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Walking Plan misses the mark

10 Jun 2014

Walking Plan misses the mark Image

The City of Melbourne released its ‘Walking Plan 2014-17’ draft this month but concerns have been raised over an obvious oversight.

Major works for Southbank are included in the plan, but it makes no mention of the problems between cyclists and pedestrians on Southbank Boulevard.

Yarra River Business Association’s (YRBA) Tim Bracher told Southbank Local News his organisation thought the promenade issues should have been addressed.

“We’re surprised that something as obvious and as dangerous to pedestrians as the speeding cyclists on Southbank Promenade did not get picked up in the report,” Mr Bracher said.

“We have quickly responded to the draft, suggesting that it be included.”

Mr Bracher also pointed out that this was not a new issue.

“The Walking Plan is a great initiative of council, but the Southbank cycling problem has been with us for nearly 20 years, and it’s not rocket science how to solve it,” he said.

The City of Melbourne said Southbank Promenade had been omitted from the Walking Plan draft because it was: “Subject of extensive work currently being undertaken by the City of Melbourne.”

While this argument has merit, City Rd’s pedestrians are assessed in the Walking Plan, despite its very own master plan being developed.

Cr Cathy Oke told Southbank Local News: “In March, the Share our Streets behaviour change campaign was launched on Southbank Promenade and since then Street Teams have been educating cyclists and pedestrians about safety and sharing the space.”

Southbank issues included in the Walking Plan include giving City Rd a “high street” function, improving connectivity within the arts precinct and improving open space and pedestrian connections under the M1 Freeway. 

Mr Bracher said the YRBA was working with Victoria Police on the Southbank Promenade issue and was hopeful that if a structural solution could not be found that bylaws would be created to help police enforce speed limits.

“A bicycle barreling along the promenade at 40 kmh is just as lethal to a pedestrian as a vehicle, especially if you are old or a toddler,” Mr Bracher said.

“We know that an appropriate bylaw, and fines, together with a big dose of community education, would soon stop the small minority of cyclists who put peoples lives at risk.”

“All we are asking cyclists to do is dismount and walk with their bikes for about 200 metres.”

If you would like to see the draft Walking Plan or make a comment on it, head to the council’s website participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/draft-walking-plan

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