Clarendon St is “dreadful” for cyclists

By Alex Dalziel

Committee members of the Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) have raised concerns over the lack of clear direction for cyclists at the Clarendon St, Normanby Rd intersection.

The bike lane that follows Normanby Rd from the 109 tram route from Port Melbourne abruptly stops at the intersection. The result is that cyclists have to either co-mingle with pedestrian foot traffic or share the road with cars on the already narrow Clarendon St.

Local Haig St resident Jennifer Fletcher raised the issue at a Southbank SRA’s August committee meeting with Lord Mayor Sally Capp. She said that the area was notorious for reckless cyclists.

“The cyclists all come scooting down around the Tea House [28 Clarendon St] and it’s a blind corner,” she said.

Twice cyclists have knocked over Jennifer, and she said that she now avoids walking in the area at peak times because of it.

She said that she once saw a child get knocked over onto the road by a cyclist on that same corner.

“It is a blind corner both ways. A lot of people I know who live in our building are always whining about it.”

Further up along Clarendon St bike access is almost entirely blocked off; a situation that has drawn criticism from cycling groups.

“The City of Melbourne has totally dropped the ball on the connections in that area,” Melbourne Bicycle User Group member Nik Dow said.

“There is no way of getting even as far as the river, and crossing the river there is either illegal or very dangerous. Cyclists either have to choose the footpath or a four lane road with cars.”

The Bicycle User Group is highly critical of bicycle accessibility in the area, which Mr Dow believed was unavailable due in part to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) blocking any proposals for bikes out the front of their building on the Clarendon St interface.

The group is instead advocating for a secure bike lane down Whiteman St that would allow access up Queens Bridge and into the city.

“Clarendon St is dreadful,” Mr Dow said. “The prospect of getting the City of Melbourne to agree to implement a bike lane on Clarendon St is pretty remote.”

Lord Mayor Sally Capp told residents at the August 7 SRA meeting that she would take the issue on notice.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said: “Clarendon St provides a strategic connection between the Main Yarra Trail at the northern end, Cecil St and the well-utilised 109 tram shared path.”

“The City of Melbourne is currently investigating how separated bike lanes could be introduced to boost safety for cyclists riding along Clarendon St between the Yarra River and Whiteman St. This involves ongoing discussions with the Department of Transport.”

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