21 March 2014
Accidents involving cyclists are once again at the top of the Melbourne news. Tuesday’s well publicised dooring accident on Collins Street has unleashed another predictable round of cars vs bikes commentary in the media, culminating in the Australian well and truly jumping the shark today by placing blame squarely on the cyclist.
The debate has also, understandably, renewed calls for safer bicycle infrastructure.
Local and State Governments share this responsibility, but as far as the CBD and inner City goes, there is a great imbalance between the two on who is actually doing the work.
Just a couple of hours after the Collins Street dooring accident, City of Melbourne Transport Portfolio Chair and Greens Councillor Cathy Oke kicked off the latest City of Melbourne Bicycle Forum, a public forum she instigated in the previous term of Council to allow anyone to attend to learn about the City’s plans for new cycling infrastrucutre and education programs, and to provide feedback directly to policy makers.
The Bicycle Forum was a great success, and it included updates on the new “Share Our Streets” program, another Greens-instigated project to improve relations and awareness of all road users.
The Forum also presented the list of intended infrastructure projects for the 2014-15 financial years, including:
- – Major upgrade of shared path on the Northern side of Dynon Road;
- – Installation of separated bike lanes on Flemington Road;
- – Major upgrade of shared path on the Southern side of Lorimer Street;
- – Improvements to lane and bicycle box markers on Spring Street, Gisborne Street and Macarthur Place;
- – Reconstruction of the bicycle route over the Upfield Railway Line on Arden Street; and
- – Improvements to lane and bicycle box markers on Smithfield, Epsom and Macaulay Roads.
This is on top of 2013-14 projects, including the new major North-South CBD route on William Street.
Cr Oke also has a motion to Council this coming Tuesday, which will instigate a review of the planning scheme as it relates to bicycle parking in new developments in the City, with a view to increasing the rates of required parking in high density residential apartments and office blocks. The provisions have not been updated since 2006, and are inadequate to deal with current and future bicycle commuting volumes.
With Greens sharing decision-making power, and with Cr Oke in the Transport Portfolio, the City of Melbourne’s commitment to better cycling infrastructure continues. The Liberal State Government, meanwhile, continues to spend considerably less on Victorian cycling infrastructure than Melbourne City Council spends in the City of Melbourne alone.
The State Government’s new ‘Plan Melbourne‘ (pdf – see page 80 for cycling infrastructure plan) includes an aspiration to build safe cycling lanes down the length of Collins Street in the short term, but it remains to be seen when and how the State Government will follow through and fund projects like this. It’s Greens in Local Government actually doing the work and committing the funds to reconfigure our roads to be safer for all users.