- (Comments: 0) November 1, 2012
The current state government has finally, after five years (permission was refused by the previous government), granted permission to the City of Melbourne to introduce 40km/h speed limits in the CBD. If you ride in the CBD, you will notice the speed limit progressively being rolled out. For details of the roll-out see the City of Melbourne website.
This is a positive first step. The difference between 50km/h and 40km/h speeds, in terms of the likelihood of fatality or injury for bike riders and pedestrians hit by a car, is significant. Those that drive in the CBD, especially at night, will know that it was a myth that 50km/h was only an aspirational speed and was never actually reached. Even on weekdays, cars can reach 50km/h in parts of the CBD.
The evidence-based speed limit for areas where cars, bikes and pedestrians mix is 30km/h, as we have written about before. This speed will need to be achieved both through speed limits and traffic calming. This is the direction governments should be headed in:
And from the Monash University Accident Research Centre:
See also the UK campaign "Twenty's Plenty" (20mph = 30km/h).
- (Comments: 0) October 4, 2012
Update November 1st
Of our new eleven Councillors, ten responded to the BUGs questionnaire summarised below. Of those ten, five committed to maintaining or increasing this year's budget for bicycle infrastructure ($5M) and to the broad vision for the BUG's proposed works program during the term of the new Council. The remaining five councillors are the Doyle team. So watch this space and be ready to join in and help persuade the City of Melbourne to keep up the momentum for getting more people onto bikes!
Original post October 4th
Melbourne BUG brings you the candidates' views on cycling in the City of Melbourne. Thanks to all the candidates who put in time to answer our questions and best of luck – we look forward to working with all of you in the new Council.
We have summarised each ticket below, starting with the best. You can read the detailed responses as we received them via the link after each summary. The level of support for increasing cycling in the municipality is very high, with most candidates committing to expenditure and progress exceeding that achieved in the current term of Council.
The BUG's suggested projects for the next term are listed at the end of this article. These were used as a guide to candidates, without asking them to endorse the specific roads/routes/treatments as listed but to illustrate the scope of what needs to be achieved. Only major projects have been listed. Candidates were asked if they supported this level of progress.
Greens' councillor Cathy Oke has an excellent track record of supporting and seeing through bicycle initiatives in the City of Melbourne. The Greens are the only group with a comprehensive, well thought out policy and their answers to our questionnaire showed a high level of understanding and commitment to what it will take to get (many) more people using a bicycle for transport. The only answer letting The Greens down was their insistence on requiring helmet laws for Melbourne Bikeshare, which is a lost opportunity to get many more people cycling in the City. Read complete answers.
Questionnaire answers show high level of understanding and commitment on all points, including clear opposition to building the East West tollway, and support for getting Melbourne Bike Share working by removing the helmet requirement. Read complete answers.
Community and Business Leadership
Good support for all our questions. Read complete answers.
Our Melbourne agree in general that council should fund and build a bike network along lines suggested by Melbourne BUG. They express qualified support for other objectives, such as speed limits, using some on-street parking space for bike facilities and reservations about the East West Tollway. Read complete answers.
Lead Councillor Jackie Watts supports at least maintaining current funding for bicycle projects and supports the level of progress suggested by Melbourne BUG. She gives qualified support for reallocation of space from cars to bikes, speed limit reductions, and making a better environment in the Little Streets. The East West tollway should only be considered after building the Doncaster rail and Melbourne Metro tunnel. Councillor Watts in her short time on Council has been supportive of bike projects. Read complete answers.
Gary Singer – John So Melbourne Living
Good support for the bike budget and qualified support for general level of progress. Good understanding of the potential of Melbourne's little streets. Support for building the East West tollway as a tunnel. Support for 40km/h speed limits in the CBD but not aware that 30km/h is the evidence-based speed for safety of vulnerable road users where cars, pedestrians and bicycles mix. Qualified support for a helmet law exemption for Melbourne Bike Share. Councillor Ong has had some queries about cyclists during his term on council but has nevertheless been prepared to support the budget and projects throughout and showed an admirable willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue, with good outcomes. Read complete answers.
As Lord Mayor for the current council, Robert Doyle has been prepared to support the important projects and progress that have taken place over the last few years. In the context of a consensus council, in which no group had a majority, Doyle was prepared to listen and compromise, with good results, even where his own policy directions had to be put aside. Given this election policy and questionnaire responses, we hope for a similar scenario in the new council. This is the only response not to commit to maintaining this year's bike budget in the next term of council. Team Doyle cites the council's Bike Plan as policy, gives qualified support for transfer of road space to bicycles subject to the effect on "existing road users" and supports the East West tollway. Read complete answers.
Of the Lord Mayor candidates, Forward Together and Put Public First did not respond to Melbourne BUG. Of the councillor-only tickets, no response was received from Stephen Mayne and Residents First. You can read candidates' statements at the Victorian Electoral Commission website.
Melbourne BUG's indicative works program
We didn't ask candidates to commit to exactly these projects, just the overall level of progress they represent. Actual routes and treatments need a careful design and consultation process. The important thing is to create a connected network of safe routes that can get you anywhere in the City.
Physically separated lanes
- St Kilda Rd all the way to St Kilda Junction
- Flemington Road
- Royal Parade
- Clarendon St north of Whiteman St, and Spencer St
- Flinders Street
- Albert St completed from Punt Rd to Spring St
On road lanes:
- Upgrades to Footscray Rd and Dynon Rd bike lanes, including better conditions on bridges at Maribyrnong River and Moonee Ponds Creek.
- Spring St or Exhibition St from Flinders to LaTrobe
- Bike lanes from the corner of Spring St and Latrobe St through Carlton Gardens to Canning St, alternatively a safe link from Canning Street to Albert St.
- William St permanent bike lanes
- Grattan St
- Connections from Brunswick St, Napier St, Smith St and Wellington St (Fitzroy & Collingwood) through to Albert St.
- Bike lanes in Wellington Parade (East Melbourne – probable loss of a travel lane both ways or some parking)
- (Comments: 1) August 21, 2012
The next twelve months will see some major projects in the City of Melbourne. This article summarises these projects and their benefits. This year will see more improvements than the last several years added together. This is happening because City Councillors backed Melbourne BUG's call for a budget of $5 million for bike projects, and the City's engineers came up with an excellent capital works program to make the best use of the funds.
Most exciting of all is the prospect of increasing the number of people using bikes to get around the City as a result of these works. If you are reading this you probably already ride, but isn't it great to think that more people can share the benefits that you already know about? So, what are these projects that are going to get more bike trips and improve things for us all?
Princes Bridge and St Kilda Road
The flagship project is Princes Bridge and St Kilda Road. Bikes are already about 40% of vehicles on Princes Bridge during peak hour. The City plans to make one car lane in each direction into a physically separated bike lane on the bridge. Outbound, the separated lane will go as far as South Bank Boulevard. Inbound, alongside the Art Gallery and Arts Centre, no physical separation, so the design of this stretch still needs to be watched. (We wrote about this in our "media watch" section recently). This part of St Kilda Road has been identified as a "bike black spot" for several years, and at last big steps are planned to fix it. Another benefit is the restoration of wide footpaths on both sides of the bridge to pedestrians – we won't need the segregated footpath and it will be removed. South of South Bank Boulevard needs separated lanes as well, and we eagerly await completion of the St Kilda Road master plan, currently being worked on by the City.
La Trobe Street
The other big project is La Trobe Street – physically separated lanes along the entire street from Spencer Street to Spring Street. So many connections are made that we can start to see the beginnings of a connected network – where you can travel on good facilities all the way. At the western end, La Trobe Street crosses down to Docklands over the bridge. Other connections include the William St bike lanes, Swanston Street, Rathdowne Street and proposed part time (peak hour) clearway lanes in Exhibition Street (that's another project this year). There will eventually be a connection east to the Albert Street lanes, but this is pending a few other issues including sorting out the bus route, so we hope this connection can be made in the following year's projects. The BUG believes that no solution will be found to the lack of a route down Nicholson Street and instead a bike path should go through the Carlton Gardens from the corner of La Trobe, Spring and Victoria Streets, up the center to the big fountain, around the front of the Exhibition Buildings (this area is used by motor vehicles already) and then up to Canning Street. Council is still holding the line against bikes in the Gardens, but we don't see any better solution. We are also proposing to connect La Trobe Street to Albert Street via the top part of Spring Street and to complete the Albert Street lanes through to Spring Street.
Mentioned above are the part-time (peak hour) bike lanes for Exhibition Street. These are still being designed, so watch this space for details as the proposal is developed. It will be critical to stop cars from parking in the bike lanes if they are to work safely. Coming in from (e.g.) Rathdowne Street or from the Yarra River via the toll bridge, you will be able to use the peak hour bike lane to get into the City.
Another important project is in Elizabeth Street between the Haymarket roundabout and Victoria Street. This is the wide part of Elizabeth Street which can well afford space for good quality bike lanes. The outbound lanes (up the hill) will be physically separated, kerbside lanes (excellent) but the current proposal for inbound lanes is on the dangerous side of the parked cars. The issue seems to be that Council is not willing to use a red arrow to regulate left-turning cars at Queensberry Street and Victoria Street to allow bikes to go straight ahead with safety. You can see a partial example of this "red arrow on left" already in action if you travel south down Elizabeth Street and watch at the corner with Victoria Street. Council just needs to extend this idea to protect cyclists and pedestrians from turning traffic, leaving plenty of time for left turns to happen during the period when the reverse direction (right turn into Elizabeth Street) is controlled by green arrows.
Other projects include improvements in Clarendon Street East Melbourne (to the existing bike lanes); along the Yarra downstream of Web Bridge towards Fishermen's Bend; connecting the separated lanes in Cecil St South Melbourne across the tram lines to join the existing shared path that follows the Port Melbourne tram line and improvements to the connection between St Kilda Road and the Yarra (southbank) path behind the boat sheds area.
So these are very good projects and will be money well spent. Hopefully the resulting increase in cycling numbers will encourage the City and importantly the State Government to join up more gaps in the network. Roads like Flemington Road, Royal Parade, Grattan Street, Flinders Street, Spencer Street and the Clarendon Street bridge all need to be brought into the safe bike network. Have we missed any in that list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.