City of Yarra is our next door neighbour. Two candidates there are making cycling issues prominent in their campaign.
Read our Our detailed plan for South Bank Boulevard and then sign the petition!
Our petition has the key improvements that Melbourne needs to attract more people to cycling for everyday trips. Except for St Kilda Rd lanes, Council hasn’t supported these in the past, so we will be asking candidates to sign a pledge to support these things:
- Protected lanes with protected intersections on Southbank Boulevard
- The 2016-2020 bicycle plan – implemented in full
- Protected lanes on St Kilda Road
- A safe route through the south side of the CBD
- Protected lanes on Flemington Road.
Green paint (in places) is all that will join two of Melbourne’s rare protected bike lanes, and only during peak hours.
Failing to learn from the part time, part way, paint only, parked in bike “lanes” in Exhibition St, The City of Melbourne has announced similar poor quality provision between the protected lanes in Latrobe Street and Albert Street. This is a lost opportunity to connect two (Melbourne only has three) protected bike lanes and link them with a facility of similar high standard.
Eastbound, going up Latrobe St will require a right turn into Exhibition, then a block of Little Lonsdale St, which is not wide enough to accommodate a bicycle and a car – so you will need to hold up the traffic and ride up the middle of the street. Then make another right turn, into Spring St.
Coming into the city will be a peak hour only clearway bike lane – we know from Exhibition Street how well that works. Then a right turn into Spring St and another part time unprotected lane.
If you are coming in from Fitzroy you will have to go out of your way to reach this excellent facility because Vicroads determined that Victoria Parade is not for bicycles (too narrow presumably), then come back up to La Trobe St, or else if you are turning left at Nicholson Street, risk the dangerously narrow car-door bike lane to get to Spring St. It’s a dangerous door-zone lane because the City of Melbourne is unwilling to remove four car parking spaces.
This is not the way to make cycling an attractive option for the average person. It is a way to ensure cycling stays a small niche of the transport system.
The City of Melbourne is consulting on its renewal of Vic Markets. This could potentially have a large impact of the bike-friendliness of the whole area.
Make your submission here.
For inspiration, read Melbourne BUG’s submission, below:
Melbourne BUG – Submission on Queen Victoria Market renewal proposal
In addition to car parking spaces, we would like to see secure bicycle parking in this area as well. This secure parking should cater for QVM employees as well as customers who request additional security, for example because they ride an expensive e-bike that they would not want to park using the standard above-ground facilities. We think the secure bicycle parking area should therefore be split into two parts. One part for employees only, accessible by swipe key and including end-of-trip facilities, and the other part for customers using bike lockers (http://www.cora.com.au/bikelockers/cyclesafebicyclelockers/ for example). The entry to/exit from the secure bicycle parking should be separate from the car entry, so that bicycles will not have to navigate a queue of cars lining up to enter the garage or swerve around access poles.
We feel that the QVM infrastructure and surrounding area should be inviting people to walk or ride their bicycle to the market, and doing so should be rewarded. This reward can come in many flavours, most importantly a sense of safety and comfort relative to using a car. The ‘inviting infrastructure’ consists of several elements in our view.
Firstly, being able to safely access the new QVM by foot or bike will be paramount to its success in our opinion. With car ownership and use being actively discouraged with new developments in the CBD, many of the CBD residents will come to market as pedestrians. At the same time, the trend in surrounding suburbs is quite clear as well: bicycle use for everyday transport is on the rise and this will continue into the future as more and more people realize the convenience of riding a bike in and around the city. The City of Melbourne Transport Strategy states: “We are a walking and cycling city, and Council provides infrastructure to improve the safety and convenience of cyclists and pedestrians” (p4).
Assets that help to provide bicycle access to the QVM are the separated bike lanes on La Trobe St and part of Elizabeth St north, and the improved bike lanes planned for William St . However, the Elizabeth St lanes do not reach all the way to Victoria St/Therry St, and the William St lanes need to continue the length of Peel St, being the continuation of William St immediately adjacent to the QVM. The City of Melbourne Bicycle Plan 2012-16 states “Investigate options for a separated or quality route from Dudley Street to Royal Parade and Flemington Road. This route will also service the Queen Victoria Market and Flagstaff Gardens.” (p20).
In addition, the redesign of Franklin St provides an opportunity for council to equip it with protected bike lanes and a safe crossing at the new Franklin-Peel-Dudley intersection. Elimination of roundabouts at Peel/Dudley and Queen/Franklin will improve access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Franklin Street currently provides four traffic lanes plus parking which is excessive relative to its local function, and this should be reduced to two traffic lanes to provide safe space for bicycles and more pedestrian space. Retaining four lanes in Franklin St and creating a new four lane road on the market’s southern boundary will create and perpetuate a barrier between the market and the City: as stated in the Summary of Proposals: “The streets around the Market form barriers to the local area and make it difficult to walk around”. Safe bicycle lanes in Franklin St will improve access to the Market by connecting to other bike routes such as William St and Swanston St.
We also feel that the connection to QVM from Cobden St and/or O’Connell St should be improved for bicycle access to/from Queensberry St which would be the preferred route for most of North Melbourne and Kensington. We strongly encourage council to design a “Bicycle Access Plan” for QVM which integrates the above points and potentially other routes, as well as traffic management around the entry/exit points of the car park, to limit the danger to cyclists of cars queuing on street or doing right hand turns to enter/exit the car park. This is particularly important for those routes that are part of the Principal Bike Network like Peel Street. The Bicycle Access Plan should be included in the QVM masterplan.
Another important element to create the inviting atmosphere is the provision of bicycle parking facilities. In addition to the secure bicycle parking in the car park area, we feel there should be ample bicycle parking available at various strategic locations around the QVM making it easy to park your bike close to where you need to go. These locations need to relate to the bicycle access routes shown in the “Bicycle Access Plan”.One can even think about “shopping carts” to be supplied at the bicycle parks to make it easier for people to carry their purchases around and back to the bike. It’s easy to carry 5-10kgs of fresh produce on your bike in a pannier or basket, but it’s much less fun to carry it around while shopping. Well positioned parking and innovations such as “shopping carts” will also encourage cyclists to use the parking facilities provided and avoid bicycle clutter at other locations.
Council has informed Melbourne BUG that their proposal to continue the bicycle lane to the intersection was refused by the State Government (through Vicroads), with the following justification (Council’s statements are in italics, our responses are in bold font).
The likely impacts of the proposed Melbourne BUG treatment are outlined below.
Less green time for cyclists: the proposal would require extensive changes to the traffic signals at this intersection. Because cyclists and turning traffic would need to be time separated under the proposal, there would be significantly less green traffic signal time for cyclists. Therefore cyclists would have longer wait times and may be tempted to ignore the signals.
Less green time for pedestrians: the proposal would also require fully controlled left turns, thus potentially reducing pedestrian green times, and leading to longer waits and longer queues for left turn vehicles in Elizabeth Street.
The additional time offered by the current design is only useful if you are prepared to ride, or walk across the intersection at the same time as cars are turning. Bikes are very efficient at moving through an intersection, a given number of people on bikes can traverse an intersection much more quickly than the same number of cars.
Limited road space: given the width of Elizabeth Street between the existing kerbs, we could not provide a bicycle lane, a physically separated island, a turn lane and two through lanes at appropriate widths. Providing narrower lanes or a narrower physical separator may compromise safety.
Given the width of Elizabeth Street at this point, it is a telling indication of the Victorian Government’s priorities to hear that there would be insufficient width to provide a safe bicycle lane.
Intersection capacity and efficiency: given the impacts outlined above, the proposal would reduce the efficiency and capacity of the intersection (how many vehicles / bicycles would pass through during each green cycle).
It’s all about facilitating people driving their cars to work. Morning peak is when the left turning cars are a congestion problem.
The current Elizabeth Street design has been utilised in other areas of the City of Melbourne, and has been found to be effective. The turning motorists will cross the bicycle lane when entering the turn lane and safety at this potential conflict point is managed through green cycle lane pavement. Cyclists and motorists should of course approach the conflict area with awareness and share the road.
Do you find this type of treatment effective? Do you feel safe?
The approved design removes the conflict between angle parking (and reversing vehicles) and cyclists and therefore offers a major improvement to cyclist safety over the existing conditions.
The kerbside lane, as far as it goes, is a major improvement, and is supported by Melbourne BUG.
As with all other bicycle installations, the City of Melbourne will monitor the safety and effectiveness of the Elizabeth Street physically-separated bicycle lanes and any safety issues arising from the treatment will be discussed with VicRoads
Be sure to report any crashes to Council. Police also, but they are unlikely to record any crashes unless somebody is taken to hospital.
Original Post 10/12/2013
Above is the graphic describing the proposed “kerbside” bikelane in Elizabeth St. These lanes will run on both sides of Elizabeth Street between the Haymarket roundabout and Queensberry Street. You can see that bikes will emerge from behind the parked cars, immediately into the path of left-turning cars. The cars have a green arrow for part of the cycle, so they are expecting to have absolute right-of-way and won’t be slowing down. The cars won’t see bikes coming down the hill, until they come out in front of them.
Melbourne BUG’s proposal, given to Council at an early stage, was to keep the bikelane kerbside all the way to the stop line. Left-turning cars and straight-ahead bikes can be separated in time and space by using the traffic light cycle. There is a turning phase already in use here, when cars turn right from Queensberry into Elizabeth, exiting the City, and left turning cars coming towards the City down Elizabeth St get a green left-turn arrow. During this phase, bikes would get a red light (stopping straight-ahead movement but still allowing left turns into the Queensberry St bike lane). During the straight-ahead green light in Elizabeth St, left-turning cars would get a red arrow under the BUG’s proposal, making it safe for cyclists to go straight ahead.
The type of design proposed by Melbourne BUG is standard in the Netherlands, and is increasingly in use in Copenhagen.
The design proposed by the City of Melbourne undermines the purpose of the protected bike lane. Why does the protection run out where it is needed most, at the intersection?
Answer, the City of Melbourne doesn’t believe in its own Transport Strategy.
For example, page 50 of the Transport Strategy includes “Traditionally, traffic growth has been met by allocating more space to cars often at the expense of trams, buses, pedestrians and cycling…the municipality’s road network needs to be optimised for the more space-efficient modes, including dedicated lanes for trams, bus priority lanes, bicycles lanes, wider pedestrian footpaths, safer and more comfortable level access tram stops and significantly better priority for space efficient vehicles at traffic lights especially trams, buses and pedestrians.”
The City’s “Road Safety Plan” states on page 25 “…the City of Melbourne proposes a city where people take priority over the flow of traffic.” and “…the City of Melbourne clearly prioritises pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, particularly within the central city as having a key role in the future prosperity, liveability and sustainability of the city. On this basis…vulnerable road users should be supported by the physical environment…”
In practice, not so much.
Please write to Cr Cathy Oke, chair of Council’s transport committee and ask for the BUG’s safer design to be implemented.
Cr Cathy Oke
Phone: 03 9658 9086
City of Melbourne
GPO Box 1603
Melbourne VIC 3001
You might not know this path exists, even if you are in the area, as there is no way-finding (signs) to point it out. It runs from the end of Harbour Esplanade, near the Webb Bridge, going towards the City, ending in the Flinders Street extension.
You might use it after coming south along Harbour Esplanade to get to Flinders St or you can cross Flinders St and reach the (relatively) new Seafarers Bridge across the river into the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and beyond.
This path was overgrown and hard to get by, so Melbourne BUG contacted the City of Melbourne and asked for the vegetation to be pruned. We didn’t hear back but recently noted that the offending vegetation has been suitably disciplined so it’s now easy to use this useful link.
With the approval of the 2013-2014 budget, the City of Melbourne has proven to be a sprinter rather than the grand tour winner it aspires to be. Melbourne Bicycle User Group argues that this approach is inadequate to realise the goal of council's Bicycle Plan, namely to get Melbourne on the map as a real cycling city and promote cycling as a sustainable way of transportation.
Just two years ago, Melbourne was only the second city in the world to receive the "Bike city" qualification from the International Cycling Union UCI, after Copenhagen. The award recognised both the improvements made to cycling infrastructure as well as the long-term commitment to promote cycling as a sustainable means of transportation. A couple of days later, Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the Tour de France. Adding to the general excitement about cycling in Melbourne, the City of Melbourne developed the Bicycle Plan, outlining ambitious infrastructure improvements over the period until 2016, with the goal that “In a cycling city, riders of all ages and abilities need to feel safe and comfortable”. In its Plan, the City aimed to get more people riding, by building infrastructure that felt safe for everyone, not just the young and fearless. Council was dreaming of victory in the grand tour that was about to take off, visualising world class infrastructure in LaTrobe St and on Princess Bridge, which would persuade current would-be cyclists to enjoy a regular ride to work, the shops or entertainment activities in the city.
Fast forward to last month’s council meeting. Was the euphoria in 2011 just a sugar high, or the result of using some fancy performance enhancing substance? Sure enough, the chevron-separated lanes in Clarendon St (East Melbourne) are a joy to ride, and the separated lanes on LaTrobe St are a great development that make riding there a vastly less hostile experience. Unfortunately, the good vibe didn’t seem to last. Despite being a great improvement, the LaTrobe St separated lanes disappear at every intersection – just where they are most needed – and the Princes Bridge lanes have been watered down to a one-way three-months trial lane. Planned lanes in Elizabeth St, north of Victoria St, have failed to materialise.
Judging from the approved budget and associated capital works, one can only conclude that the determination to make Melbourne truly globally competitive on the sustainable transport scale has faded. Like a procycling sponsor getting back on his feet after being confronted with a positive test of one of his riders, council is looking confused and risk averse with a budget that is less than half of last year’s.
The proposed $2.65M budget for cycling infrastructure will be insufficient to meet even the projects outlined in the Bicycle Plan unless there is a marked increase in future years. And future budget increases seem most unlikely in the current climate of reduced expenditure at all levels of government. The funds that have been allocated are not being wisely spent with this year's capital works either failing to address high priority issues or being inadequate solutions that will have little positive effect on increasing the cycling population.
The main infrastructure project proposed, William St, is a prime example of an opportunity gone to waste. Surely one could expect a top-of-the-line infrastructure upgrade for a road featuring on the Principal Bike Network and being marked as a Bike Priority Route? Apparently not; instead of physically separated lanes, a few buckets of green paint are supposed to shower that feeling of safety and security upon “riders of all ages and abilities”, as the council's bicycle plan so wonderfully puts it.
The especially sad part is that separated lanes in William St are both feasible and much less intrusive on car space than in other CBD roads, since it is too narrow for two full car lanes anyway. By putting on only green paint, council is falling short of the necessary effort to bring William St up to international best practice. Queensberry St has demonstrated how green paint (and rumble strips) will not keep cars out of the bicycle lane in busy streets with fast moving traffic including trucks like William St. In choosing the cheap and ineffective option, the City of Melbourne is acting like a sprinter who puts his hands in the air to cry victory 100 metres before the finish, only to be beaten on the line.
A second infrastructure project in the budget, the proposed treatment of Neill St (Carlton), is an example of useless spending. Council is proposing to spend $300K to install chevron-separated bike lanes in this quiet residential street, apparently in an attempt to provide a road-based link between the popular Canning St bike lane and others beyond the Carlton Gardens. Instead of riding along Canning St to Carlton St, cyclists are expected instead to embrace the Neill St-Rathdowne St route with 700 metres of painted lanes as their only protection from traffic moving at up to 60 kph and its non-existent protection for northbound access into Neill St. Our alternative for spending the $300K: upgrade the Carlton St / Grattan St intersection to facilitate safe crossing.
Concluding, this budget presents a big risk of City of Melbourne not achieving the goals of its transport strategy, and is sending a bad signal about its commitment to make Melbourne a true cycling city. Rather than making the flow of the 2011 award and Australian tour victory work for them and setting up a long term strategy to get to the top of the general classification of bike friendly cities, they have demonstrated a lack of stamina and endurance to achieve that ambitious goal.
Cr Foster (ALP member, 4-wheel driving inner suburban resident) has moved the following motion at the City of Melbourne's Future Melbourne committee meeting to be held 5:30pm Tuesday 6th August.
NOTICE OF MOTION: PRINCES BRIDGE/ST KILDA ROAD BIKE LANES
That the Future Melbourne Committee requests management to undertake the following:
1. present a report to the Committee meeting on 10 September 2013 on the status of Princes Bridge/St Kilda
Rd bike lanes including an assessment of community concerns relating to congestion and public safety and
any proposed remedy by management to address such matters; and
2. deferral of any further works on the bike lanes until the matter has been considered at the Committee
Following commencement of installation works on the Princes Bridge/St Kilda Rd bike lanes, significant
community concern has been expressed in relation to traffic congestion, travel time delays and public safety.
In light of increased community concern, it is proposed that an update briefing be provided on the status of
works including a Council officer assessment of the community concerns being raised.
It is important that this update and assessment be provided in a public forum to allow the community to be
better informed on the status and proposed solutions to any problems.
Until this information is presented to Committee, it is proposed that any further works on the bike lanes be
Moved: Cr Foster
Cr Foster is prepared to align with the RACV, the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Herald Sun to oppose completion of the St Kilda Road bike lanes. He is calling for a "briefing" despite having received a briefing this week, in which he was told that the new lanes were not causing a blow-out in travel times, the same number of cars are getting through the Flinders St lights as before and the traffic flows are as predicted by the modelling carried out as part of planning the project.
Cr Foster is grandstanding to make himself better known in the electorate, with a view to furthering his political career. We need to show him that underminding valuable projects to make cycling safer and more attractive will have the opposite effect and make him unelectable in this community. The best way to do this is to make a submission to Council opposing his motion. It's easy, just send an email to
Your submission is powerful, all councillors are handed the public submissions before the meeting and have them in front of them when the item is considered.
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.
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).