Gardiners Creek Trail - two problems

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Gardiners Creek Trail:

Kooyongkoot Rd to the Yarra Trail

A couple of problems !!!

What's the first problem?

The Gardiners Creek Trail between Glenferrie Rd and the Yarra Trail runs along a gantry that hangs underneath the M1. It's too narrow. The 7am to 9am March 2010 Super Tuesday 2 hr count period showed that 1032 riders used this path. That's one entering the gantry every 7 seconds.

The path is also used by many walkers and joggers to access the parklands on the west side of the Yarra River. The gantry is one kilometre long. For a walker averaging 5 kph they will be passed by over one hundred cyclists. People find that intimidating.

The path is far too narrow for the traffic it is subjected to. The standard Dutch model would enforce this path to be 4 metres wide without pedestrians. Here in Oz the best we can do for pedestrians and cyclists combined are 3 metre wide paths max. This current path is 2.5 metres with no "shy" zones either side - which are typically 300 mm on a footbridge.

A solution?

Build a second wider gantry. With a second gantry, the two different gantries could be used in two different ways:

  • 1) each gantry is made one way only - ie inbound and outbound.
  • 2) one gantry is assigned to pedestrians and one gantry is assigned to cyclists

Another possibility is to build a totally new ultra wide gantry.

Is there support for this proposal?

VicRoads has been happy enough to widen the M1. It has also spent a considerable amount of money reinforcing the structure with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer wrapping, so it can handle the larger trucks - up to 68 tons - now found on our roads. However not a cent has spent on this pathway, except the occasional maintenance when requested to do so. Improving this pathway is well supported by the "Victorian Cycling Strategy" - Mar 2009.

Questions arising

Who is responsible for the existing gantry? Answer - VicRoads. Would the new gantry be on the south side or the north side of the existing gantry? There is more space on the north side but this may complicate the gantry entry/exits?

What's the second problem?

At Glenferrie Rd, the Gardiners Creek Trail loops from the north side of the M1 to the south side, making use of the footpath on the east side of Glenferrie Rd. Some 900 or so riders traversed this section in the 7am to 9am March 2010 Super Tuesday 2 hr count period.

At the nearby Kooyong Station each new train arrival releases large groups of pedestrians who compete with cyclists for the same footpath space as they walk up to the Hawthorn campus of Melbourne University. Other pedestrians include the numerous students making their way to the nearby Scotch College and St Kevins - whether that be by train, by bike or being dropped off by car.

The path is just too narrow for the large amount of traffic at this point. Additionally the street furniture on the footpath acts as a serious set of obstacles, making it much more difficult to negotiate the path successfully. This same section includes a pedestrian crossing. When traffic is stopped at the crossing, riders tend to ride across the pedestrian crossing, rather than using the slightly more indirect road underpass and the busy footpath.

The problem is increased substantially when the Kooyong Tennis Courts are holding events. The HA Smith Reserve becomes a temporary carpark and tennis goers, who are generally nor familiar with the area, are in continual conflict with cyclists as they make their way to and from the courts.

A local path user states the case for improvements: Stonnington Leader 20 April 2010, page1

A solution?

Build a footbridge across Gardiners Creek on the east side of Glenferrie Rd. The bridge would be angled NE to SW across the creek, to provide a smooth flow for cyclists. The footbridge would link directly to the Glenferrie Rd underpass on the south side of the creek.

Is their support for this proposal?

This bridge is incorporated into Boroondara Council's plan for the redevelopment of the HA Smith Reserve. In 2010 Council did a feasibility study into the project and associated costings.

Nov 2010 - Labor supports proposal

A Labor Government would finance the proposed footbridge - Progress Leader 23 Nov 2010, page9 - as candidates make committments pre the November State election.

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