Bicycle lanes: ‘lack of leadership inhibits urban planning’

Interest groups who shout the loudest should not always get their way, says one public transport expert, as a public consultation begins on Melbourne’s streets. When bicycle lanes are proposed, a lack of strategic guidance leaves public servants without clear processes for resolving conflict.

State governments are failing to provide the leadership necessary to resolve conflict between interest groups when it comes to urban planning changes such as the construction of bicycle lanes, says University of Melbourne lecturer Dr John Stone.

His comments come as the City of Melbourne launches a public consultation process, allowing residents to pinpoint places needing improvement on a map, to inform the next four-year Council Bicycle Plan currently in development. The final phase of the Bike Plan 2012-16 will see the council build 6 kilometres of bike lanes to cope with a steep rise in cyclists in the city.

Bicycles now make up 17% of vehicles travelling into the CBD each morning — almost double the number from 2008. “One of the major reasons for that is people feel safe and part of that is the bicycle lane network,” said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle. “On some routes now you’re getting 28 per cent of journeys by bicycle.” “Each time a piece of infrastructure goes in, it tends to be those who can shout loudest who get their way. For people in the public service that must be frustrating.”

But while the council is showing leadership within its own small, albeit important, patch, the Victorian government has failed to provide direction on its transport priorities, thinks Stone. “The City of Melbourne is going about this in a sensible way,” he told The Mandarin.

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  • Tom Moloney

    Have to agree Melb cycling advocates are all over the place w.r.t.what is regarded as best infrastructure. Why bike lanes built on Albert st are referred to as “Copenhagen-style” staggers me. One would be struggling to find such examples in Copenhagen which we classify this way. Neither vertical kerbs nor white bollards in a sea of white paint on the extremities of cycle lanes are to be found.