Bicycle Network: Metro Routes
Parks and Gardens in the City of Melbourne
This section covers the issue of bike riding in areas defined by the City of Melbourne as Parks and Gardens.
Trial of signage on Nicholson Street path
23 November 2012.
The City of Melbourne is trialling signage along the heavily-used shared path along the west side of Nicholson Street, in an attempt to reduce conflict between users. The signage is supplied by Total Print who are also installing or trialling bike signage with the following councils:
|Booroondara||Glen Eira||Port Phillip||Moonee Valley||Moreland|
Park rangers to patrol riders
2 June 2011. Riders through Melbourne's Fawkner Park may have a friendly encounter with a park ranger during June as Melbourne City launches an education campaign for more considerate riding in the Park.
The council is responding to complaints over the speed and "near misses" involving riders in the park.
"In the interests of all park users feeling safe and comfortable using the park’s facilities and paths, rangers are asking all users to be aware of their surroundings and courteous to other users while they’re in the park," the council said.
Patrols will be conducted in June during peak travel times Monday - Friday. This is generally between 7.30 – 9.30am and 4.30 – 6.30pm.
No infringement notices will be issued.
Park Rangers will be giving away free bike bells, fluorescent anklets, park safety cycling tips cards and travel smart cycling maps.
They will also be handing out dog on leash brochures and encouraging responsible pet ownership and talking to dog walkers and reminding them of the locations of on and off leash areas. (The main cycling path through Fawkner park is dog-on-leash)
The Park Rangers will be clearly identified by their distinctive uniforms of green shirts/jumpers with an identifying badge on their sleeve.
They will have Park Safety cycling signage out in the park when they are conducting the safety patrols.
Bicycle Network Victoria reminds riders that on shared paths riders must give way to pedestrians. As many park walkers are wearing headphones and are oblivious to their surroundings, they can be expected to suddenly step in front of you without warning.
This requires riders to travel at a pace whereby incidents can be avoidedâ€”certainly no faster than a runner on the same path.
Council moves on Carlton quandary
30 March 2010. The City of Melbourne has proposed improvements to the over-taxed bike facilities in and around the Carlton Gardens precinct, but do they go far enough?
Traffic in and out of the city via Nicholson and Rathdowne has spiked, particularly in Rathdowne, where morning peak volumes have risen a remarkable 78 per cent since improvements to the route were made in 2008.
This has placed intolerable strain on entry points to the CBD at Victoria Street, made worse when the Council unadvisedly forced bike riders from the spacious, safe thoroughfares of the Carlton Gardens.
Now the City authorities are planning a modest program of adjustments in the precinct to reduce risks and improve flow. The changes include better signage, new bicycle storage boxes, and measures to keep cars out of bike lanes.
These gains will, however, be offset by further measures to reduce bike traffic through preferred Carlton Gardens traffic-free broad laneways.
The Council has other options that it should immediately explore. To improve the attractiveness of the route for southbound riders:
- Wider lanes in Rathdowne Street between Victoria and LaTrobe;
- Removing the left turn green arrow that operates at the end of the signal phase in the morning peak. Riders in the narrow stand up lane are exposed to moving motor vehicles on their left hand side because some drivers race to catch the green arrow;
- Protecting the bike lane from careless coach parking past the museum;
- Reconfiguring the Carlton, Rathdowne, Barkly Streets intersection to reduce conflict and guide riders onto the on road route.
The Council's proposal for a bicycle route along the footpath on the west side of Nicholson Street is not supported as it is too narrow for the high volumes of pedestrians and riders. Riders heading for the south east corner of the Carlton Gardens should be permitted to use the 5m wide south east path through the southern half of the Gardens leaving the Nicholson Street footpath to pedestrians.
The Gertrude Street Nicholson Street intersection should get attention as riders and pedestrians congregate on what is currently the shared path for those waiting to cross to the east.
And the south east corner of the Gardens needs attention as it has strong pedestrian flows that are mixed with riders flows. There is no physical or regulatory provision for riders to use either the crossing to the College of Surgeons or the crossing to St Vincent's Hospital.
The Council report is here.
Eco City Committee Meeting
11 November 2009. Bicycle Network Victoria was among a number of speakers who addressed the Committee last night. The committee noted the significant number of emails they had received on the issue from riders. Peter Matthews of Resident 3000 spoke in support of the ban on riding and of increasing the use of police to levy fines on riders. 'Monitoring needs to be raised' he said.
Bicycle Network Victoria sent Councillors the attached analysis of the situation. We argued that responsible riding is acceptable in parks and gardens and that it should be permitted. We outlined the inconsistency of the Council's position and proposed an approach that would allow riding.
Councillor Ken Ong expressed strong views against bike riding and riders including on roads. Councillor Clarke made the point that there used to be a traffic school in the Gardens on the current site of the children's playground. Councillor Oke expressed sympathy for both points of view.
The Committe resolved to accept the report (attached below). In effect this means the ban continues. The issue has been referred to the committee concerned with parks and gardens. Bicycle Network Victoria will seek meetings with Council staff and will represent riders views to the new committee.
The Connected City Committee Meeting passed a resolution in favour of further development of the Rathdowne Street route so riders are attracted to this route rather than the one through the Gardens. We will support improvements to this route.
Signs of hope on Carlton Gardens ban
5 November 2009. The City of Melbourne has withdrawn a number of fines issued during the crackdown on riders in the Carlton Gardens, signalling a re-think of the City Council's arbitrary ban on bikes on many park roads.
Riders have reported, and the Council has confirmed, that in cases where riders contested the fines, Council officers have reviewed the circumstances and exercised legally appropriate discretion to withdraw the fine.
This is a significant change of attitude from September, when the Council blindly launched an aggressive blitz on bike commuters using the Carlton Garden's direct, traffic-free route into the CBD.
Large numbers of riders were reportedly stung by a disproportionate $250 fine, an amount higher than many serious traffic offences.
Next Tuesday night the Eco City Committee will consider a report from Council staff on the issue.
The report sensibly makes the point that there are paths in Melbourne's Parks and Gardens system where bike routes are being successfully integrated. In other cases investment in good quality alternative routes on the road network has made these more attractive than in-park routes.
However the report also acknowledges that an arbitrary bike ban has been in place for decades in a number of the City's green spaces that also contain ideal bike routes.
These decisions were made at a time when bike traffic was a mere dribble. Now, with the city teeming with bikes in peak hour, circumstances demand a review that can identify the select few bikes routes required within the Parks and Gardens system, make them available for bike use, and maintain restrictions on bike access elsewhere.
You can click here to show your support for the routes that matter through City of Melbourne's Parks and Gardens.
See also the news from Treasury Gardens.
MCC flags more park path punishment
21 October 2009. The City of Melbourne has again lined up riders using park paths into the cityâ€”but this time warnings are being issued in advance of penalties.
Council officers and Police have been stationed in Fitzroy Gardens and warning riders they face heavy fines for using the connection into the CBD.
Last month the Council swooped on riders using the 5.5M path through the Carlton Gardens, although it is a logical and low risk extension of the Canning Street route into the city.
Not every path through Melbourne's parks and gardens is suitable for bikes, and the planned separated paths going into to Albert Street soon will reduce the attraction of the Fitzroy Gardens routes.
Factors such as gradients, widths, sightlines and usage mix, means that many paths, including a majority of those in the Fitzroy Gardens, are not appropriate for bike use.
But some are highly suitable, and the Council is well aware of this fact.
Yet it persists with its arbitrary and unsupportable bike ban policy in what will be an ultimately futile attempt to assuage the local residents groups which are attempting to colonise these public places for their personal use.
There have recently been eyewitness reports of bike-hating local residents stepping in front of riders in attempts to provoke collisions. In the face of such irrational and provocative behaviour, riders are advised to stay off these routes for the time being.
Bike paths in parks, often called 'Greenways', are common around the world and operate without conflict or concern. Melbourne will inevitably adopt this successful model.
Carlton Gardens cash sting
18 September 2009. The City of Melbourne is raking in the cash after unexpectedly blitzing bike riders cruising through the Carlton Gardens, a long-popular, safe and quiet route into the Melbourne CBD.
Scores of riders, including many Bicycle Network Victoria members, have suffered the sting of the disproportionate $250 fine as police and council enforcement staff pounced on the unsuspecting commuters.
The crime? Riding on a 5.5 metre path with clear sightlines and all the space you would ever need to comfortably accommodate bike riders and pedestrians.
The council sting came without notice. Previously the Council and the Police have communicated pending enforcement actions to Bicycle Network Victoria, seeking cooperation, with "Respect the Red" campaign an example. On this occasion, silence.
The clumsy nature of the action was surprising as the council and Bicycle Network Victoria, along with other transportation authorities, have been reviewing opportunities to improve routes into the city.
Obviously the Carlton Gardens would be on any list of routes for improvement because of its unavoidable interfaces with the high volume Canning Street route and the inevitable Queensberry-Gertrude Streets connection.
Bike commuters realize that not every path through a park or garden is suitable for riding and would never insist on the right to ride every path.
Some, however, are very suitable, and few are better suited than a select few in the Carlton Gardens. (See map. Only the orange coloured paths would be required.)
The Carlton Gardens bike ban is arbitrary and without any sound rationale. There is no evidence to suggest that there is any unacceptable risk associated with bike use on the paths in question.
In fact, forcing these riders out on the the roads is likely to increase risk to public health and safety.
Fortunately, some sane voices have been heard at the Town Hall.
All bike riders are looking forward to some announcement that the unfair rules will be reviewed and that new policies will be developed to encourage Melbourne's various parks to be carefully shared in a responsible manner by a variety of users, including bike riders where appropriate.
The map (right) indicates:
- the routes we believe are important - Orange
- The routes we do not feel need bike access - Green
- The Museum land where bike riding is permitted. Bike parking provided outside the Museum entrance - Yellow zone
Melbourne's parks and gardens
Melbourne is fortunate to have a number of beautiful parks and gardens in and around the CBD. Some are extensive and cover large areas.
Bicycle Network Victoria believes that in some instances cycling should be allowed on designated paths within the park or garden where there is adequate width and good sightlines for path users to share. Policy around use of gardens should take into consideration:
- A safe place for children to ride. Roads in inner Melbourne are busy and congested. The wide boulevards within parks and gardens made an ideal safe place for children to learn to ride or improve their skills.
- Direct and pleasant routes. In some cases parks and gardens can become barriers to cycling when allowances are not made for cyclists to pass through. Detouring around can add considerable time and distance to a bike journey and roads around gardens often don't cater for cyclists.
Currently the City of Melbourne has a policy that bans cycling in gardens. Gardens in Melbourne that we would like to see bicycle access on designated routes include:
- Carlton Gardens - Canning St bike route ends at the northern end of the gardens and the wide boulevards within the gardens are more attractive to cyclists than the narrow, cluttered and more heavily trafficked footpaths along Nicholson St. Also the Queensberry St bike lanes and the Gertrude St bike lanes both are accessed by cycling through the car park just south of the Exhibition Buildings.
Children allowed to ride in parks
Nov 05 You may notice some temporary signage being erected in Carlton, Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens relating to a Children's Cycling Trial. On 5 July 2005, City of Melbourne Council's Planning and Environment Committee recommended that Council approve a 6-month trial within the Carlton, Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens to permit cycling by children under the age of 12, where accompanied by an adult, providing that all such cyclists obey all other park regulations such as speed limits and relevant signage.
The trial will last for 6 months, beginning on 14 November and observations and questionnaires will be conducted by council staff, including Park Rangers, throughout the trail period. At the conclusion of the trial, Parks and Recreation will compile the results and present them back to the Planning and Environment Committee.
Carlton Gardens Masterplan
Mar 05 The City of Melbourne approved a new Master Plan for the Carlton Gardens that will guide future development and management of the Gardens. The ban on cycling in the gardens was not lifted but a recommendation was made to significantly improve bike route connections along Rathdowne Street and the shared pathway on Nicholson Street to improve the link from Canning Street through Carlton to the CBD.
In Bicycle Network Victoria's submission we equested that the ban on cycling be lifted in the Gardens, more attractive alternative routes developed for commuter cyclists that avoid the Gardens and a management regime introduced to ensure cyclists that use the gardens do so appropriately including at an appropriate speed and giving way to all pedestrians.
Council sought comments on the Draft Masterplan. Bicycle Network Victoria was on the reference committee for the masterplan with other community groups. Despite a ban on cycling in the gardens, the wide boulevards offer an attractive route for many cyclists and we believe that cycling can be managed in the gardens and safe use for all garden users, including cyclists, can be promoted.
We do not support inappropriate behaviour, including fast cycling or cyclists not giving way to pedestrians, on any shared path or area, including in the Gardens. We also ask that commuter routes around the gardens be upgraded; e.g. remove parking from west side of Nicholson St to allow exclusive bike path along east side of gardens and improve Rathdowne St lanes and connection from Canning St to both.
Also Exhibition Street needs to be improved for cyclists so they can access the CBD from the end of the Rathdowne St lanes or future bicycle path.