Petition calls for protected bike lane route from Kew to Carlton
An inner-city resident has launched a petition advocating for the installation of protected bike lanes spanning from Kew to Carlton that aims to address growing concerns of safety.
The change.org petition, which has attracted more than 500 signatures in its first week of being launched, is advocating for protected kerbside bike lanes from Johnston St, Kew, through to Abbotsford and Collingwood before ending at Lygon St, Carlton.
It also calls for wider footpaths for pedestrians, lowering vehicle speed limits, adding more greenery to the street landscapes, and installing more bike hoops.
Head petitioner and Fitzroy resident Harrison Watt said the proposal would significantly improve safety and reduce vehicle traffic.
“Protected bike lanes for Melbourne have been on my mind for a long time. As a former resident of Copenhagen, Denmark, I know how prioritising active transport can make a city so much more liveable, equitable and accessible,” Mr Watt told Inner City News.
“We also need to decarbonise our transport if we are to meet our emissions reduction targets, and cycling is a key enabler of this. It’s why countries like France are investing €2 billion ($3.3 billion AUD) to expand cycling infrastructure and the mayor of Paris has the aim of making the city 100 per cent cyclable.”
Those in support of the petition said while Johnston St’s speed limit had been reduced to 40km/h, the road “can be chaotic” and they “never felt safe riding there” while another said bus lanes “are even unsafe and then they disappear, as do the limited painted bike lanes”.
Johnston St in Kew is flagged under the state government’s Strategic Cycling Corridor 2020, and in the Principal Bicycle Network, which outlines important routes for cycling and links up destinations including “metropolitan activity centres”, among which Lygon St is listed.
Victorian Greens MP for Melbourne Ellen Sandell said she was most happy to present the petition to Parliament for consideration on October 19.
“Johnston St is an area where people who ride bikes feel really unsafe – and there’s a high risk of accidents with cars or ‘car doorings’,” she said.
“The Labor Government hasn’t done anything to make this stretch of road safe for people who ride bikes. It’s time the state government made this road safer for people who ride bikes.”
Research fellow at Victoria University Dr John Symons, whose work includes the economics of road safety interventions, as well as advising United Nations bodies, said he believed the petition’s proposal “makes a lot of sense”.
“It is one of the routes RACV proposed in 2019 and would be expected to generate a significant amount of usage considering it is connecting Melbourne University and the inner eastern suburbs where presumably many students would live. Consequently, it would be well worthwhile,” he said.
“It would undoubtedly generate many health, economic and climate benefits with indicative values easily calculated due to existing models for health, economic and climate benefits.”
City of Melbourne councillor pro-cycling advocate Rohan Leppert said the proposal in the petition was a “terrific initiative”, as it was “good for safety, good for community and good for the local economy”.
“I hope it generates support between Melbourne and Yarra Councils and, most critically, the state government,” he said.
“The City of Melbourne has tentatively scheduled Elgin St’s physically separated bike lanes for construction in financial year 2024-25 but, of course, the program is experiencing a few delays at the moment. The biggest delays come from the state government withholding approval.”
Cr Leppert added an inner-city network of safe cycling routes “work best when they’re joined up” and the “community-led proposal to call on the state government to come to the party is just what is needed”.
According to the City of Melbourne’s Transport Strategy 2030, a network of safe lanes would be delivered beginning with the “highest-priority places and integrated with the Victorian Government’s Strategic Cycling Corridors”.
“In strategically important locations, on-street parking and traffic lane capacity reductions may be needed,” it said. •
To support the petition, click here.
Caption: Fitzroy resident Harrison Watt has launched a petition calling for a safer bike route in the inner city. Photo: Marcela Lehocka.