Radical plan to turn Sydney Rd into a bike way

Radical council plan to turn Sydney Road into a bike way

Sydney_roadBy Kate Lahey The Age August 22, 2008 Melbourne’s traffic-clogged Sydney Road would have segregated bike lanes to give cyclists a five kilometre path each way under a transport plan commissioned by Moreland Council.

Their draft Integrated Transport Strategy for 2009-18 calls for an investigation into Copenhagen-style bike lanes between Gaffney Street in North Coburg and Park Street at the southern edge of Brunswick. It sets out a timeline for the lanes to be designed by June 2010 and endorsed by council by December 2010.

Councillors last week voted to defer any decision on the strategy until after the November election to allow the new council to consult the community on the proposals. But the idea has outraged local traders who fear it would be the end of shopping on the popular strip. Furniture retailer Franco Cozzo said businesses on Sydney Road would killed off if the plan was adopted. “It’s not wide enough to do that,” he said. “They haven’t got brains at the City Council.”

Sydney Road Brunswick Association co-ordinator Claire Perry said she had not examined the strategy but traders would be concerned. “If people can’t park in the street, it turns them away from stopping altogether and therefore people will start to go to the bigger shopping centres and strip shopping will die,” she said. Daniel Bowen, of the Public Transport Users Association, said any changes such as the proposed bike lanes, would discourage car traffic and should speed up the journey for tram passengers. “There is certainly scope to help speed up trams along Sydney Road, which crawl like snails at peak times,” Mr Bowen said.

Rays Bicycles Brunswick in favour Bike Paths Website asked Spiro Kourkoumelis who is the proprietor of Rays Brunswick Bicycle Store on Sydney Road for his opinion. He says, “I support the proposal because there have been quite few serious accidents involving cyclists and cars on busy Sydney Road, so if there were bike lanes it would be so much safer.”

Bicycle Victoria chief executive Harry Barber said some roads, potentially including Sydney Road, should offer priority to trams and bikes, in exchange for freeing up other roads for cars and buses. He said about 330 cyclists used Sydney Road in the morning peak, in addition to about 460 who used the nearby Upfield bike path. The transport strategy, if adopted, would also trial a ban on parking close to schools and implement “road diets” by creating and widening pedestrian and bicycle access throughout the municipality.

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