VicRoads’ plan for St Kilda Bike lane off-track

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Serious safety and accessibility concerns surround VicRoads’ current plan for St Kilda Road, Port Phillip Council Acting Mayor Katherine Copsey said today.

VicRoads’ preferred design involves relocating the existing traffic lanes from the centre to the side of the road, reducing traffic lanes from three to two. The former traffic lanes will then be repurposed as a central safety zone for bikes from Linlithgow Avenue in the City of Melbourne, to just north of St Kilda Junction.

The zone will then switch to Copenhagen-style protected bike lanes on the side of the road from the Junction to Carlisle Street, St Kilda. Despite Port Phillip Council and VicRoads working together since 2015 on designs for protected bike lanes along St Kilda Road, VicRoads has unexpectedly informed Council it will instead proceed with a “mixed bag” of two different forms of protected bike lanes.

“We have many questions about the safety, accessibility and convenience of this option and I’m sure our community will too,” Cr Copsey said.

“We are concerned this design could deter less-confident riders and groups like women, children and older riders. They may find it challenging to crossover from the centre to the sides of the road. They must also negotiate the local street network and navigate pedestrian crossings. We know from research that women are more likely to ride bikes where there is safe and easily accessible infrastructure,” Cr Copsey said.

“St Kilda Road should be a corridor for everyone – regardless of age or physical ability – to easily walk or ride a bike along and across. Any changes must serve the whole transport network, including trams, and be pedestrian friendly.”

The design option should be more fully developed and properly assessed by Council – and the community – to ensure the solution picked was the right one.

“We believe the planned community engagement is sub-standard. This is more about pushing through a particular option than seeking genuine feedback on the safest and smartest solution for a road with the highest number of “car doorings” in Victoria,” Cr Copsey said.

Council is seeking to work with VicRoads on a thorough analysis of this design and wants the community to have a genuine opportunity to provide insights instead of simply being informed.

“We feel the Junction has been put into the too hard basket as there is no design for how bike riders will transition from the centre to the side of the road at this complicated intersection,” Cr Copsey said.

“While we congratulate VicRoads for wanting to make this road safer, this once in a generation opportunity to transform St Kilda Road must not result in a second-best outcome.”

 

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