Five dangerous road crossings on St Georges Road are to be reopened soon, putting bikes riders and tram travellers at risk.
But it could have been worse: both bikes and trams are to be given priority at these crossings, so cars will be required to give way to bikes and trams using the centre corridor.
If configured appropriately such a crossing may mitigate some of the risks posed by motor traffic.
The crossings have been closed during Melbourne Water’s pipeline project, and it was hoped that some at least would remain closed as they were a recognised safety hazard.
Plans were prepared that would have seen some of the crossings closed, and others possibly improved and signalised.
But with an election looming, neither the ALP nor the Greens were interested pushing plans that might have put the safety of bike riders or tram travellers ahead of the convenience of pampered drivers in the local neighbourhood.
Victorian Minister for Road Safety Luke Donnellan has claimed community support for re-opening all five contentious crossings of the re-established St Georges Road shared path.
Community support for dangerous intersections apparently takes precedence over his statutory responsibilities to provide safe roads for the community. Acknowledging the risks to bikes riders and tram users posed by the crossings, the Minister Donnellan announced three measures:
- Safety will be improved at the reopened median crossings with raised and textured pavement to improve visibility.
- New line markings and signs will ensure cars give way to bicycles and trams and some vegetation will be removed to improve sight lines.
- $50,000 will be put towards comprehensive safety review of the corridor between Miller Street and Merri Parade.
The practice of giving important bike routes priorities at road crossings is taking hold, and new designs are emerging that will make it difficult for drivers to simply barge through such crossings.
Bicycle Network will work to ensure that these priorities that the Minister has promised are not just window dressing, and that bikes have right of way at these crossings each and every time.