Friday, November 25, 2005

Sydney falls behind Melbourne yet again! and Cyclists demonstrate their Rights to our Streets

From the Melbourne Herald Sun news that 'Copenhagen' style bike lanes are being proposed. IE bike lanes where physical barriers are placed between bike lanes and traffic - unlike the CCT bike lanes blogged earlier.,5481,17308681,00.html

Euro-style plan for bicycle city John Ferguson 21nov05

BICYCLE super-stations and key changes to traffic flows are part of a controversial $10 million plan to bring European-style commuting to Melbourne.Riders will be able to park, shower and even drink coffee at cafes attached to several major bike stations dotted across the city.
Melbourne City Council is also backing sweeping changes to bike paths to make commuting safer.
Councillor Peter Clarke wants expanded a push to create Copenhagen-style bike paths into the CBD.
These paths involve placing physical barriers between riders and motor vehicles.
Parked cars can be shifted further into the roadway to enable bikes to travel protected, next to the gutter.
This option will alter traffic flows in some areas, with the trade-off being increased safety to riders and pedestrians.
Cr Clarke said a key part of his vision involved building several bike super-stations where riders could shower, store their bike and even drink coffee.
Areas that could be used for the super-stations include the Docklands, the vaults under Federation Square, the city baths and in the parliamentary precinct.
"You could have a proper shower, treat these places like a small lounge," Cr Clarke said.
He said the strategy -- which would require initial funding of $2 million a year -- was not anti-car.
"Far from it. It's not about impeding vehicles, it's about providing a viable alternative," Cr Clarke said.
Thousands of cyclists commute to the city each day but rising numbers of motor vehicles throughout Melbourne are making the trips increasingly perilous.
The City of Melbourne has already supported a limited trial of a safer bike path, between Melbourne University and RMIT.
But Cr Clarke has outlined up to 12 major bike routes into the city that he believes need further attention.
St Kilda Rd is one of the key roads that feeds cyclists into the streets of the CBD.
He described commuting along Flinders St as being particularly dangerous for cyclists.
Lord Mayor John So is also backing the new deal for cyclists, saying the idea of super-stations was gleaned from Copenhagen.
Cr So said that cycling was an essential part of the council's transport strategy.
The council was eager to considerably increase bicycle use in the city.
"I don't see why the Copenhagen model can't be adopted in Melbourne," he said.
In Copenhagen, visitors or residents are also able to take part in a free bike exchange where they pay a small price to borrow a bike, with the fee refunded when the bike is returned.
Bicycle Victoria's Sean Pinan said for a relatively small investment, commuters could be encouraged to ride if the facilities were user-friendly.
BV has backed the use of the Government's controversial congestion tax to help pay for the $15 million it believes is needed to implement a rider-friendly strategy for the CBD.
Cr Clarke said the tax had made no difference to city congestion.
"This is about dealing with the problem, not taxing people," he said.

Meanwhile tonight on Park Street outside Town Hall hundreds of cyclists stretching from George ST to Hyde Park demonstrated their determination to be seen and heard on our roads as equal users. I arrived out front too late to get a good picture of the two wheeled mass but did witness the empty STA bus that tried to push through the cyclists and was abruptly halted by the cyclist police shown.

Earlier in the day I walked with the Lord Mayor through the CBD to a meeting and we spotted a law abiding cycle courier with the extended long frame and rack that allows him to compete with motor vehicle bookings. I pointed out to the Lord Mayor that the cyclist courier represented one less courier van or truck running around the CBD and clogging up the cities arteries and damaging the envoronment. A very CBD sustainable alternative. With the World Bike Courier Championships in Sydney late next year and over 300 international competitors and their supporters converging on Sydney and Olympic Park in heated couirer competitions, I have asked Council to sponsor the traditional welcome breakfast at the home of bike couriers - Martin Place and to work with the bike couriers to encourage responsible riding in our city. We can then move on to the motorised couriers, taxi and bus drivers.

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