Sunday, May 03, 2009

A public bike plan for Melbourne

It is great public bike plan finally take shape in Melbourne. Sharing bikes at convenient locations provides us with an environmentally friendly means of travel in and around the city.

Velib bikes in Paris

I suggested a scheme for this to Melbourne City Council back in 2001 after using bikes in the city of Zug in Switzerland back in the 90s. David Risstrom took up the cause back them but it stalled.

It is surprising how long it can take for simple good ideas to happen here. Since they are only calling for tenders, it appears that the bikes won't actually be available until 2009 or 2010.

To make this really work, we need to make Melbourne more bicycle friendly with:
  • Many more Copenhagen lanes
  • High quality and safe bicycle transit routes - North South, East West and Orbital
The current Principal Bicycle Network, though a step in the right direction, relies too heavily on routes with inadequate bike lanes (often just paint on the road, ignored by many motorists) and shared paths (were conflict and danger between pedestrians and cyclists is growing).

Shared paths can be acceptable for some local and recreational usage, but they are not adequate or safe for significant bicycle transit usage.

The best option would be to put sections of our existing rail and tram networks underground and put linear parks, bike transit routes and some commercial, residential and recreational facilities in their place.

External links


Ben Courtice said...

I think it's a shame that the government have focused on the area in a 10km radius from the city. It's often areas beyond this that have very poor public transport, and could benefit greatly from expanded cycle transit routes. Also work areas e.g. industrial estates are often a nightmare for cyclists, with trucks and narrow roads, it would be good to get improvement there. I haven't read the new report, I heard it was still limited to the 10km radius as a priority area, mainly.
As to covering train lines... maybe, but it's expensive! Why not get cars off roads (by increasing PT) and just put in the Amsterdam lanes everywhere?

Peter Campbell said...

Ben, the 10km radius focus is a big mistake. We need integrated routes across the CBD and inner suburbs, connecting with transit routes to outer suburbs up to 30km or more out. Covering train lines is a long term vision. Better to have more train lines (Rowville, Doncaster and Airport) and put bike paths along existing ones. Cars off the road is a great goal. Sadly, not one set by the Victorian government yet. To cyclist's detriment. They spend $10m on small sections of sound screens along freeways . . .

Ben Courtice said...

For a great example of a half-finished, useless "transit route" try riding the pipeline bike track (Federation Trail I think it's called) to Werribee. It's a great route, that was a really crap ride before the bike path was put in. Except that the bike path ends suddenly at Millers' Rd Altona, rendering it virtually useless to get to the city because at that point one still has to enter the heavy industrial traffic of Altona and Brooklyn if commuting to anywhere other than Altona North. I understand there are plans to extend it all the way in to Yarraville and Footscray Rd, which is good, but the whole project has taken years. It's not that hard to build a bike path!