Combined BUGs Meeting, Wednesday 21st September 2011
Venue: Carringbush Hotel, Abbottsford
Present: John Parker, Gordon Macmillan, Graeme Stone, Glennys Jones, David Leong, Peter Campbell (Chair), Julia Blunden (minutes), Ken Morrison (Boroondara); Frank Kinnersley (Moonee Valley); Ferdi Saliba (Brimbank); David Hall, Michael Hassett, Russell Hick, Marion Hick (Whitehorse), Maurie Abbott (Banyule), Rachel Mackay, Helen Millicer (Glen Eira), Jason den Hollander (Bicycle Network Victoria)
Apologies: Alister Huth (Boroondara), Alan Ball, Eric Ball (Manningham), Graeme Oke (BrimBUG), Chris Star (Yarra), Anne Barry (Monash/Glen Eira)
These were circulated prior to the meeting.
Helen Millicer reported that she had spoken to Chris Chesterfield the Director of Waterways at Melbourne Water about the issue of flood warnings for cyclists using shared paths along rivers and creeks. Melbourne Water’s role is limited to the larger rivers. They also provide guidelines to councils on paths and flooding. See http://www.melbournewater.com.au/content/rivers_and_creeks/rainfall_and_river_level_data/rainfall_and_river_level_data.asp
Chris Chesterfield has offered to speak at our next Combined BUGs meeting and it was agreed that this invitation should be accepted.
Spokespeople for each of the BUGs represented gave short presentations on their various activities and concerns. One common theme was success in getting more cycling stories in local newspapers.
Jason talked about Bixie and the annual budget cycle of councils. Work starts on council budgets in October and decisions are all in place by March. May to October is the best time for lobbying for funding. Jason is working on a guide for BUGs. He talked about the difficulties BNV face in dealing with many different councils, with the Municipal Association of Victoria and with VicRoads. He said that his own top priority at present is developing a route from Footscray Rd to Sunshine and St Albans which would be for the western suburbs what the Gardiners Creek/Yarra Trail is for the eastern suburbs. There will also be grade separations with the new regional rail link which will need to be monitored to ensure bike permeability.
Jason offered to organize a regular workshop for BUGS at the new BNV offices, timed between the Combined BUGS meetings. This offer was accepted with alacrity and the date agreed on for the first workshop was Wednesday 23rd November.
This presentation was received with great interest. See attachment for a summary.
Michael H read a couple of key paragraphs from the report. VicRoads pushed the emphasis on the 10km radius round the CBD. Jason D pointed out that the Central Activities Districts were also emphasized but said that the VR focus on the 10km radius would be hard to change as this is where the issue of traffic congestion is most severe. He suggested that we should be pushing the Department of Sport and Recreation to fund shared use paths in outer suburbs. Jason also suggested that it would be counter-productive to suggest revising the Cycling Strategy as this could just be an excuse for inaction. It would be more productive to ask for measurable achievements. An annual stock-take of shared use paths would be one such measure. Jason said the revised PBN should appear before Christmas and that we should demand funding for its recommendations.
Jason said that as the Coalition didn’t really expect to win the last election they have no real plans for cycling as yet. There is $14.4 million in the budget for cycling but this is mostly for works already put in train by the previous government. Ferdi S raised a question about the Federation Trail, work on which appears to have stopped. Suggestions made to reactivate this included a question in parliament or a letter to the minister.
Whitehorse Cyclist representatives expressed concern about the proposed new grade separations at Mitcham and Rooks Roads. Grade separations at Middleborough and Springvale Roads have made very poor provision for cyclists. Jason said that it is now a legal requirement that the needs of cyclists be considered in all major road projects and that BNV will be involved in these projects.
Boroondara BUG supports such legislation and Jason said that BNV do too although so far they have not pushed this idea. Michael H has provided this link to a relevant article http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2011/09/08//3312420.htm
At present we have guidelines rather than laws and there is a degree of flexibility. 2.6m is the minimum degree of separation required. Peter C expressed frustration that the proposal for a fourth line along the Belgrave/Lilydale rail corridor has been used for many years to block its use for a bike path.
Ken M has raised this issue with Boroondara Council. The response had been that, on council-controlled roads residents have rights to parking outside their properties. Jason D made the point that there is a greater need for bike lanes going up hills than down but that municipal engineers are very fixated on symmetry.
Boroondara BUG members reported that they have discovered that some works by Council that they have supported in the belief that they help cyclists have been criticized by those who prefer to take the road lane rather than use a separated bike lane. This is an issue with both chicanes and roundabouts. Jason D commented that roundabouts are a legal no man’s land. No solutions were forthcoming.
David H signaled that he is preparing a paper on this subject which he will circulate to members and eventually put to BNV. This could be an agenda item at our next meeting.
Helen Millicer requested that members be reminded about this lecture when the minutes are sent out.
Wednesday 28th March 2012