St Kilda Road is one of Melbourne’s most loved boulevards, but right now it is a dooring hotspot with poor separation between cars and bikes.
St Kilda Road is a main thoroughfare connecting Melbourne’s southern suburbs to the CBD. It should be a place for people, but it’s currently choked with traffic and unsafe for people who walk or ride bikes.
- It is one of the busiest bike routes – more than 3,000 bike riders travel down St Kilda Road each day. They are all at risk.
- More car doorings happen on St Kilda Road than any other place in Victoria.
- Almost 40% of all crashes on St Kilda Road are caused by car doors being flung open into the path of bike riders.
- It is taking too long to fix. The State Government has taken years to table a proposal and local councils have knocked back ideas.
St Kilda Road in its current form is an unacceptable risk that squeezes bikes in between parked cars and heavy motor traffic.
People who ride bikes on St Kilda Road need space
In 2007, the City of Melbourne released a master plan for St Kilda Road that featured Copenhagen-style separated bike lanes along the length of the boulevard. The plan was put to public consultation but it was not supported by the State Government.
In the years that followed, a number of small improvements were made to St Kilda Road, including a stretch of separated bike lane between Princes Bridge and Linlithgow Avenue southbound in 2013.
There was a major revival of the plan in 2014 when the City of Port Phillip released a feasibility study that proved there would be major benefits flowing from the project
Progress then stalled and separated lanes were not built along the length of St Kilda Road.
Then in August 2015 Roads Minister Donnellan launched a $305,000 study to investigate options for separated bike lanes on the street. It looked like a goer at last.
Bicycle Network reignited its St Kilda Road campaign for separated lanes and hit the streets to unite the community. Bike riders showed their support on social media using #SpacetoRide.
A proposal for protected bike lanes was presented to key Victorian transport decision makers at a roundtable meeting held by Bicycle Network.
Survey results from bike riders on St Kilda Road found that almost 70% of people feel unsafe on the boulevard.
The RACV confirmed their support for a safer St Kilda Road with a proper bike lane solution and called for the removal of on-street parking.
Local bike rider David made an impassioned plea for action to be taken after being doored.
VicRoads encouraged people who ride on St Kilda Road to put forward potential safety solutions as part of their St Kilda Road Safety Improvement Study
VicRoads released draft plans for separated, copenhagen-style, bike lanes in the centre of St Kilda Road.
The central road option was finally decided upon because it removed the risk of driveway collisions, separated bikes from left-tuning motor traffic, improved safety at tram stops, reduced risk for pedestrians crossing the street, and recognised that much of the traffic turned left off St Kilda Road rather than travelled the entire length of the Boulevard.
The plans were rubbished by Port Phillip Council who thought they were dangerous. Premier Daniel Andrews then said plans would not go ahead, before going quiet.
Melbourne Metro releases plans for the new Domain Station that includes the wrong, now-abandoned, curb-side bike lane infrastructure.
Due to the Andrews Government dilly-dallying over the development of the St Kilda Road plans, Melbourne Metro Tunnel, faced with a looming deadline, was forced to fall back on the earlier, rejected concept.
Build separated and protected bike lanes on St Kilda Road
There are a number of ways that St Kilda Road can be fixed and separated bike lanes installed. Initial plans from the City of Melbourne were for Copenhagen-style lanes on the side of the road, while more recent plans from VicRoads had bike lanes in the centre of the road.
It is vital that the final solution separates bikes from cars, property entries, side streets and laneways. Mid-block median cut-throughs that allow drivers to switch between service lanes and centre lanes must be addressed.
St Kilda Road needs attractive, low risk facilities that the whole community can benefit from.
Whatever the final solution it must stop the risk of doorings and it must happen quickly.
Wrong lane, go back UPDATE, Nov 2017
Alarm bells are ringing following the release of draft plans for the new Domain Station that show the wrong bike lane infrastructure through the precinct.
St Kilda Road was due to be upgraded soon with new, safe and streamlined bike infrastructure along the road’s centre section rather than in the service lanes.
But the draft plans show an earlier—now abandoned—concept of separated kerbside bike lanes adjacent to the footpath.
This plan was dropped earlier in the year as unsafe because of the high number of driveways that cut across the path of bike riders.
The heightened risk of collisions that resulted from this initial plan defeated the entire purpose of building the lanes on what was a crash-prone street.
Now, bizarrely, the draft station plans show bike lanes that likely will never be built, or if they are, won’t connect to the new centre corridor bike lane.
How could a screw-up like this happen?
With the Andrews Government spending an eternity on the St Kilda Road plans, Melbourne Metro, facing a looming deadline, was forced to fall back on the earlier, rejected concept.
But there is some good news. Melbourne Metro have said their designs can accommodate the centre lane option if it is adopted by the government.
There’s now just a three-week window to get this problem sorted. The plans are out for public comment until Friday, 15 December.
If Melbourne Metro can get approval to use the centrally located bikes lanes before it finalises its plans, and has it signed off by the Minister for Planning, then there will be no stopping the early construction of the proposed central bike lanes from Southbank through to St Kilda Junction.
And millions of dollars of taxpayers money could be saved in the process by preventing the lanes being built twice.
Alternatively, riders could be stuck on the current, poor standard infrastructure for the next five years, with all the crash risk that entails.
TAKE ACTION – GIVE YOUR FEEDBACK BEFORE FRIDAY 15 DECEMBER
Make it clear in your feedback that the only acceptable option is the centrally located bike lanes through the precinct so that they can be linked to the future project for the whole of St Kilda Road.
The Draft Precinct Plan is here – go to page 22, section 22.214.171.124 Bicycle access
Give feedback on draft precinct plans
Emphasize that centrally located bike lanes through the precinct are the only acceptable option.FEEDBACK
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