2014-05-01 Meeting minutes

Victorian BUGs Meeting, Thursday 1st May 2014

Bicycle Network, Level 4, 246 Bourke St, Melbourne

Facilitator: Peter Campbell
Notes:Julia Blunden

1. Minutes of previous meeting, Tuesday 10th September 2013

These were circulated prior to the meeting. No changes were requested.

2. Attendance and Apologies 

Present: John Parker, Gordon Macmillan, Glennys Jones, David Leong, Julia Blunden, Peter Campbell (Chair); David Farrow, Alister Huth, Ken Parker (Boroondara BUG); Alan Ball, Harvey Edwards (Manningham BUG); Maurie Abbott (Banyule BUG); Helen Millicer, (Glen Eira BUG); Adeo Esplago (Melbourne BUG); Frank Kinnersley (Moonee BUG); Craig Richards (Bicycle Network); David Hall, Peter Carter, Graeme Stone, Robert Cook (Whitehorse Cyclists); Liz Cyarto (Maribyrnong/Mazza BUG)

Apologies: Graeme Oke, Ferdi Saliba (BrimBUG); Alan Tonkin, (Boroondara BUG); Rachel Mackay (Glen Eira BUG), Chris Trueman (Whitehorse Cyclists); Ray Davis, Michael Hansford (Darebin BUG), Richard Adams (ex Monash BUG)

3. BUG and BN reports

Spokespeople for each of the BUGs represented and BN gave short presentations on their various activities and concerns. 
  • Moonee BUG: Frank Kinnersley said that his BUG’s main concerns at present are getting a cycling corridor along the Craigieburn rail line, and looking at the impact of the East West Link, and now the proposed widening of City Link, on bike routes. While these major projects cause major problems they can also present opportunities. 
  • Boroondara BUG: John Parker reported on improvements to the Anniversary Trail. He noted that the failure of the lights on the gantry linking the Gardiners Creek Trail to the Yarra Trail has been a perennial problem, however they are now being replaced with led lighting which may improve the situation. He explained that legal issues have caused the delay in the construction of the new bridge over the Gardiners Creek just east of Glenferrie Rd, and reported that additional high quality solar lights have been installed along the trail. He foreshadowed the BUG’s presentation on the North Eastern Bicycle Corridor.
  • Banyule BUG: Maurie Abbott reported that work is being done to resolve problems with slippery surfaces on the newest section of the Darebin Creek Path. The Banyule Bicycle Advisory Committee did a walk through on Greensborough Rd and VicRoads is now working on the design for the missing link in the path along this. Council is working on the easement between Greensborough Rd and the Plenty River Trail. A trail across the Banyule Flats is also planned.
  • As there was no one present from Nillumbik Maurie also covered some of the issues there. A new bridge across the Diamond Creek is generally satisfactory except for a nasty bend. Advocacy for the extension of the path along Diamond Creek to Hurstbridge is gaining momentum and the Council is supportive. 
  • Mazza BUG: Liz Cyarto explained that the BUG had folded but is now being re-established. They have about twenty members and are running social rides. The big issue for them at present is Shepherds Bridge which is not safe for cyclists. They may need to look at the effects of stage two of the East West Link now that the government has announced its intention to start constructing it soon.
  • Whitehorse Cyclists Advocates: David Hall reported that construction of the 10km Box Hill to Ringwood Rail Trail is now well under way, helped along by grade separations at Mitcham Rd and Rooks Rd. However the final route beyond the grade separations is still to be settled on. The group’s other main focus at present is the trail through the Healesville Fwy Reserve. Next they will turn their attention to the Mitcham – Syndal Pipe Track which is already on Council’s agenda although issues remain to be resolved with Melbourne Water.
  • Manningham BUG: Alan Ball reported that progress has been made on closing the gaps in the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail. There is a 50m missing link due to a problem with Parks Victoria, and there is still 1.5km missing between Park Rd and Tindalls Rd. By June there should be a continuous path from the Yarra to Park Rd.
  • Stonnington: In the absence of a Stoonington BUG, Boroondara BUG takes on this role. Glennys Jones reported that Stonnington currently has a draft bike strategy up for comment, and that it is their best so far.
  • Darebin: In the absence of any Darebin BUG representative Alister Huth, a Darebin resident, reported that the St Georges Rd Path has been audited. The pipe is to replaced north of Separation St which has implications for the bike path. The three shimmies that have been signed in Darebin are very good.
  • Glen Eira BUG: Helen Millicer reported that the BUG organised a ride with councilors. They also met with the Mayor to discuss the expiry date for the bike strategy and what is to happen after that. They have been told that some items listed in the strategy are being left to VicRoads. The BUG has also met with VicRoads. They are planning to approach local schools to get their input to the next bike strategy, as well as local traders and councilors.
  • Melbourne BUG: Adeo Esplago reported that the BUG is pushing for improved bike parking in city work places, and the development of a bike route along City Rd as an alternative to Southbank. Bike lanes to be installed in William St will be chevron-separated only, as varying road widths make fully separated lanes impracticable. There is currently a strong push for a separated bike path along St Kilda Rd.
  • Bicycle Network: Craig Richards explained that his role is different from that of his predecessor, Harry Barber. BN is now a nation-wide organization and the Government and the External Relations Team has only four staff so must focus on strategic issues. Transport infrastructure spending is being cut by 25% federally. But as Victoria is in an election year there is hope of new commitments from the state government and opposition. Corridors rather than individual projects are now BN’s focus. BN will be surveying candidates in the Victorian election and asking them to put their cycling policies online. John Parker made the point that there needs to be a push for the reinstatement of a state bike budget, and Peter Campbell cited the need for a ‘Minister for Cycling’ to take overall responsibility for matters such as signage of off-road paths. There was mention of the PBN and its newer rivals, ‘priority’ and ‘critical’ routes and the failure to consult with the BUGs and the community generally when developing these.

4. Bike Futures Conference 28 – 29 October, MCG, Melbourne

Craig Richards confirmed that there will be four free passes available for BUG members this year and that no volunteers will be used. It was agreed that the four passes will be used to offer places for eight people to attend for one day each. Four of the places will go to experienced advocates and four to newer ones. It was agreed that an email would be sent out to Victorian BUGs members to invite groups to nominate a representative for the free passes well in advance of the October event. A number of people present indicated interest in attending in the conference. 

5. BiXE 

Craig Richards explained that while BiXE is a good program there are issues with resourcing it. No BiXE was done last year, but the version of BiXE planned for later this year is a bike account that will likely go further than just expenditure. Although some present expressed reservations about the reliability of BiXE, the general view was that it is a useful measure.

6. How can BN and BUGs work more productively together? 

Peter Carter made the point that given BN’s wider coverage and smaller staff there is a need to work cooperatively with BUGs. Several of those present cited examples of where this has happened to good effect. It was also agreed that it is good to have a BN staffer at Victorian BUGs meetings. A question was asked about managing media reportage of bike issues. Garry Brennan is the main BN media spokesperson. Craig agreed that BN could offer BUGs a seminar on media management.

The question of changes to road laws was raised. Craig said BN does not have a policy of surveying members on their views on such matters, though they do take note of phone calls and letters received from members. BN is currently campaigning for some rule changes – raising the age of footpath riding in Vic, NSW, South Australia and WA is an example. A straw poll showed strong majority support for the Amy Gillett Foundation’s ‘A Metre Matters’ campaign, and for Strict Liability laws.

Frank Kinnersley raised the issue of Councils, and even VicRoads, failing to follow Austroads standards when work is done on cycle infrastructure. Craig indicated that Jason den Hollander is the person to ask for help on such matters, but acknowledged that he’s often too busy to respond as he covers all Australia. It was agreed that while it’s helpful for BUGs to know the standards and help with policing them this is issue really needs to be tackled at a higher level. A letter to the Minister was suggested. Adeo Esplago complimented BN on the Bike Futures Conference which is enormously helpful in promoting conformity to standards. 

7. Boroondara BUG presentation on the North Eastern Bicycle Corridor: 

Peter Campbell made the point the BUG doesn’t support the East West Link. However if it goes ahead we should get something for cyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists. He explained that the BUG formed a working group which prepared the NEBC plan and presented it to the Linking Melbourne Authority’s planning panel. He showed the PowerPoint presentation to the group. The NEBC is actually in Plan Melbourne, and the Alexander Pde median path has been proposed by the State Government. The BUG is promoting the plan with various politicians, VicRoads, etc. Peter Carter has written a piece for BN’s In the Loop. 

8. Other Business

  • Adeo Esplago reported on the La Trobe St bike lanes post implementation review. Figures provided by Fleur Maidment showed a threefold increase in cyclist numbers, accompanied by only a slight increase in accidents. Motorist numbers were down by 11% and the mode share of cyclists had risen from 9% to 22%. Travel times for motorists remained the same or slightly less. Craig Richards added that BN data show an increase in women riding on this road. It was agreed that a media release is desirable to spread this good news.
  • It was agreed that the State election will be an agenda item for our next meeting. We need to consider our attitude to the newly formed Cyclist Party. The election provides an opportunity to get promises from both parties. What is needed is projects already developed and ready to go.
  • It was pointed out that Council draft budgets are now ready, providing cycle advocates with an opportunity for input.

9. Next Meeting

Tuesday 16 September


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