Lord Mayor and CouncillorsCity of Melbourne
I am writing to request that the City of Melbourne defer the development and construction of the proposed bike lane in St Kilda Road and that the development be referred for consideration at the next City of Melbourne Future Melbourne Committee.
The current City Council has not considered or approved the project other than approve the Council's Budget and 4 year plan.
There are a number of major issues of concern in relation to the proposed design that should be reviewed.
LATROBE STREET BIKE LANE
The Latrobe Street bike lane has been a complete disaster with growing concern about public safety and suitability of this design. The Lord Mayor himself on public radio has indicated as such and that the City of Melbourne needs to review the development and make a number of changes to the design including the removal of on street parking.
It would be prudent that such a review is completed prior to the commencement of construction of a similar bicycle lane in St Kilda Road.
The section of St Kilda Road between Princess Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue is widely used by bus operators and members of the public visiting with family and friends the Arts precinct and the neighboring Gardens.
The proposed development could be in breach of the Equal Opportunities Act in that it severely disadvantages disabled by denying them access to safe parking. Council needs to contact and have reviewed the proposed design by the Victorian Disabilities Advocate
The proposed lane design will force motorists to park on the outside of the bike lane three meters from the footpath creating a major risk to pedestrian and motorist safety.
Passengers alighting from parked vehicles will have to negotiate a balancing act on the one meter concrete strip and check for bicycles racing down the bike lane whilst running to reach the footpath on the other side. The design will place families with children and the elderly safety at serious risk. Mums with prams or those with wheel chairs will not be able to safely park their cars in the 3 hour parking zones. Bus drivers and taxi operators will have similar safety concerns when dropping off passengers.
The proposed "island of danger" separation barrier will be installed in the south bound location between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue south of the Floral Clock. Beyond Linlithgow Avenue the bike lane will revert back into the standard bike lane design adding to confusion and further road safety concerns.
Drivers exiting a vehicle will be forced into opening car doors into congested on coming road traffic causing a further risk to motorist safety.
BUS PARKING - DROP OFF ZONE
The proposed design is a serious threat to the safety of passengers exiting the bus with passengers having step onto the one metre concrete separation barrier, then wait to ensure there are no bicycles bearing down on them before crossing the two metre bike path on to the adjacent footpath. The situation is made worst when there are 40 other passengers all wanting to exit the bus at the same time and even worst again in an emergency situation.
The City of Melbourne needs to reconsider alternative designs that addresses the above safety issues.
In discussion with Senior City of Melbourne Engineers I understand that there was a preferred alternative design similar to the design implemented in Claredon Street East Melbourne.
A better and much cheaper option is to widen the existing bike path and delineate it from parked cars by line marking as is the case in Clarendon Street East Melbourne. This would allow sufficient room for cyclists to pass without entering in to the parked car door zone and for the same cost could be extended past the Shine up to Domain Road and beyond. They could also apply the same treatment to the other side adjacent to the Art Gallery and Concert Hall giving ratepayers more value for their dollar.
The alternative design would be cheaper in cost to install and would allow the City of Melbourne to greater flexibility in implementing and changes that may be required.
The Claredon Street design solution addresses many of not all of the major concerns in relation to public safety without placing at risk commuter and pedestrian safety.
Further the Claredon St design solution is consistent with the other section of bicycle lane in St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge. The savings in cost would allow the city of Melbourne in conjunction with VicRoads to extend the alternative design bike path to include the entire stretch of St Kilda Road in both directions further adding to cyclist and pedestrian safety.
St Kilda Road is a major access point for emergency vehicles from and to The Alfred Hospital in Commercial Rd
The construction of the separated bicycle lane barrier would limit movement and egress options for emergency vehicles.
As I understand Emergency services have not been consulted on the proposed design and the alternative options. The implementation of the Claredeon Street design solution would enable greater flexibility and access for emergency vehicles.
REVIEW OF PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
It is fundamental and prudent that the City of Melbourne that the Council undertake a comprehensive review of the Latrobe Street bike lane and the proposed design of the St Kilda Rd bicycle plan.
In light of the above issues of concern. Should any person be injured as a result of the proposed development Council would be held liable for any injury and the accident would not be covered by the Victorian Motor Accident Insurance Scheme if a vehicle is not involved.
I therefore request that the City of Melbourne as a matter of urgency defer the construction of the proposed development and refer the project for further consideration at a Future Melbourne Committee and that members of the public and other stakeholders be proposed the opportunity to make further submission on the impact of the proposed design and the alternative options/
Should you require further information I can be contacted via return email
Anthony van der Craats
cc Victorian Minster for Roads, State Opposition Spokesperson for Roads, RACV, Members of Parliament and the Media