Epsom Road plan revealed

A new pedestrian crossing being installed on Epsom Road in Kensington has raised concern that riders could be put at risk by being forced to merge into fast traffic.

However, plans revealed by the City of Melbourne indicate that bikes will have a marked space at the crossing, and that vehicle speeds should be low due to the installation of a raised platform.

Contractors are expected to be working on the crossing, at the Market Street intersection, for another month or so before the new facility is completed.

In the meantime, riders should exercise caution as the temporary worksite arrangements have created a squeeze point for cars and bikes.

Epsom Road stretches from Moonee Ponds to Kensington and has for many years attracted bike riders, not because it had great facilities, but because it is a quick and direct route.

The section in Kensington between Smithfield Road and Market Street is a good facility with buffered bike lanes and no car parking, but it is uphill, which means motor traffic is generally fast relative to bike speed.

This is what made riders fearful of what they might have been facing at the new crossing heading up the hill if they had to merge with traffic.

The new pedestrian crossing has narrowed the intersection on that side of the road, however the bike lane will continue up to the crossing.

At the crossing the car lane will be 2.8 metres wide, leaving the bikes with one metre.

This is narrow and usually would not be acceptable, but the City of Melbourne says the raised platform at the intersection will slow vehicles at that point.

An additional issue is that the width of Epsom Road alters on the other side of the intersection towards Macaulay Road, so the kerb outstanding at the now narrow crossing lines up with the other side of the intersection.

Fortunately this arrangement will work well for riders heading in the opposite direction, retaining a straight-through bike lane adjacent to the curb.

Following the completion of the project, the City of Melbourne has undertaken to monitor safety closely and says it will modify the design if required.

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