st kilda road

Paint is not protection--- Park St Link

City of Port Phillip has released the first designs for the Park St Link, Route 3 on the planned network of protected bike lanes in the Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS). These designs are part of the Domain Masterplan, now open for consultation, until 14th August 2019.

The Park St Link is a short section connecting St Kilda Road (with its future separated lanes) at Anzac station, and Moray St (Route 3 of the ITS, which has been built as separated lanes to the north, and only “buffered” lanes to the south).

Substantial changes are proposed here, with a new tram line down the street, as well as some street closures.

Context: Park St Link (marked 3) connects St Kilda Rd with Moray St. Full map  here.

Context: Park St Link (marked 3) connects St Kilda Rd with Moray St. Full map here.

The eastern section between St Kilda Road and King’s Way shows a completely separated lane, protected from vehicle movements by some kind of curb. The intersection with the minor cross-street, Wells Street, has been dealt with by building up the curbs at the entrance, indicating that the cycle lane and footpath are to have precedence.

St Kilda Road to King’s Way separated lanes

St Kilda Road to King’s Way separated lanes

However the western end of the route, from King’s Way to Heather St, is what the council calls “protected”— that is, it is a green-painted lane with car parking on the left, and vehicles to the right. The “protection” is supposed to be provided by a painted buffer on both sides. Paint will not protect people on bikes from vehicles intruding into the bike lanes. Moreover, a non-separated lane does not provide the high level of safety required to encourage vulnerable or risk-averse potential cyclists.

King’s Way to Moray Street— a non-separated lane.

King’s Way to Moray Street— a non-separated lane.

There is no apparent physical reason why such a mediocre treatment has been proposed here, rather than a Copenhagen style lane with car parking between the bike lane and the vehicle lane. There are very few driveways, with much of the section adjacent to parkland.

Based on the treatment of Moray St, the additional space requirements for a separated cycle lane are as little as 0.5m; however if required, the new tram lanes could be slightly off-set, allowing car parking on one side (as a Copenhagen lane) but not the other.

The closure of Eastern Road is commendable, with extra open space created. There is also a very short section of separated lane between Heather St and Moray St.

On the whole, this treatment fails to achieve its own stated outcome of “A safe, on-road separated bike lane to connect to other bike riding routes, including St Kilda Road, Moray Street and beyond“ (Draft Public Realm Masterplan, page 26).

It also fails to respond to the community, who said:

• Park Street to St Kilda Road is a critical connection for bike riders and needs to be closely considered.

• Big supporter of the separated bike path – following similar models like the ones used in the Netherlands.

• Separated bike path to help improve safety.

(Documented in the Domain Precinct Design Response Community Engagement Report.)

You can respond to the draft plans here—please copy your response to portphillipbug@gmail.com, so we can include your concerns when we meet with councillors. The Port Phillip BUG has also made a submission on behalf of our members.

Victorian State Election: candidate survey

We have an election coming up in November!

Port Phillip BUG has sent a survey to our local candidates (seats of Albert Park, Brighton, and Prahran, and the upper house Southern Metropolitan division). The questions are:

  • Separated cycles lanes are the safest option for cyclists. Will you (and your party) support separated cycle lanes on St Kilda Rd and prioritise installation by 2021?

  • There are many VicRoads controlled roads that are part of the Principal Bicycle Network. Will you (and your party) support VicRoads upgrading the routes in your seat to separated bicycle lanes?

  • Please provide a link to your cycling policy.

  • If you gain office, are there any actions you plan to take, in addition to your party policy, to get more people cycling, more often, and more safely? (Incumbents: you may include actions you've taken over the last term of office).

We’ll post responses here as we receive them. (If you are a candidate and haven’t received a survey, email portphillipbug@gmail.com and we’ll send you the link).

Councillors' tour of the Lake Ward

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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.   

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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.

A faulty bike pump.

A faulty bike pump.

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.   

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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.

Looking out of the underpass.

Looking out of the underpass.

Council is planning to put separated cycle lanes on Kerferd Rd, after a trial in which they reduce the number of lanes to one.   

Kerferd Rd is very wide!

Kerferd Rd is very wide!

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.

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Thanks to our councillors and council officer Kathleen Kemp for coming along.  Many thanks to Simon for the photographs.

Canal Ward update

Some good news:  Following our bike tour and Ed Cook's petition, Port Phillip Council has supported a crossing with signals on Glen Huntly Rd.    Moreover, they have contributed $50000 towards the cost.  The remaining cost will need to come from VicRoads, and council has written to the roads minister Luke Donnellan requesting this. 

Furthermore, the list of comments and sites was given to Council's Transport Safety Engineering Team.   Here is the list of their responses.

As we have become accustomed to, VicRoads seems to be the biggest hold up, with many comments along the lines of "We'll ask VicRoads if they can do this".   

It's also worrying that they consider a 1.5m wide bike lane (on Brighton Rd) sufficient to avoid the door zone--- Austroads guidance is that on a 60kph road, there should be a buffer of 1-1.5m between cyclists and passing trucks.   So it seems that we can be buffered from the doors, OR the trucks, but not both!

Thanks to everyone who helped.  The Lake Ward tour will be coming up in June.

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Submission on Draft Domain Precinct Plan

Metro Tunnel is asking for comment on the Draft Domain Precinct Plan.

The Port Phillip Bicycle Users Group supports the proposed design for cycle facilities shown in the draft design.   

There are two proposed locations for separated cycle lanes on St Kilda Rd--- either centrally located, or at the edges of the road, Copenhagen style.

There has been no public consultation as yet on these options.

The Bicycle Network supports the centrally located lanes.

However, the Port Phillip BUG would like to see both options fully modelled and go to public consultation.   We are concerned that the central option treats the cycle lanes as a freeway, good for commuters from the suburbs accessing the city, but neglects many people who have midblock destinations along the length of the road.   

The Domain station proposal shows Copenhagen style lanes, but states that the design is also compatible with centrally located lanes.

While the location of the lanes is still uncertain, it would be prudent to make certain that centrally located lanes are compatible, by providing alternate plans showing the central lanes.

We also request that VicRoads not waste any more time and promptly hold consultations on both options.