City of Stonnington
There is a great need for a North South cycling route through inner Melbourne. The "Sandringham 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 doesn't all have to run on VicTrack land, although it's clear that the State Government needs to make VicTrack land available for usage by the public. Cr Melina Sehr appears to favour the idea - Stonnington Leader - 8 Nov 11 There are plenty of roads adjacent to the railway line that would benefit from midblocks. This would cut back rat running, while allowing cyclists to pass through. This would simultaneously improve local amenity by promoting walkability and cycling in the local community.
Some of the roads are one way but it is not uncommon to utilise contra 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.
Refer to map below.
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.
Footbridge - an anachronism of our time
Sadly a new footbridge built during Nov/Dec 2011 between Osborne St and Arthur St over the rail line actually makes it much more difficult for cyclists to cross the rail line than the old bridge. Previously you could cycle over it but now you can't.
This footbridge was recognised in the Sandringham Rail Trail study (13 MB pdf) as needing improvement and could be part of the trail but the opportunity to improve the crossing has now been completely lost. It's clear that no one has been cognizant of the proposed trail design and all have failed to act - a very sad and unwelcome result. It's probably a VicTrack project but Stonnington Council would have to known of the upcoming works in their area. BBUG has also failed, as it was unaware of the new bridge design. If it knew what was proposed it would certainly have acted. Please keep us informed!
A truely disappointing result for cyclists in Stonnington. This footbridge is 500 metres from the new CBD at the Forrest Hills precinct, with a glass tower close to thirty stories high, complete with the associated traffic congestion. Regardless this footbridge has been evaluated and treated as it would have been back in the 1950s - over 60 years ago. There is no recognition that the world is changing in Stonnington and that new views on mobility have to be considered to keep up with contemporary thinking.
What can be done at this stage?
Council can start work by installing contraflow lanes for cyclists on all the one way streets that are located on the proposed trail route. The roads in the past were two way roads and subsequently changed to one way roads to stop rat running by motorists - there is ample room for contraflow bike lanes. Additionally the roads by the rail line have housing on only one side and consequently the demand for on street car parking is halved. It's clear that off road bidirectional infrastructure could be installed with little difficulty.
Roads can no longer be considered as storage areas for private motor vehicles. In many countries eg Japan, you must have private storage for you vehicle, otherwise you are not entitled to own one. In Singapore its really going to cost you a lot to own a motor vechicle - a "Certificate of Entitlement" is required. Public road space in Australia is now unfortunately far to valuable to allow the storage of private vehicles on Public roads.
Plans for this route have been languishing in filing cabinets around Melbourne for some time. However with the review of the "Public Bicycle Network" during 2009/2010, the route is back on the map and a study was commisioned by VicRoads (speak to South Eastern). The Traffix Group completed its study in Oct 2010. It encourages Stonnington Council to totally take the initiative on its own Council roads under the heading of "Short-Term treatments" - working towards the "Ultimate (Preferred) Treatments" over time, as money and opportunity come into being.
You can download the Sandringham Rail Trail study (13 MB pdf). - what do you think about this report?
The trail continues on the north side of the Yarra River through the Yarra municipality. Yarra Council's "Cremorne & Church St Urban Design Framework - draft - 24 April 2007" states: "74. Develop a generous walking and cycle route along Green Street, connecting south via the South Yarra rail bridge and north via the underpass near East Richmond Station."
The Forrest Hill Structure Plan was adopted by Council on 19 December 2005. The Structure Plan provides a strategic planning framework for the Forrest Hill precinct that is generally bounded by Toorak Road, Chapel Street, Alexandra Avenue and the railway line, South Yarra.
Forrest Hill Precinct Policy 22.17-3 Access It is policy to: Encourage sustainable transport options and provide for improved pedestrian and cyclist access. Improve connectivity with the Yarra River corridor, primarily through improved pedestrian and bicycle connections and crossings.
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.
Train Bridge at Yarra St
The train bridge at Yarra St already incorporates a footbridge. However the footbridge access points are via stairs. Despite having to carry their bikes up and down these stairs, this bridge is already used by cyclists - refer Bicycle Victoria Super Tuesday figures - 2009 & 2010.
Dandenong Road represents a major barrier for cyclists entering or leaving Stonnington in the south. Possible crossing points are discussed below:
Upton Rd bridge
The Upton Rd bridge is the obvious candidate for the "Sandringham Trail" southern crossing of Dandenong Rd. It links into Wellington St (Port Phillip Council) on the south side giving reasonable access to the PBN at this point. On the north side, it links into Union St and the St Kilda Rd bike lanes. Wellington St and Upton Rd could immediately benefit from bicycle lanes. Cyclists should also be excluded from the no righthand turns at the Wellington St/Upton Rd junction (Port Phillip Council). Likewise allow cyclists to continue in a westwardly direction at the Punt Rd/Union St intersection (currently a left turn only to the south) - as per the Council's bicycle strategy - item 13.
Improvements along Wellington St would provide good access to the new St Kilda/CBD path at Albert Park Lake. Tourists using Melbourne's proposed bicycle rental program would have an easy loop fron the CBD to St Kilda - then back via the Sandringham Trail and Chapel St's shopping areas - then the Yarra Trail back to the CBD.
The pedestrian bridge across Dandenong Rd at Hornby St, could 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. Doing so would definately benefit the Destructor Trail, if not 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"
Train line underpass
It seems unlikely that an underground crossing of Dandenong Rd, utilising the train line space, would be feasible.
Major road crossings
It's obvious the route will never be viable without proper traffic signalisation at the appropriate roads in Stonnington eg Alexandra Ave, Toorak Rd, Commercial Rd, High St - with the latter also being on the PBN acting as a feeder.
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).
There are a couple of new projects (2008) that come to mind that are similar to the "Sandringham line project". Noting that the Stonnington section would be about 3km in length. Here we have the 4.7 km O'Hea St route being built right now and also a 3 km path in Maribyrnong.
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
Planning Scheme Review
The Planning and Environmental Act (1987) requires Council to review its Planning Scheme within a year of the adoption of its Council Plan (i.e. by mid 2010). Council's IC015_PlanningSchemeReviewBrochure_Transport.pdf says under the heading "What has changed since the 2003 review: ... Current projects include pedestrian safety improvements at intersections and a shared cycle/walking pathway between Cremorne and Alma Road."
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.