In a puzzling decision the plan to place pop-up bike lanes on Kerferd Road in Albert Park has been withdrawn by the Department of Transport.
The suite of 40 km pop-up initiatives proposed across Port Phillip was to include bike lane treatments on Kerferd Road.
The initiatives, though temporary, would have greatly assisted in the future development of appropriate permanent treatments for what will be an important active transport connection.
Kerferd Road is a broad boulevard through the beach-side suburb that has way too much motor vehicle capacity than it will ever need, and plenty of road space for high quality bike infrastructure, something the City of Port Phillip has long intended.
Furthermore, it is the route of the Shrine to Sea walking and cycling path project that is well into development, has initial funding, and has until now had strong support from the local MP, Martin Foley.
And just as critically, the route is also mapped as a Strategic Cycling Corridor (SCC) in the government’s plan for Melbourne’s arterial bike facility network.
The SCC runs from the Albert Park Beach to the future new Metro underground station at Domain, which is just a few years from being operational.
The government surely intends for the route to be open by then.
So, what is the hold up?
"Following extensive community consultation and based on the feedback received, we are withdrawing our proposed designs for the pop-up bike lanes on Kerferd Road," the DoT has stated.
"This means we will no longer make any changes to Kerferd Road as part of the Pop-up Bike Lanes Program.”
And what was the feedback received that blocked all of the policy momentum behind the project. Must have been serious, right?
Well, included among the objections to the proposed kerbside, parking protected lanes were: When I wash my car I would have to run my hose across the bike lane; and, when charging my electric car I would have to run my power cord across the bike lane.
If these are the sort of pathetic excuses that can stall an important transport project, the government—and the residents—are in bigger trouble than they realise.
Bike transport is no longer discretionary. A planned bike route not something you decide not to proceed with if a few people start squawking to the local member via Facebook.
The Kerford and Albert Road corridor has been years in the planning and is part of multiple strategies which have been subject to much review and consultation.
It is inevitable that it will go ahead and most likely will be ready for the opening of the new station.
It is incumbent of the government to proceed swiftly, efficiently and with singular purpose.
Martin Foley, as Minister for Health and the local member of Parliament, should know better than most just how important healthy active transport is for his community.
Write to Minister Foley now and politely suggest he use his influence to restart the Kerferd Road pop-pop initiative and work with the community and bike riders to these and future plans for the route ensure the the corridor is in full operation for when the new Metro station and transport interchange is opened.
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