Moreland Council to urgently investigate safety improvements on unofficial Upfield cycles routes

Suggested Improvements by AlexeiPT for unoffical detour. Source: @AlexeiPT

At the Moreland Council Meeting on 12 February Council voted to take note of the closure of the Upfield Bike Path for 18 months, that the official detour routes fail to provide safe and fit-fir-purpose detour routes, especially for vulnerable users. As well as highlighting the issues to the LXRP and other levels of government in a letter, the motion also authorises Counciil engineers to urgently investigate how cycling desire line routes can be made safer by Council.

Council staff are also authorised to collect bike count data on three unofficial routes.

Update 6 March 2020: Moreland Council Upfield Bike Path Diversion assessment report (PDF 24.8MB) will be considered at Moreland Council meeting on 11 March.

The following motion was considered as an urgent business item at Council Meeting. It was passed with 9 votes in favour and one abstention.

UB1/20 Cycling safety – Upfield Bike Path Detour

10.45 pm Cr Carli Hannan left the Council Chamber while the item was being moved and did not return until the meeting resumed on 13 February 2020.
Cr Abboud moved, Cr Bolton seconded –

That Council:

  1. Immediately writes to the LXRP, minister Jaala Pulford, the member for Wills Peter Khalil, the state member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorne and the State member for Brunswick asking for their support to provide a safe and suitable detour for commuters effected by the closure of the Upfield Bike Path.
  2. Acknowledges in the letter that while alternate route assessment was undertaken by the LXRP, conclusions are that both proposed detour routes fail to meet the needs of Upfield shared use path users:
    ◦ Adds substantially more distance and time to north-south travel, and LXRP substantially underestimate this extra time.
    ◦ Adds additional cycling effort through change in elevation in comparison to the Upfield path.
    ◦ Increases risk of collisions/accidents between cyclists and vehicles at numerous intersections
    ◦ Increases risk of accidents during poor light and at night, especially during commuting times in Winter
    ◦ Does not provide for range of users. Not a solution for those with low level of on-road cycling confidence
    ◦ Public safety has not been adequately considered with these proposed detour routes.
  3. Includes in the letter outlines for three alternate detour options, all more direct with less elevation change than the official detours. The three possible detours are:
    a) West Route (Main, Hudson, Loch, Station, Cassels)
    b) Sydney Road
    c) East Route (De Carle, Rhodda, Chambers, Elm, Urquhart).
    Noting each detour has its own advantages and disadvantages, but none of them match the safety and directness of the Upfield path and asks for consideration of these options.
  4. Sends the letter in the next week and follows up with phone calls from the Chief Executive Officer or Director for City Futures and/or Engagement and Partnerships for a response.
  5. Receives an urgent report from Council’s traffic engineers that assesses how the three routes outlined, that cyclists are naturally using through simple human behaviour, could be made more safe, regardless of the State or LXRP position and including bike traffic counts on these three routes taken during peak, weekday, commuter times.

(Division showed 9 Councillors voting In Favour, Cr Tapinos Abstained, Cr Carli-Hannan had left prior to the motion)

Now it is up to Moreland Council staff to urgently assess possibilities for increasing safety on unofficial cycling routes that cyclists are already using to a great degree. This includes undertaking traffic count surveys.

One Moreland resident, Alexei, has already put forward measures that could be put in place without too much effort to increase the safety of cyclists on the Main/Hudson/Loch/Station street route that many cyclists are already using.

The sooner measures can be put in place, the safer for cyclists on their local journeys or commute.

Anecdotal evidence increased cycling on unofficial routes

Official detour and suggested improvements to Main/Hudson/Loch/Station st route

Safety of cyclists

Dedicated lane on Sydney Road may have improved business

VicRoads warned 18 months ago a safe fit-for-purpose detour needed

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