We hope you will make a submission to the Council on this year's budget. To help get you started, we've outlined the BUG's ideas below.
Submissions close at 5pm Friday 7 June. If you want to speak at the meeting to consider the budget on Tuesday 18 June at 5.30pm, you can request to do so in your submission. More information about the budget is here, make a submission here.
Bike budget insufficient to achieve Bicycle Plan
The City of Melbourne has cut its bike budget to $2.55 million (under half of the $5.6 million allocated in the 2012-13 budget). If the City of Melbourne is to become a "cycling city", a far greater budget commitment is required. At this rate, the City will not achieve its Bicycle Plan without significant catch-up in later budgets.
As a capital city council, a destination and thoroughfare for more than 800 000 Victorians daily, the City is more important to Melbourne bike riders than any other council area. Despite this central importance, it remains a more car-dominated, intimidating road environment for cyclists than other inner city councils the City of Moreland, the City of Yarra, or the City of Port Phillip. At the city’s last survey, 50 per cent of cyclists said they felt unsafe riding in the area.
Melbourne BUG recommends that this year’s budget be increased to at least $5.6 million, to match last year’s.
Concerns about proposed bike projects
Aside from the $400 000 for bike parking, Melbourne BUG has concerns about the proposed projects in this year’s budget:
$1.5 million for green paint and rumble strips in William Street
This project is inadequate and locks in failure. Such a busy street needs physically separated lanes. We would prefer that the funds be put aside rather than wasted in this way.
$300 000 for upgraded bike lanes in Neill Street
This is a quiet street with hardly any traffic that does not need any bike lanes. It is also a steep hill (inbound) and outbound it is difficult for bikes to turn right from Rathdowne St, so in both directions it is not the first choice for a bike route. Council is wasting funds on Neill St because of their obsession with keeping bicycles out of the Carlton Gardens. Paths in the Carlton Gardens are wide and even in the morning peak are mostly very lightly used. There is plenty of space for a bike lane connecting Canning St to the new La Trobe St lanes, which also need to connect to Albert St. Council has no solution for bikes heading to Spring St from Canning St at the moment.
Money is allocated for bike parking, which is great, but there is no way for riders to have input into choice of new locations and the City of Melbourne’s process for determining these is opaque. Melbourne BUG recommends that the City of Melbourne set up a public input process for prioritising new parking.
Unlike the 2012-13 budget papers, this year’s Budget and Annual Plan does not include a capital works list. Melbourne BUG obtained this information about the projects from a City of Melbourne press release, indicating that they have already been decided on. Neither Melbourne BUG nor the broader community have been consulted about these projects.
Alternative capital works program
Melbourne BUG has a number of alternative suggestions about how this year’s budget money could be spent. The BUG does not have the resourcing to cost these alternative projects, so we err on the side of suggesting too much. The available budget can then determine what goes into the capital works program.
- A high priority is to bring the Albert St lanes to Spring St and to treat Spring St to join it to LaTrobe St (1 block) with kerbside separated lanes, probably involving a clearway to keep 2 car lanes open, as this will become a bus route very soon.
- Kerbside, separated lanes in William St, preferably from Flinders St to Flemington Rd.
- Join Canning St to Albert St and Spring St. The current shared footpath is dangerous and unpleasant for all users, the intersection with Nicholson and Victoria is a disgrace, and Nicholson St from Victoria St to Bourke St is also very bad.
- Join Port Melbourne and Cecil St lanes to northbank of Yarra by building off-road lanes on the west side of Clarendon St. N.B. both Spencer St and Flinders St are part of the bike network proposed in the Council's long-term bike strategy, they are both part of Vicroads principal bike network and the link along Clarendon St will integrate in the future with these, but in the short term allows access to the Yarra River paths.
- LaTrobe St – Swanston intersection improvement. Two of the most high-profile bike route in Melbourne meet here. Yet the LaTrobe lanes disappear completely going east. Since traffic turning left into Swanston would have only Lt LaTrobe St or A Beckett St to go to, some minor modifications like making Swanston St one-way between A Beckett and LaTrobe could mean a big improvement for bikes while having little effect on other traffic movements.
- Make a start on St Kilda Rd by completing and releasing the draft master plan for St Kilda Rd, and include high quality lanes from Southbank Bvd all the way to St Kilda Junction (which itself needs bike treatment but outside the scope of CoM).
- Investigate safe, separated bike lanes in Flinders St between Spring St and Swanston St. Data shows a high number of bicycle movements there despite the hostile road environment, and observation shows many of these are using the footpath. Building a gantry over the railway void for pedestrians is one alternative that would integrate with any future development of the rail yards air-space.
- High quality lanes in Grattan St, not shared with buses, from Flemington Road to Rathdowne St and with a safe interface into Carlton Street.
- Flemington Rd and Royal Pde need physically separated lanes. Like St Kilda Rd, these are declared (State) roads and Council needs to propose safe treatments for all three wide boulevards, with a view to action in future years.