On Tuesday 12th June we took Port Phillip Councillors Katherine Copsey, Andrew Bond, David Brand, Dick Gross and Ogy Simic on a tour of some interesting sites in the Lake Ward in Port Phillip. (Councillor Tim Baxter and Albert Park MP Martin Foley sent their apologies.) Lake Ward covers St Kilda, Albert Park, and Middle Park. The handout with the route is here. I've added some of the extra things we noticed on the ride to the map below (in purple).
We started at St Kilda Town Hall. The first thing we observed was the time it took for us to walk across the pedestrian crossing at Brighton Road. These crossings seem optimised for cars, rather than pedestrians. (A recent article describes this problem.)
We headed up towards the Junction. We briefly stopped at Inkerman St, where a single car parking place creates a pinch point in a merging zone.
Going up the hill, we looked at how the St Kilda Rd separated bicycle lanes project can be fairly easily implemented as a Copenhagen lane on the edge of the road. By contrast, the challenge of fitting protected lanes into the Junction are considerable. However creating a safe way for people on bikes to get through this intersection will be crucial.
We then headed down the bidirectional path on Fitzroy St. This has been identified as one of the place where cyclists feel most unsafe in surveys by BikeSpot and VicRoads. There is a protected lane for cyclists, but because drivers do not expect cyclists to be moving in a counterflow direction, they often fail to yield at intersections.
On the way we tried to use the council public bike pump outside Woolworths. Unfortunately it deflated Councillor Bond's tyre! Liz had a pump that we fixed the problem with.
Then on through the quiet back streets of West St Kilda to Middle Park shops, where we looked at the suboptimal crossing of Canterbury Rd at Armstrong St.
From Albert Park, we stopped at the intersection of Albert and Kerferd Rd. The crossing here is yet another that doesn't allow sufficient time for pedestrians to cross. There is some new marking for bicycles at this intersection, but the stretch under the tramway (travelling north) is still feels difficult for cyclist. We looked at the option of converting the pedestrian underpass (just up Ferrars St) to a shared path, giving access to the service road on the north side of Albert Rd.
Council is planning to put separated cycle lanes on Kerferd Rd, after a trial in which they reduce the number of lanes to one.
Our last stop was another parking place, outside Donovans on Marine Parade. This parking place/loading zone forces on-road cyclists to merge with traffic, while creating a little door zone. We note that as this is an accessible parking place (for people with a disabled permit) it may be of high utility and should be relocated rather than removed.
Thanks to our councillors and council officer Kathleen Kemp for coming along. Many thanks to Simon for the photographs.