Jun 162012

19 June:  The ban sign has been removed. The council  (full response below) say it was a ‘legitimate response’ to one collision between a pedestrian and cyclist.  Are they now going to ban cars all roads where cars have crashed into pedestrians or cyclists?

Before (sign put up around 15 June)

After (sign taken down around 19 June)

Council’s response – 19 June 2012

Dear[Melbourne BUG representative],

Cr Oke has made inquiries about this matter and been advised that the signs were put up as a legitimate response to a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian. However, on reflection, officers concede that the community and other users weren’t consulted as thoroughly as they would normally be.  Consequently, the signs have been removed this morning and officers will now conduct some further thorough data gathering on the bridge. It is possible, however, that in the future, the signs may be put back if the statistics support doing so.

Kind regards

[Name removed] | Councillor Liaison Officer – Cr Cathy Oke | Councillor Support

Letter from Melbourne BUG – 16 June 2012

Dear Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and City of Melbourne Councillors,

Cyclists contacted Melbourne Bicycle User Group yesterday expressing concern about the new sign banning bicycles from Sandridge Bridge (see attached photo). I am writing on behalf of Melbourne BUG to ask that that council remove the ban, and associated sign, immediately. The ban is new, and there has been no community consultation. It was not discussed with Melbourne BUG. We are also unaware if it was discussed with the councillors, as it should have been.

Banning cyclists from the bridge makes it harder to cross the river North-South and restricts East-West options. The bridge is an important connector from Southbank to Northbank, allowing cyclists to avoid the most crowded part of Southbank and access the bike lanes in Queensbridge Street heading south out of the City. Sandridge Bridge is wide enough cyclists and pedestrians to share, and there is also room for a dedicated cycle path if council wanted.

We also note that the ban has been imposed in isolation from the planning process. Melbourne City Council’s draft bicycle plan proposes to investigate Flinders Street as a second east-west bicycle route, and we are aware of a proposed study of an elevated route along the railway viaduct alignment. Further, production of a masterplan for the Yarra River landscape is one of the Key Strategy Activities named as part of the Council’s 2012-13 budget, which will be considered by the council at Tuesday’s committee meeting.

Your sincerely,

[Melbourne BUG representative]

 Posted by at 2:50 pm

  6 Responses to “Bike ban on Sandridge Bridge”

  1. The southbank precinct is a disaster for cyclists due to the high denisty of pedestrian traffic. I see that a new bike crossing over Queens Bridge has been installed, but for some reason (either poor placement or not using pavement colouring to highlight where peds should cross) have resulted in the majority of peds trying to cross the road in the designated bike zone. Alternatively, Flinders Street is full of traffic, that wouldn’t be an ideal spot for a bike lane either.

    Has a floating path been considered on the north side of the river from St Kilda Road to Docklands, similar to that in Richmond? That would be a great location to separate bikes from Pedestrians at a mid-range construction cost. Certainly a design solution could be sorted out to still give access to the few docks in the area. This wouldn’t require land to be compromised and would provide that missing link of the Capital City Trail.

    • A floating path was planned by the City but has been shelved as too expensive and opposed by Greens (bad for the river environment). Bicycle Network wants to build a very expensive elevated bikeway alongside the train viaduct but that wouldn’t connect with Spencer/Clarendon nor with Queensbridge nor with St Kilda Rd. The State Gov Principal Bike Network includes Flinders St (and Spencer St) and would require a protected bikelane, which could be done at the expense of a car lane. The City’s own bike strategy includes Flinders St as a future route but they don’t have any real plans to do it and neither does the State, however it would be the best solution.
      On the south side, Sth Bank Bvd is a very wide road currently with no bicycle facilities and this needs to be fixed. The Bvd reaches the river at Queensbridge which would provide good connectivity across the river or to Sth Bank destinations e.g. for local residents or those attending the hospitality venues, and at the other end would connect to St Kilda Rd which one day (medium term) will have protected bike lanes from the City to St Kilda junction.

  2. Some confusion here between the two bridges perhaps.  The narrow bridge (as far as I recall) has always been pedestrian only, and the new signs haven't changed that.  The wider ex-railway bridge has always been available for bikes (except for the brief closure because of one collision).  Southbank and Northbank are both problematic with a high density of pedestrians making them both unsuitable as through routes for bicycles, and Melbourne BUG supports implementation of the Vicroads and City of Melbourne plans for Flinders St to be a bicycle route – with safe, separated bike lanes.  The river paths can then be left to slow recreational riders accessing the cafes and enjoying the river environment, mingling safely with pedestrians.

  3. Bike ban signs have now appeared at both ends of the next bridge connecting Southgate to Flinders St Station. I guess the guys at the council did not want to waste the signs. They really know how to encourage people to get out of their cars and use an environmentally friendly alternative. Or do they just like to annoy cyclists?

  4. I would be really interested to know what statistics support having cycling banned in the Carlton and Fitzroy gardens. Similarly to Sandridge Bridge, these parks provide sufficiently-wide off-road paths that are safe enough for cyclists and pedestrians to share. I suspect that, as in the case of the bridge, these signs were put up in response to a small number of people’s concerns, and do not reflect adequate stakeholder consultation.

    • No, the footpath isn't wide enough.  It would be OK if bikes went at walking pace, but no most seem to be in a hurry with no concern for pedestrians safety.  When walkiing along, even if one doesn't get hit, it's not a great feeling to have a cyclist wooshing from behind passing only inches away.  Just imagine your Mom or Dad walking there.  How would you feel knowing that they have to face that?

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