Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gallery: More new Blind Creek Trail directional signage

When you ride a trail, and notice only some of it has new signage? Unwillingly wait a month and ride it again! It looks like signage installation by Knox Council is complete for the trail now with the exception of at Manuka Drive east of Scoresby Road. Let's get on with it:

This was the sign which was under construction earlier. Looks odd because the destination plank is in the wrong spot.

New signage at Stud Road on the eastern side where the trail changes to the dodgy footpath. Only improvement here would be to have installed the sign on abit of an angle to be perpendicular with the path.
Sign near the Knox Council Depot and the Skate Park.

 Sign where the Lewis Park shared path meets the Blind Creek Trail near Lewis Road. The position of the sign is not great but line markings help to ensure users stay on the right trail.
Sign on the eastern side of Lewis Road. Again, line marking saves the rider from heading the wrong way, as the left arrows are pointing towards Lewis Road instead of the underpass under Lewis Road.
Sign on the west side of Scoresby Road. As I expected, no mention of the Scoresby Road Trail.
Sign on the east side of Scoresby Road.

Signs at Rankin Road in Ferntree Gully. An improvement here would be to remove the metal fence and place the sign in its place as a barrier. Serves the same purpose of slowing down cyclists before the road.

Signs at Wattleview Road in Ferntree Gully. Perfect installation of the signs here.
Sign west of Dorset Road.

Sign east of Dorset Road.

Sign at the turn-off of the short shared path to Francis Crescent at the Tim Neville Arboretum.
Bind Creek Trail sign at the intersection of the Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail. No problem with this sign.
THIS sign I do have a problem with. For some unknown reason, this sign has incorrectly been given the "Blind Creek Trail" sign when it should say "Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail".

In conclusion to this review of the signage, I am going to be voicing my concerns to the Knox City Council sustainable transport minister in the hope the signs will be rectified to meet signage guidelines set by Bicycle Victoria and Parks Victoria.

Poll Results: What annoys you most about the new EastLink Trail?

Okay, my first poll has now closed. Let's check the results: 
  • Steep route through the Mullum Mullum Valley
  • The missing footbridges
  • Inconsistent signage
  • Lack of upgrades to connecting trails
  • Use of the existing railway station footbridge at Yarraman
  • Lack of drinking fountains
  • Not enough user/visitor information about the trail
  • Not upgrading the section between Carrum and Dandenong South
It is clearly evident that the issue bugging most riders are the missing footbridges. At the present moment, cyclists have to crossing using traffic lights at busy major roads including Maroondah Highway, Canterbury Road, Burwood Highway, High Street Road, Railway Parade and Cheltenham Road. Maroondah and Burwood are the worst as pedestrian lights are installed on the slip lanes, instead of zebra crossings.
The good news is that the Burwood Highway footbridge is currently being constructed and should be completed by early 2009. The Maroondah Highway footbridge project began about a month ago and should be completed by mid 2009. There is also talks of a High Street Road footbridge but no official announcements have been made.
The steep route through Mullum Mullum and the use of the existing footbridge at Yarraman Station are the next biggest grudges. I believe some of the trail could have been better graded to make riding abit easier, as it does put off some amateur riders. The situation at Yarraman Station is a shocking effort. A footbridge could have easily been attatched to the EastLink Bridge with an extra section connecting the bridge to the railway station footbridge for train access. In the end it is all about cost-cutting and lack of proper thought.
A new poll has now been posted. Go and vote for the good of the cycling community!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

News: Proposed Frankston Bypass Trail route is released

It was quietly put through on the SEITA website on November 10, the Environmental Effects Statement for the Frankston Bypass, which includes detailed plans for the route of the Frankston Bypass as well as an associated trail I am calling the Frankston Bypass Trail. I have created a Google Map with the trail and it's features, which the final alignment is still under consideration following input from the public, Bicycle Victoria and local councils.

My first positive thoughts are as follows:
  •  There is ONLY ONE level road crossing at Robinsons Road which is fantastic! It looks like the planners have learnt a lesson from EastLink and considering the government is copping it for not building all the required footbridges for EastLink, they do not want to make the same mistake. A range of footbridges and underpasses are provided.
  • The trail will be built to the same standard as the EastLink Trail which is a 3 metre wide concrete path, again another plus.
  • There will be provision made for a future Mornington Rail Trail which is excellent forward planning, which will enable a link from the Frankston Bypass Trail right down to Mornington. (Melway 106 J7)
  • The trail will begin at the Patterson River on the Dandenong Creek Trail which is an ideal and logical choice
  • Links to other trails are somewhat provided such as links to the Carrum Downs Trail, Skye Road Trail, the path along Cranbourne - Frankston Road and the Frankston - Stony Point Rail Trail.
Now my negative thoughts:
  • Missing links to local trails should be taken into account. There should be a link to the Eel Race Drain Trail under the Mornington Peninsula Freeway (Melway 97 J10). There should also be a defined link between the Bay Trail between the Seaford Wetlands (Melway 99 G4) along Austin Road, the footbridge over the Frankston Freeway, along Brunel Road until Peterson Street, which links to the existing Carrum Downs Trail (Melway 99 H3).
  • Will the Dandenong Creek Trail be upgraded as well? This will be I question I am to submit as part of the public comment on the plan. The EastLink upgrade failed to upgrade the Dandenong Creek Trail between Greens Road in Dandenong South (Melway 94 J2) to the Bay Trail in Patterson Lakes (Melway 97 D6) as well as upgrading trails along BOTH sides of the Patterson River between the Mornington Peninsula Freeway and the Nepean Highway.
  • WHY does the trail abruptly end at Bungower Road? Why construct a trail to the middle of nowhere (Melway 147 D2) and simply dump the rider on a country road away from anything of notice? I propose to continue the trail along the Frankston Bypass then the existing Mornington Peninsula Freeway right down to Nepean Highway in Dromana (Melway 160 D5) then run the trail westward along the Nepean Highway to the intersection with Marine Parade (Melway 159 K4) with a link to the Mornington Peninsula section of the Bay Trail. It makes sense and provide a different opportunity for tourism for the peninsula and provides a fully off-road sealed link between the city and the peninsula.
Now that you have seen the plans and my analysis, what are your thoughts? Also take a look at the full Frankston Bypass plan than make a comment on the plan if you wish at the SEITA website.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My improvement view: Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail through H.E. Parker Reserve

This is my first post in a category of posts known as "My improvement view" where I will show an area of the bicycle network which can be improved significantly, and propose my solution to improve it. Simple as that! For my first post, I will will be putting into the focus the section of the Ringwood - Belgrave Rail Trail through H.E. Parker Reserve.
Network map:

Note the maps I use are from the Wikipedia style mapping site "OpenStreetMap" which means the maps are correct, but in some areas are incomplete.
Area overview map: 

Current situation:
First of all, there is no signage on this part of the trail except for one unhelpful fingerboard sign which incorrectly says "Heathmont Rail Trail" near the railway crossing, and one incorrectly placed Dandenong Creek Trail official directional sign but does however have correct directions for heading towards Ringwood.
As you can tell from the fingerboard sign photo, the pavement is in shocking condition and there is no clear route marked. Currently you have to turn right at the direction sign in the photo above, then ride along the reserve access road towards the railway than find the shared path which runs along the railway towards Heathmont. Very confusing for the casual rider, although regular users will know it off by heart. These six photos show different views of the area.
My proposed solution:
Because there is currently no defined route and the current access is a simple reserve access road with hardly any traffic, it would be wasteful to build a completely new shared use path., I propose the ultimate solution to consist of three parts:
1: New surfacing
New asphalt will be placed in the following locations:
Near the railway crossing, the new pavement will create a link between the median strip as well as a high quality surface between the reserve access road, existing shared path and the railway crossing.
Near the footbridge, the new pavement will be laid on the southern side of the single carriageway of the existing reserve service road to accommodate the new lanes while still letting vehicles pass with ease. This includes resurfacing the short section of path between the footbridge and the service road.
2 and 3: New road markings and signage
New official directional signage will be installed at all suitable locations and regulatory (shared path/bike lane/give way) as well as warning (bicycles in this area) signs will be installed. Bike lanes in either direction will be marked out clearly and will be fully green for the whole length, to empathise clearly that this is an official cycle route. Here are some photoshopped examples of what the improved section could look like (the images alterations are not to scale)
More improvement views of the area will be posted very soon so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New blog improvements!

First of all, I have added a new banner. I feel this looks much better than the ugly text that was there before. I also decided to change the colours so the blog is easier on the eye. I hope you like the changes. Feel free to leave your comments.

Secondly, for those who have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can save this website as an icon for easy access, as you can with any website by pressing the "+" button followed by the "Add to Home Screen" button.

Then you can change the name for the icon if you wish. The default name is "Melbourne Bike Routes", but the name for the icon so it is shortened automatically if the name is too long.

Press "Add" and the icon will appear on the home screen in the next free slot. Notice that I have added a custom iPhone icon for the website, with the acronym "MBR". I think it's pretty neat and matches the new site banner.

I hope to add more iPhone friendly features to the blog in the future. I am currently looking for a way of making the blog appear on the iPhone in the optimised format for mobile Safari.