2011-09-21 Meeting minutes

Combined BUGs Meeting, Wednesday 21st September 2011

Venue: Carringbush Hotel, Abbottsford

Attendance and Apologies

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)

Minutes of previous meeting, 30th March 2011

These were circulated prior to the meeting.

Business Arising

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.

1. BUG Presentations

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.

    • Glen Eira BUG reported a big increase in their council’s annual cycling budget. They have 40-50 members but work through email rather than face to face meetings.

    • Whitehorse Cyclists Advocacy Group consists at present of 7 active members. Their work promoting the Box Hill to Ringwood Rail Trail is now almost complete. They won an award from the Department of Sustainability for their work on this. They would like to see a standard agreement negotiated with Melbourne Water on the use of pipe tracks for bike paths. The club presence at the opening of the Warrigal Rd underpass served a useful purpose in offering appreciation to politicians rather than the more usual demands and criticism. They have had no success with their efforts to raise council expenditure on cycling facilities.

    • Brimbug have recently celebrated their 5th anniversary. They have been pushing with some success for more on-road bike lanes, and $1.3million has been allocated for shared use paths. A Council staffer attends their BUG meetings.

    • Banyule BUG has around 73 members but most of these are only interested in riding and socializing. About 3 or 4 engage in advocacy. One Greens councilor has been a useful ally. Banyule now has a bike strategy and a bicycle advisory committee. Their biggest concern at present is the Banyule section of the Yarra Trail which is unsealed, and poorly maintained except for special projects after flooding and such. A consultant is currently working on proposals. The gap in the Banyule Trail alongside the Greensborough Bypass is another concern. A new project is a bike facility in Oriel Rd Heidelberg. Council has agreed to the BUG’s recommendation for full separation from the motor traffic. The BUG also convinced Council not to install roundabouts along the Ivanhoe Bvd, a popular cycle route.

    • Boroondara BUG reported that the Warrigal Rd underpass is now complete and the new improved Solway Bridge should be in place by the end of summer. Funding has been announced for a new bridge over the Gardiners Creek Trail approaching Glenferrie Rd which will enable cyclists to avoid the current squeeze point there. Woolworths will fund the reconstruction of 350m of the Gardiners Creek Trail as a condition of the planning permit for their redevelopment of the old gasworks site west of Tooronga Rd. The East-West link alongside the Belgrave/Lilydale rail line is still a high priority; the section from Box Hill to Camberwell will be easier to achieve than that from Camberwell to Hawthorn. Trail logos have been stenciled onto all of Boroondara’s shared paths and signs naming roads have been installed on bridges crossing the paths. Work is being done to improve traffic calming devices for cyclists but this has uncovered the problem of the differing preferences of different styles of cyclists.

    • Moonee Valley BUG have 120 people on their e-list. Most of these want to ride but there’s a shortage of leaders. They have a small number interested in advocacy. A positive development has been the reinstatement of the Sustainable Transport Officer, someone who understands BUGs. A safety audit of the Moonee Ponds Creek Path is planned.

Jason den Hollander’s Presentation

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.

2. Helen Millicer’s presentation on the implications for cycling of climate change.

This presentation was received with great interest. See attachment for a summary.

3. Auditor General’s report on the 2009 Victorian Cycling Strategy

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.

4. State Government Plans for Cycle Infrastructure in the Next Year

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.

5. Provision for Cycling in New Grade Separations

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.

6. Legislation Needed to Change Driver Behaviour Towards Cyclists

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

7. Legislation Needed re Use of Railway Easements

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.

8. Possible Removal of Parking on the Approaches to Hills in Shared Bike and Parking Lanes

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.

9. How to Reconcile the Needs of Different Kinds of Cyclists

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.

10. A New Approach Needed to Encouraging Cycling

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.

11 Gil Penalosa’s Free Public Lecture

Helen Millicer requested that members be reminded about this lecture when the minutes are sent out.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 28th March 2012