Action taken on dangerous ramp

Action taken on dangerous ramp

Arts Centre Melbourne divided opinion last month after installing yellow barriers on the ramp from St Kilda Rd to Southgate Ave alongside Hamer Hall.

The ramp, which is designed for mobility access and not cycling, has long been a dangerous hotspot for pedestrians as a result of cyclists who consistently ignore/miss the signs ordering them to dismount.

Following many complaints and collisions over the years, Arts Centre Melbourne (Hamer Hall) finally took the matter into its own hands last month by installing yellow cycling barriers, which force cyclists to either slow down or avoid the area completely.

While the decision was lauded widely by local residents, the width between the barriers was met with some concern, with some arguing that the space wasn’t sufficient for people with larger prams and mobility scooters.

“How does one with a large mobility scooter or a double pram navigate this? Seems like a massive overreaction,” one local wrote on a post shared by the Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) last month.

However, a spokesperson for Arts Centre Melbourne said in a statement that the width between the poles was the standard door width, which provided access for all pedestrians whether they had a pram, a wheelchair, or a mobility scooter.

They said that for anything larger, there was 24-hour lift access next to Princes Bridge from the Hamer Hall podium down to Southbank Promenade.

“We want everyone to be able to access the surrounds and our buildings so the barriers were put in place earlier this month after signs and line marking encouraging cyclists to dismount were not being followed,” the spokesperson said.

“As the ramp is steep and it’s a shared zone for walkers, runners, prams and cyclists alike we needed it to be available for all to use safely.”

In sharing the news on its Facebook page last month, the SRA received positive feedback from many locals.

“I live and work in Southbank, I think they are necessary,” one person wrote.

“Fantastic idea. We have avoided walking this way due to frequent near-misses,” another wrote.

Southbank Local News history columnist Robin Grow also weighed in: “Have often encountered cyclists along here who totally ignore dismount signs. Well done.”

However, not everyone welcomed the news.

“How about a real solution, this is just short sighted and impacts the mobility impaired and others,” one person wrote.

“Balancing the needs of pedestrians only. Complete over reaction,” another wrote.

While the area in question is privately owned, the issue raises a broader discussion about cycling in that section of Southbank, which the City of Melbourne is currently focusing on in its upgrade to Southbank Promenade.

The current cycling lane which runs outside the Arts Centre and Hamer Hall continues along Princes Bridge into the city, however offers no direct connection from St Kilda Rd to Southbank Promenade.

It is worth noting that the new Southbank Boulevard will offer a new dedicated cycling route from St Kilda Rd to Queensbridge Square once completed. In the meantime, cyclists must get used to dismounting!

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