City of Stonnington
There is a great need for a local North South cycling route through Prahran. The "Destructor Trail" is designed to meet that need. We can all draw lines on maps but this route is possible. However, it would require the committment of Stonnington Council. We call on the Council to provide that commitment.
This trail would take some of the load off the Chapel St bicycle lanes - one of the most dangerous places to cycle in Melbourne. There is obviously interest in making improvements in Chapel St, including banning cars. Read about it in the Stonnington Leader - 7 Jul 2008.
The idea is to provide a legible route that is optimised for cycling by improving the on and off road treatments along the route. The proposed path would improve local amenity by promoting walkability and cycling in the local community. Council documents (submission to the Select Committee on Public Land Development 2008) show a proposed route from the old destructor in Cromwell Crescent to Dandenong Rd via Surrey Rd, Bendigo St and Hornby St.
A fairly detailed route for the "Destructor Trail" is shown on the map below. The Sandringham Trail is also shown.
Destructor Trail details
Note that VicRoads CrashStats show that the intersection of Cromwell Rd and Toorak Rd is the most dangerous intersection in Stonnington for cyclists. Clearly the Cromwell Rd route and parallel roads are already well used and need safety improvements. This is further evidenced by Bicycle Victoria's 2007 "Super Tuesday" counts, that show substantial numbers of cyclists on these routes.
The destructor trail could continue from Cromwell Rd to Surrey Rd North, then across Toorak Rd to Rockley Park. Surrey Rd North could also be used. Clara St is another and probably a better option. On the north side of Toorak Rd: Time Lane, then Tivoli Rd, Victoria Trce, River St to Alexandria Pde and the Yarra Trail via the traffic lights at Chapel St. Initially Rockley Rd looks promising, except it has a very large set of stairs, at its north end. Time Lane may involve property issues. The pedestrain crossing west of the library could be moved to facilitate the crossing of Toorak Rd.
The trail would intersect with the path to Hawksburn Station and also provide good access to the Greville St area via Flying Duck Park at King St/Bangs St/Bendigo St/Murray St. A link across Flying Duck Park could link Bangs St with Bendigo St - items 10 & 14 in SCC's Bicycle Strategy.
Some of the crossings at Toorak Rd, Malvern Rd & High St could be "Vancouver style" ie a pedestrain crossing that can be initiated by cyclists utilising a button mounted in a position close to the road edge. This has the advantage of enhancing the route for cyclists but not for motorists. The kerb standout at High St on the south side should have a bicycle passthrough installed straight away.
Some of the roads are one way eg Surrey Rd but is not uncommon to utilise counter flow treatments for cyclists in these cases - another example. If bicycle lanes cannot be fitted then sharrows could be used to indicate this is a bicycle path.
Latest news 2012
We have written to SCC suggesting Council consider the installation of contraflow lanes - Contraflow lanes in Stonnington; a SBUG submission 2012. SCC has many one way streets that could benefit from improved permability for bike riders.
The old Destructor site
Closure of the Council's waste management depot leaves open the possibility of a housing development with an associated park. Any designs for the area should include cycling on this popular route. Read about Council's proposed Surrey Park.
The pedestrian bridge across Dandenong Rd at Hornby St, should be altered to use ramps instead of stairs, allowing the trail to link to Alma Park and the bicycle lanes further south on Alma rd.
The Destructor trail meshs well with the existing pedestrian overpass. It also matches Port Philip Council's bicycle strategy that shows a path through Alma Park, heading to the south to meet with the lanes on Alma Rd. Both paths fit with the existing routes to the St Kilda Rd bicycle lanes, accessed by Albert St or Union St near Windsor Station and the bridge from Wellington St to Upton Rd - see also the Sandringham Trail.
Chapel Vision documentation: "Enhanced pedestrian/cycle linkages to Presentation College & Dandenong Rd footbridge."
Traffic Engineering Manual Volume 1 - Traffic Management, Oct 2001 Ed 3 Rev A Ch 4 - Pedestrian Facilities
4.6 Grade separation "To give equal access for all users it is generally necessay to use ramps and not stairs to access the overpass"
The suggested route in Stonnington can be seen in the Council's 2030 plans for the Chapel St area - see Council's "Chapel Vision". Also in: Bicycle Victoria (2008), Bicycle Victoria’s Review of the Priority Bike Route Network for IMAP, January 2008, p.19. Adopted by IMAP February 2008.
Got the vision; so now is the time to act.
The route makes good sense when one considers the demands on Chapel Street and the very high level of cyclist crashes along this road. There appears to be no downside for Chapel Street retailers.
There are similar routes already in place in Melbourne, such as the Upfield Bike path (600 to 700 cyclist per day - VicRoads data, 2008). The Canning St bike route is another good example (1800 to 2000 cyclists per day - VicRoads data, 2008).
Stonnington Council could lead the way with one of Australia's first "bicycle roads": Cars are permitted to use the street as well, but they are limited to 30km/hr (or less) and must yield to cyclists and give special consideration to avoid endangering them. Already there are calls for blanket speed zones of 40 kph and even 30 kph, especially in densely urbanised areas.
- lightblue - "Sandringham Trail" route shown as a rough outline
- mauve - proposed Destructor Trail route
- pink - proposed Murrumbeena Trail route
- green - existing off road trails
- blue - existing on road trails
Local Planning Policy Framework
Stonnington Council's planning scheme: 21.05 INFRASTRUCTURE, 21.05-1 Transport, Key Issues:
"Better use of the public transport system needs to be encouraged, and provision for pedestrians and cyclists needs to be improved."
State Planning Policy Framework
Stonnington Council is obliged to consider Melbourne 2030 in the normal course of assessing planning applications. As part of Melbourne 2030 the inclusion of a new Clause 12 into the State Section of the Planning Scheme has taken place.
Clause 12 includes the following objectives:
- Clause 12.01 - to facilitate sustainable development that takes full advantage of existing settlement patterns, and investment in transport and communication, water and sewerage and social facilities.
- Clause 12.02 - to locate metropolitan growth close to transport corridors and services and provide efficient and effective infrastructure to create benefits for sustainability while protecting primary production, major sources of raw materials and valued environmental areas.
- Clause 12.03 - to develop Metropolitan Melbourne and the surrounding regional cities as a network of cities to provide a choice of places to live, set up business and find a job.
- Clause 12.04 - to create a strong and innovative economy.
- Clause 12.05 - to create urban environments that are of better quality, safer and more functional, provide more open space and an easily recognisable sense of place and cultural identity.
- Clause 12.06 - to provide fairer access to and distribution of social and cultural infrastructure.
- Clause 12.07 - to minimise impacts on the environment to create a sustainable path for future growth and development.
- Clause 12.08 - to create a more sustainable transport system by integrating land use and transport.
The much vaunted bicycle lanes on Chapel St
It was a struggle to have these lanes agreed to by Council. Four years later (2008) they are fading into oblivion. They need to be repainted as soon as possible with decent steadfast paint. More than likely a VicRoads responsibility but Stonnington Council should advocate for it. Gutter trays with more than one row of bluestone pitchers should be reduced to one - improve cycling safety - maintain heritage - refer Vic Roads Motorcycle Notes No 4 - Road Markings and Slippery Surfaces. Safe alternative routes to Chapel St need to be implemented - see also the Sandringham Trail.