In a bizarre decision after a tumultuous council meeting debate the City of Port Phillip will ask the Department of Transport to remove some of the recently installed pop-up bike lane facilities in the municipality.
The pop-up facilities were installed by the DoT with the cooperation of the City of Port Phillip, and paid for by DoT.
Like all of Melbourne’s pop-ups, they were supposed to be left in place until they were evaluated, and then, if successful they could be made permanent, or they could be modified, or in the case of not meeting the desired outcome, would be removed.
Like all bike projects there were community critics, and some of the criticism may well have been validated by the evaluation process.
But now some of the facilities may be coming out regardless.
The councilil resolution states that it will:
"Write to DoT and requests that they immediately implement the recommendations in the report with regards to the removal of the Pop-Up Bike Lane treatments. Including all speed humps, bollards, concrete blocks, and yellow lines at those locations and also in Westbury Street, St Kilda East and the intersection of Brighton Rd with Dickens Street. Specifically, Council requests DoT to remove the following treatments:
- Marine Parade Kerb Separated Bicycle Lanes in consultation with Council
- Marine Parade/intersection with Wordsworth Street, Thackeray Street, Meredith Street, Marine Ave.
- Richardson Street/Withers Street
- Deakin Street/Loch Street/York Street
- Lyons Street/Bridge Street/Esplanade West McGregor Street/Park Road & Page Street
- Reinstate Brighton Road and Dickens Street intersection similar to neighbouring roads at Hennessy Ave and Milton Street.”
It is a relief that more than 30 km of other pop-up initiatives that some councillors wanted removed is safe for now.
Just how this reversal of an earlier agreement will be managed is unclear at this point.
Certainly these are streets that deserve safer bike facilities, and riders and residents alike would benefit from such improvements.
And presumably the City of Port Phillip had planned to eventually install better bike facilities in some of these same streets.
Could some of these facilities simply be adapted, using materials and colours that meet the aesthetic standards of local residents?
It seems wasteful that DoT has to remove everything now, simply to have the council return in future years and pay for bike facilities all over again.
One thing is sure, in the long run there are not going to be fewer bike facilities in Port Phillip or any other Melbourne municipality.
Our roads are saturated with traffic now and there will never be more capacity for cars on our streets.
Port Phillip has large numbers of residents who would ride bike if it had the proper facilities.
The council and the DoT has a responsibility to minimise the wreckage that could potentially result from this resolution.
The council statement can be downloaded here.