Council report: safety improvements urgently needed on unofficial Upfield cycle detour routes

Bike Counts on Upfield path detours 7-9am Morning peak 17 February

A Moreland Council assessment report and bike count data shows that more cyclists prefer to cycle down Sydney Road or on the back street route immediately west of the Upfield railway line than the two LXRP official bike detour routes.

An officer recommendation to Council for next Wednesday’s Council meeting on 11 March 2020 will recommend that urgent repairs be undertaken, along with signage, on the routes being used by cyclists. The report recommends that LXRP fund these cycling safety measures for the two backstreet routes and Sydney Road as suggested.

The report was a response to an urgent business item on Upfield bike path detour routes and cycling safety at the February 2020 Council Meeting.

“Given cyclists are already using these routes in substantial numbers, the work to upgrade the safety on these routes needs to be given an urgent priority”, says local Moreland Suatainable Transport campaigner John Englart.

“While these safety measures will not provide a safe, fit-for-purpose route to the standard of a shared use path that caters to many vulnerable users, they will substantially increase the safety of cyclists that use these routes.” said Englart “Ensuring safety of cyclists using public roads should be a top priority given the high road toll in Victoria.”

Moreland Council staff estimate High level costs for improving safety on the three routes are: $402,000 for the East Route along De Carle street, over $1 million for Sydney Road, and $542,000 for the west route along Hudson, Loch and Station streets.

Suggested cycling safety improvements are detailed below:

East Detour Route (De Carle Street)
Potential improvements to the eastern route include:

  • 40 kilometre per hour speed limits on all local road sections of the route (subject to approval by DoT);
  • Directional signage at each intersection directing cyclist on the route;
  • Sharrow linemarking periodically along the entire route to remind drivers of cyclists in the area;
  • Shared Path signage on Sydney Road, Urquhart Street, Elm Grove and Bell Street allowing cyclists to ride on the footpath;
  • Bicycle lanterns at Sydney Road / Urquhart Street (x2) and Bell Street / Elm Grove (x2) to legally allow cyclists to cross at the pedestrian crossing;
  • Decals on the footpath to advise pedestrians of the shared routes;
  • Modifications to the six roundabouts on the route to improve safety outcomes. Solutions might include road humps on the approaches, green paint treatments through the roundabout. The ultimate solution is to remove the roundabouts for cyclist safety;
  • Bicycle lanterns at the pedestrian operated signals east of the DeCarle Street / Moreland Road intersection;
  • Bicycle lanterns at Sydney Road and Albion Street (x2);
  • Banning parking on Albion Street between Sydney Road and the Upfield Shared path.

Sydney Road Route
Potential improvements to the Sydney Road route include:

  • Council’s previous position (DCF64/19) in August 2019 which was “3. Supports the temporary removal of car parking on Sydney Road, Coburg for the extent of the disruption to the Upfield Shared Path due to the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP), to provide physically separated bicycle lanes as a safe and accessible detour route for cyclists.”
  • Resheet the kerbside lane (where the pavement is in poor condition in sections) for a smoother surface;
  • Install head-start bicycle storage boxes at all signalised intersections and pedestrian crossings on Sydney Road from Bell Street to Albion Street inclusive, being:
    • Bell Street;
    • Victoria Street (crossing);
    • Page Street (crossing);
    • Harding/ Munro Streets;
    • Reynard Street;
    • The Avenue (crossing);
    • Moreland Road;
    • Donald Street (crossing); and
    • Albion Street.

Western detour route (Hudson-Loch-Station streets)
Potential improvements to the western route include:

  • 40 kilometre per hour speed limits on all local road sections of the route (subject to approval by DoT);
  • Directional signage at each intersection directing cyclist on the route;
  • Sharrow linemarking periodically along the entire route to remind drivers of cyclists in the area;
  • Either Bicycle lanterns at Bell Street / Main Street / Hudson Street to legally allow cyclists to cross at the pedestrian crossing or head-start bicycle storage boxes on Main Street and Hudson Street;
  • Shared Path signage on Moreland Road to Cassels Road allowing cyclists to ride on the footpath;
  • A formal crossing point on Moreland Road near Cassels Road.

“The LXRP website advises it has consulted with bicycle groups in developing the detour routes, but the Upfield Corridor Coalition advises it was not consulted.” says the report.

“No local cycling groups, including the Moreland Bicycle User Group (Moreland BUG), or the Upfield Corridor Coalition, were ever consulted on cycling detour routes” said John Englart. “LXRP failed to do any engagement or consultation with local stakeholders in devising these routes.”

Sydney Road Community Ride

Poster for Sydney Road ride for Life March 15 – Moreland BUG

Moreland Bicycle User Group is organising a Sydney Road Community Ride – Make it Safe on Sunday March 15. The event will begin at Bridges Reserve Coburg at 11am and ride all the way down to Princes Park, Parkville at a family friendly 7kph pace. Cargo bikes, kids, trailers, all bikes welcome! The event ends there, but People can enjoy a picnic lunch at Princes Park.

Victoria Police are providing an escort with Brunswick Bike Patrol and traffic management for the ride.

Moreland BUG gives these reasons for the ride:

The 18 month closure of the Upfield Bike Path (currently closed), was the perfect opportunity to trial separated bike paths on Sydney Road and begin the revitalisation of this important community hub.

Instead, the state government have given Morelanders dangerous, totally inconvenient, useless detours. The detours will add up to 2km per trip and take children and families down untreated backstreets and across un-signalised major intersections.

How will families, kids and everyday users get to school and the shops safely?

It’s time to show Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan, Roads Minister Jaala Pulford and Member for Pascoe Vale, Lizzie Blandthorn, that we won’t be ignored.

Join us for a family-friendly, Sunday bike ride down Sydney Road to tell our politicians we want safe, separated bike lanes down Sydney Road now.

Register at this Moreland BUG Facebook Event.

The Moreland Council assessment report (PDF 24.8MB) on Level Crossing Removal Project – Upfield Bicycle Path Diversion Assessment was extracted from the Full Agenda of Moreland Council for 11 March 2020 – PDF

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