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St Kilda Rd bike lane dispute

11 May 2017

St Kilda Rd bike lane dispute Image

By Nadia Dimattina

Port Phillip Council and VicRoads are in dispute about the design of cycling lanes on St Kilda Rd, causing safety and accessibility concerns.

The City of Port Phillip wants “Copenhagen-style” protected lanes next to the kerb along the length of St Kilda Rd.

However, VicRoads has come up with an alternative proposal to move cycling lanes into the centre of the road.

VicRoads wants to move the existing traffic lanes from the centre of the road to the side of the road, reducing traffic lanes from three to two.

The former car lanes in the centre of the road will be repurposed as a central safety zone for bikes from Linlithgow Avenue to just north of St Kilda Junction.

This zone will then switch to Port Phillip Council’s proposed Copenhagen-style protected bike lanes from the Junction to Carlisle St, St Kilda.

The problem with this dual system is that cyclists are unprotected as they navigate from the inside of the road to the outside of the road as they attempt to navigate the busy St Kilda Junction.

The council says it has worked with VicRoads on the project since 2015, but that it has been unexpectedly informed that the two different forms of bike lanes will proceed.

Port Phillip’s acting Mayor, Katherine Copsey, has concerns about the safety and accessibility of this new proposal.

“We are concerned this design could deter less-confident riders and groups like women, children and older riders,” she said.

“They may find it challenging to cross over from the centre to the sides of the road. They must also negotiate the local street network and navigate pedestrian crossings.”

Cr Copsey said the design option should fully consider the safety of bike riders when approaching the junction.

“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,” Cr Copsey said.

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

The St Kilda bike route is one of the busiest bike routes in Melbourne providing the most direct route into the CBD from the south.

St Kilda Rd has the highest rate of reported crashes involving car doors and cyclists in Victoria, with a total of 122 cyclists being injured over the five years to 2015.

Port Phillip Council has been a vocal advocate for protected bike lanes to be built from Carlisle St to Linlithgow Ave.

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