improvement.

While the Government spends a fortune on not very fast trains to the bush, Melbourne’s decrepit public transport is not a viable alternative to the car.

This city needs a transport vision based on reality, not on ideology.