Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Victorian Cycling Strategy Report Card: April 2010

I have become aware of an update from the government which now lists all the major projects related to cycling which has been completed or is about to commence. Standouts include the upcoming commencement of the operation of the Melbourne Bike Share system in a couple of months. A review of the system will be posted on MBR at that time. The Merri Creek Trail Pipe Bridge at Rushall was also officially opened on April 3, which should make life easier for inner northern suburb cyclists. A NearMap view from February 20 is shown below. You can also select other dates to see the construction.

View Large Map

This report card also reveals some new information. The new footbridge over the Maroondah Highway at Lilydale for the Warburton Rail Trail is set to be constructed in the second half of this year. You should notice improvements being made on the Gardiners Creek Trail around the middle of this year, after the M1 project has been completed for the Monash. The new extension of the Federation Trail is also set to commence construction in June, with the opening from Altona Road to Williamstown Road in early 2011. I just hope there is a bridge or tunnel across the freight railway line. It would be a big disappointment if there was a level bike crossing.

Click here for the report card!

Stay tuned as I will try to post more update and news in the future!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Not too much happening lately...

It seems to me that the cycling projects in my area have now dried up for the time being, which is disappointing because it leaves me nothing to comment about. The last thing to happen in my area was the shared path at Bayswater Station, which is now much better to ride through than before. I know they are still building new bridges on the Merri Creek Trail and the Werribee River Trail, and parts of the Capital City Trail and the Main Yarra Trail are being reconstructed, which is good. I believe the Capital City Trail needs to be minimum 3 metres wide, sealed, and fully grade separated at all major roads. Construction of the new section of the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail seems to have stalled. I now use NearMap to check on the progress of cycling infrastructure construction, as it is such high quality and so up to date (never more than about 1-2 months old, and sometimes as much as 2 weeks behind real time). I hope to post more entries on this blog in the future, but I just thought I would pop something on here to keep things moving along, although very slowly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Burwood Highway Pedestrian Bridge finally open!

Yes, it has finally happened. Last weekend (November 7-8), the Burwood Highway Pedestrian bridge finally opened (or removed) it's gates! After months of welding problems, structural faults, dodgy paint work and who knows how many more problems, it is now open for all pedestrians and cyclists. No longer will you have to wait up to 3 traffic light cycles to get from one side of Burwood Highway to the other. What used to take minutes now takes seconds. Having inspected the bridge, I am very happy with the quality of the finished product. I would just like to see some landscaping around the bridge because the area is pretty ugly in terms of greenery.

Here are a few snapshots of the finished and opened bridge. I have already used one as my new background on the Melbourne Bike Routes Twitter account.

View down one of the ramps

View across the bridge itself

A view of the intersection you will never have to cross at again! How fantastic!

Now we all wait as one more intersection gets bypassed at the Maroondah Highway in Ringwood, which is progressing well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail Realignment - Bayswater Station to begin.

Over at Bayswater Station, cyclists journeys will be made safer by the construction of two sections of new shared path (Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail) through the car park of the station. Currently you have to ride through the car park on the road. This will soon be fixed. Unfortunately, they will not be increasing the width of the path where the bus stops are, but it is an improvement otherwise. Here is the link to the press release which includes a plan of the changes. Besides the new path sections, there will also be minor realignments of roads in the car park, as well as the relocation of lost parking spaces to the southern side of the existing car park. Construction is set to commence August 24, 2009 and is set to be completed in a 10 week timeframe, by November 2009.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My new inititive: Home-made trail directional signs!

First off, I will dust off the cobwebs on this site. While I have still been micro-blogging with Twitter updates (twitter.com/melbbikeroutes), I haven't posted a blog post for over two months. By continuing the twittering, I am still holding up to my promise that this site won't die. As always, there will be some form of activity on this site, either through Blogger or Twitter, at least once every calendar month.

Anyways, I have had a brain wave. I am getting sick of riding on trails and simply seeing no directional signage, so I figured, I should make some of my own! Firstly, I will simply print out black and white signs which are similar in style to plank signs and attach them to fences, posts or any other surface I can find. I will start experimenting with this concept and will report back here on how I have gone.

Feel free to suggest designs, ways to print / mount the signs, where signs are required etc. by leaving a comment.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

UPDATE: Burwood Highway Pedestrian Bridge construction

Internet Explorer users click here

I went for a quick ride around the west side of Knox this afternoon just to check some progress on a few things, and one thing I saw was a mobile electronic road sign notifying motorists the Burwood Highway will be closed at the pedestrian bridge site from 8:00 pm Friday May 29 to 11:00 am Saturday May 30. This full closure will allow for the erection of the pedestrian bridge over Mountain Highway. This is a major milestone which is a long time coming. Also, according to the VicRoads road updates section of their website, construction on the bridge is set to cease on June 19, so if all goes well, we should see the bridge being open before the end of this financial year!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Melbourne Bike Routes is now on Twitter!

I have come up with a solution for my infrequent updates on this blog. I have now set up a Twitter account for this blog. This enables me to post 140 character or less updates, which keeps my news and views short and sweet whilst keeping this blog as active as I possibly can at this present time. Enjoy!
Oh, and I have also removed the poll section of my blog for the time being (it will hopefully be back soon) and have replaced it with Twitter updates, so you have one destination for my updates, either through blogger or twitter!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sorry for the lack of activity

While I hold high importance for this blog, Melbourne Bike Routes will sometimes be inactive for periods of time. As much as I would like to generate and post material on here for Melbourne cyclists to read about, I am becoming increasingly busy with my personal life including work, study and social. Remember if there is something you want to ask me about Melbourne's bicycle network or this site in general, feel free to leave a comment and I will try to follow it up. I try to keep posts to a strict minimum of at least one post per calender month, just to show that this site is still active and will not drift into cyberspace.

I will also try to push some new posts out in the near future. A bit over a month ago, I decided to ride the whole of the Darebin Creek Trail, that is, from the Heidelberg Road bridge, roughing it along the edge of the creek through the missing gap around Bundoora Park, right up to Epping North. I will post about that soon.

A couple of local (for me) projects that are keeping me interested is how the hell is the Burwood Highway Pedestrian Bridge taking forever to build?! At the rate this is being built, the Maroondah Highway one will be finished before this! There will also be a new shared path along Mountain Highway under EastLink on the northern side to link with the EastLink Trail at the entrance to Koomba Park which is currently seeking VicRoads approval and construction should start any day now.

I also hate the disorganisation of the Bicycle Victoria site. Everything is all over the place. They need a 'latest updates' page to highlight which pages new information has been added to. I hate going through individual pages to see if someone might have added some more information about a path or project.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Plan to build cycle path on West Gate Bridge

I have received information that I am quite estatic about. As part of the VicRoads West Gate Bridge Strengthening Project, an "international quality" cycle path will be built on the northern side of the bridge, with the four metre wide path being joined onto the existing deck structure by revelutionary 'tack on' technology which adds virtually no extra stress onto the existing structure. Bicycle Victoria released a statement earlier today stating that "Even though the Victorian Cycling Strategy was a large boost to the cycling movement across the state, we cannot thank the state government and VicRoads enough for this late, but very impresssive gift to the cyclists of Victoria."

The path will only be open to cyclists, with control points at each end where you must obtain a new 'cycle pass' card to allow access. The control points will also be closed during times of high wind. Instead, riders with a 'cycle pass' will receive a free trip on the cycle punt raft across the Yarra River, which will only operate when the bridge cycle path is closed when the path is completed. Along with high unscalable fencing along the whole of the path, it will be impossible to leave the path once on the bridge. The total cost of this project has been estimated at $30 million dollars and should be completed by 2011, along with the strengthening works.

I believe that this project will result in Melbourne being put on every cycle tourist's list right at the very top. Those who ride in events such as "Around the Bay in a Day" relish the opportunity to cycle on the bridge. Being able to ride on it to work or for leisure whenever you want is something totally different altogether.

Monday, March 23, 2009

MAJOR NEWS: Victorian Cycling Strategy released!

After the release of this plan was delayed in Feburary due to the bushfires, Brumby (premier) and Pallas (minister for roads and ports) today jointly released the "Victorian Cycling Strategy" (not the "Victorian Bicycle Plan" name I was using) at some park I could not identify when I saw footage on Ten News!

I have briefly read the plan and have summarised the planned improvements which are only relevant to "Melbourne Bike Routes" If you are looking for regional bike route improvements and other aspects of the plan which are non-route based (such as school education programs etc. etc., you should look at the plan yourself)

Whilst I think the statistics and graphs and tables are good analysis to the current cycling situation in Victoria, like yourself, I am only interested in what they are actually going to do in terms of cycling infrastructure in Melbourne. I will now start my comprehensive list of planned improvements relevant to MBR.

  • Federation Trail extension: Off-road bicycle path from Millers Road, Altona to Williamstown Road, Yarraville.

  • Merri Creek Pipe Bridge – Merri Creek Trail re-alignment path as part of upgrade of pipe bridge by Melbourne Water.

  • Bicycle crossing: At the intersection of Willsmere Road and the Anniversary Trail, Kew.

    Google Street View

  • Gardiners Creek Trail upgrade: Widening and general improvement works between Glenferrie Road and Toorak Road.

  • Fitzroy Street path: Off-road bicycle path between Acland Street to Albert Park, St Kilda.

  • Mount Alexander Road lanes: On-road bicycle lanes at the Shamrock Street/Grice Crescent intersection.

    Google Street View
  • Maribyrnong River Trail extension: Off-road bicycle path along Hyde Street, Somerville Road and Whitehall Street to Footscray Road.

  • Cecil Street lanes upgrade: Upgrade of on-road bicycle lanes along between Albert Road and Whiteman Street, South Melbourne.

  • Maroondah Highway footbridge: Construction of a new bridge over the Maroondah Highway in Lilydale to form an extension of the Lilydale - Warburton Rail Trail from Maroondah Highway to Lilydale Railway Station.

  • York Road traffic lights: Provision of a signalised crossing on the Lilydale-Warburton Rail Tail to provide access across York Road, Mt. Evelyn.

  • Bulleen Road lanes: New on-road bicycle lanes between the Koonung Creek (the creek bridge, not the trail) to Golden Way.
  • 10km radius priority cycle routes: The routes highighted in blue on the map below show routes (both on and off road) which will receive priority attention to help make inner city cycling faster and more comfortable.

  • Federation Trail - Maribyrnong River Trail link: Off-road bicycle path from Williamstown Road to Hyde Street, Yarraville.

  • Balwyn Road facilities: Provide on-road bicycle facilities on Balwyn Road, Balwyn.

  • Fitzroy bicycle priority traffic lights: Installation of bicycle priority signals at selected intersections in Fitzroy.

  • Williamstown - Docklands/CBD link: Connect Williamstown to the Melbourne CBD and Docklands.

  • Inner east route upgrade/extension: Upgrade the cycle route to the east, extending the existing route to Kew/Camberwell North.
    Note: I am not sure what this route actually is. If anyone knows, please leave a comment.
  • Gardiners Creek Trail further upgrades: Further upgrades (suggesting it will occur in sections other than Glenferrie - Toorak Roads as mentioned above) for the trail.

  • Maribyrnong River Trail upgrade: Suggests that it is just a general upgrade of existing sections of trail.

  • North inner city link upgrade: Link and possibly upgrade the link from Queens Parade to Albert Street.

  • Yarra Bend Park / Eastern Freeway link: Link the Chandler Highway to Wellington Street.

  • CBD on-road lanes: Improve bicycle facilities along William Street and Latrobe Street as primary routes into and through the CBD.

  • Inner north - south routes: Improve bicycle facilities on key north-south routes, including Royal Parade, St Georges Road and Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

  • CBD North bike bypass: Create a northern CBD bicycle bypass to the west to connect with the Maribyrnong River Trail.

  • Merri Creek Trail upgrade: Upgrade of the Merri Creek trail around Rushall Station.

  • Capital City Trail / Main Yarra Trail - Melb. Uni. link: Link Melbourne University with the Capital City Trail / Main Yarra Trail in the east.

  • Maribyrnong area links: Provide links outlined in the Maribyrnong Cycling Strategy, possibly including a link between Footscray and Sunshine.

  • Capital City Trail / Main Yarra Trail access upgrade: Improve access to the Capital City Trail on the south bank of the Yarra River near Alexandra Avenue at Yarra Street in South Yarra.

  • Footscray Road improvements: Improve cycling access along Footscray Road to the CBD.

  • Other links improvements: Improve key links in the Prahran area and Eastern suburbs.

  • Albert Street / Elizabeth Street improvements: Improve links in Albert Street and Elizabeth Street in line with works to be undertaken by Melbourne City Council.

  • Diamond Creek Trail extension: Off-road path between Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge stations.

  • Freeway paths: Off-road paths alongside the Frankston Bypass (Peninsula Link) and the Dingley Arterial (between Westall Road Extension and Dandenong Bypass).

  • Cycle route planning website: Development of a cycle route planning website with information about different types of cycle routes in the network and links to public transport. This website may be incorporated in or linked to the State Government’s journey planning website for public transport (Metlink).

  • Public bike hire scheme: This program, provided for under the Victorian Transport Plan, will establish a system for Melbourne based on successful systems in Paris and other parts of Europe. It will promote greater usage of existing cycling infrastructure in central Melbourne, and promote cycling for short trips in and around the CBD. The system will extend the reach of public transport at the destination, as cycling is faster than walking and more flexible than route-based public transport, and it will build on current strategic efforts by the State to develop safer and more accessible cycling infrastructure. The system will exist within central Melbourne providing access to the inner Melbourne cycling network. The proposed first stage will include at least 50 bicycle stations within central Melbourne, spaced approximately 500 m apart, with capacity for at least 600 bicycles at start-up and the option for quick expansion. The state will work in close consultation with the City of Melbourne and intends to issue a Request for Tender in 2009.
    Note: I want to know how they are going to stop people from stealing the bikes!

    UPDATE: I have found more information about this scheme. It should be up and running by 2010 and will offer memberships in the form of either daily, weekly or yearly periods. The first half hour of all trips are free as well with additional fees after that. It looks like you pay a fee to have access to the bikes, then you can ride around for free for half an hour, but if you return a bike to a station after that time, you will pay a fee.

  • Railway station bike cages: 26 bikes in each, with ability to expand, 18 already installed at metro stations, 10 more in future. Then case by case basis afterwards.
There it is folks. Feel free to comment. More posts to come in the future.