Bicycle Network: Measure & Understand
A good bicycle strategy with a detailed works program will help turn plans for paths and bike lanes into reality
5 minute bike plan assessment
Councils pay for bike 'strategies' and then ask you 'Is the new plan any good?'
We think that there is one thing to look for in a plan. You need to be able to find something like this table.
|Victoria Rd||2km||Exclusive bike lane||2006-7||$30 000|
|Albert St||5.5km||Parking and EBL||2006-7||$60 000|
|Elizabeth Ck||5km||Off road path||2007-8, 2008-9||$250 000||$250 000|
|Phillip Blvd||3km||European style lane||2008-9||$250 000|
Our experience is that most plans spend a lot of pages on big picture statements and can lack a staged funded commitment to specific projects.
More detail on assessing a bike plan
An effective bike strategy needs a detailed Bicycle Works Program to turn plans into bike lanes and paths.
Many local council bike strategies and plans are theoretical documents that are big on generalisations and grand plans. They often lack specific practical steps on how to fit bicycle lanes and paths into roads and parks.
This means they do not provide the level of detail required by traffic engineers to turn the plans into reality. As a result many bike strategies end up sitting on bookshelves gathering dust while no bike lanes or paths are built.
Bicycle Network Victoria has shelves full of bike strategies and plans that have never been implemented. These add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars of wasted ratepayers' money and fewer people riding.
What is a Bicycle Works Program?
A Bicycle Works Program is a prioritised and costed list of projects each with a concept design or brief on what is involved for that project.
In order for bike strategies to be workable documents, their main focus needs to be a detailed Bicycle Works Program. Most council bike plans and strategies only provide a highlighted map of the proposed network and a list of projects and estimated costs.
A Bicycle Works Program goes one step further by providing practical details that allow councils turn their plans for bicycle networks into reality.
What a Bicycle Works Program involves
- Prioritising the works in the bicycle plan or strategy
- Scoping the top priority projects and costing them. For bike lanes this means measuring the roads and seeing how room can be found for bike facilities, using the nine techniques outlined in VicRoads Cycle Notes 9 (PDF 460k)
- Developing facility concept designs for each section of the priority project.
Click here to download an example of a facility concept design for a section of Barkly St in St Kilda. Having a facility concept design allows the council officer responsible for implementing the plan to apply for funding and get more detailed engineering designs of the project done, as the conceptual work has been done.
What Facility concept designs include
- A description of the road or path including road width, traffic conditions, parking, and the importance of the cycling route in the network
- The results of the investigation of all possible techniques for providing bicycle facilities (for roads this means the nine techniques for providing for cyclists as defined by VicRoads - Cycle Notes 9)
- An indication of the recommended treatment and all other physically possible treatments. This means that if the recommended treatment is ruled out then the others can be considered
- A sketch drawing of the recommended treatment
- Photos to show current conditions
The Facility Concept Design can be immediately submitted for funding to council or external funding agencies. It means that the council officer responsible for bicycles can start implementation immediately with little further investigation.
Facility concept designs can be used as the basis for detailed engineering drawings or, for simpler designs, given directly to linemarkers or contractors.
A Bicycle Works Program can easily be done on a smaller scale for a council looking to build a small section of its bicycle network, a single route or to develop a one-year works program.
Example: City of Port Phillip
Bicycle Network Victoria prepared a Bicycle Works Program (BWP) for Port Phillip Council for every section of the city's proposed bicycle network. The concept design for Cecil St is pictured.
Paul Smith, Port Phillip council's chief traffic engineer, is delighted with the BWP: "It puts down on paper a concept design and cost for every segment of the network, whether it be a section of bicycle lane, an intersection treatment, or pram ramps and kerb works to allow smooth passage for cyclists.
The Bicycle Works Program helps us take a big practical step towards completing the construction of our bicycle network. We're delighted to have such a useful document in our hands."
Each section of the proposed network has been investigated and a Facility Concept Design drawn up. The Bicycle Works Program done by Bicycle Network Victoria for Port Phillip is a 3-5 year plan for the Council to extend its existing bicycle network by 44km.
"We've done most of the conceptual or 'thinking' work for the routes and put that information down on paper as Facility Concept Designs," said Bart Sbeghen, of Bicycle Network Victoria's campaigns department.