The first concepts for the design of a swarth of suburban road upgrades in Melbourne’s north and south are starting to emerge, and they are deflating.
When announced earlier in the year the government was proud to trumpet the bike facilities that would be delivered with most of these arterial upgrades.
Some $4 billion will be spent on boosting the capacity of these roads across low-density suburban Melbourne, if we also include the Western Roads Upgrade that was announced earlier and is already underway.
Citizens who don’t want to opt in to the sedentary lifestyle, and want to choose a bike for transport, rightly expect these projects to also deliver quality bike routes.
But will the newly created Major Road Projects Authority (MRPA) deliver a bike network up to contemporary standards, or will we get something that could have been built in the 1980s?
Exhibit A: Fitzsimons Lane.
As shown in the illustration, this intersection has no provision for people on bikes.
That might seem acceptable given that this is not a major bike transport route.
However as anyone who rides a bike in the north east knows, and Strava will confirm, this is a very busy route for roadies.
Large numbers use this intersection as part of the Mt Pleasant loop, and connecting though to the Kinglake ride.
But this intersection concept would be almost unusable for bikes.
On the surface it looks like no consideration whatever was given to understanding and resolving how bike riders would use this intersection.
We have had a brief glance though some of the other concepts for the arterial upgrades in the south and the north and again see little evidence that bikes are being treated in accord with what government policy requires.
We hope that this is just the result of a rushed, pre-election environment, and a new agency still finding its feet.
Please take a little time to make some comments, point out where and what you would like to see.
In the meantime, we will be working with the state government and offering to help them ensure that these upgrades contain bike infrastructure that the community will be proud to ride on.