Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Engineering Congestion: La Trobe Street Bike Path Risk to Public Safety

The City of Melbourne has published a post Implementation report on the La Trobe Street "Copenhagen" style bike lane.

The report shows a 25% reduction on vehicular traffic throughput since La Trobe Street has been reduced to a single lane road. Congestion in the city has increased and public safety has declined with the number of bicycle accidents on the rise.   

The independent report on road safety, which normally is undertaken prior to implementation, has highlighted a number of deficiencies in the City Engineering Services and Traffic Management departments

Engineering services failed to undertake a survey of business and residents effected by  La Trobe Street proposal.  This has further undermined confidence in the Councils consultation review process, which Councillors Leppert and Oak claim to have been extensive.  Well it would be of you consider holding a serious of discussion of forums in coffee shops with bicycle users to constitute consultation.  

The planning., design and implementation of Melbourne's Bike paths has been subject to ongoing criticism that the City of Melbourne is Engineering Congestion and had failed to give due and proper consideration to alternatives designs.  Instead of constructing over priced Copenhagen style separated bike lanes the Council should have developed bike lanes that utilized less congested streets that provide a higher degree of cyclist safety

The La Tobe Street bike lane has proved to be complete disaster in planning, design and implementation and is a serious public safety risk for motorists and cyclist alike. Commuters parked along  La Trobe Street are at risk with little room for passengers to alight from vehicles run the risk of collision with cyclists, The disabled, elderly and families the most disadvantaged.

With the reduction of traffic lanes and poorly designed interfaces at intersections cyclist safety is at greater risk. The number of serious accidents involving cyclists has increased since the new bike lane has been installed. up from 36 accidents over a five-year period with 9 recorded in the sevcn months since the bike lane was installed. An increase of 200% up from a ratio of 0.6 to 1.2 accidents a month.
Mr Geoff Robinson, Manager of Engineering Services, was unable to say where the reduction in traffic volumes has been displaced. When questioned by Deputy Lord Mayor, Susan Riley, Mr Robinson confessed that his department had not surveyed or consulted residents and businesses in La Trobe Street as part of the review

Earlier last year the City Council rejected a proposal by Crs Richard Foster and Jackie Watts to undertake a comprehensive review of the design and implementation of the Copenhagen Bike lanes, The Lord Mayor Robert Doyle claiming that La Trobe Street was a success despite evidence to the contrary.

Council may have to face facts and either pull out the bike path or remove car parking in La Trobe Street so as to allow for two lanes of traffic.