How we integrate cycling paths into developed cities can be challenging, as cities’ centuries-old built forms are having to be designed to appease the growing population of cyclists.
Whether it be a Saturday morning along Port Phillip Bay or an early morning weekday ride along the picturesque St. Kilda Road, the role of cycling in Melbourne residents’ lives has grown exponentially in recent years. This widespread development has forced the city’s planners and urban designers to incorporate cyclists throughout the roads, streets, and avenues of the city’s environs. The results have seen a mismatched formation of paths that confuse and endanger the most simple of commutes:
Cycle Lanes that amalgamate into designated pedestrian paths or sidewalks;
Lanes positioned between 2 car lanes that forces the cyclist to indicate to the driver when they wish to turn;
The widespread design of cycle lanes in between lanes and parked cars instead of between footpaths and parked cars (so a buffer is created to minimize interaction with vehicle traffic); and
The inadequate cycling lane provided for Princess Bridge that is a busy access route for cyclists into the CBD and is the most dangerous for cyclists.
Other issues revolve around the announcement by the State Government in June 2012 to cut $40 million from cycling infrastructure projects. This saw protests conducted at State Parliament by cyclists and Melburnians alike as cycling initiatives had been historically under-resourced.
Further aggravating residents has been the installation of the expensive BikeShare system that has been unsuccessfully implemented throughout urban Melbourne. The city’s inability to provide an affordable or convenient BikeShare system has not only been an embarrassing reflection on our city’s town planning, but also been a significant waste of resources that could have been allocated to more pressing cycling-oriented projects such as providing cycle paths for each street within the CBD (a badly needed development).
Though we do not wish to be the next Amsterdam or Copenhagen, Melburnians do hope that the government can assist their cyclists in dealing with the obstacles of our densifying city.
How cycle-friendly is your city? How has your government responded to its exponential growth in cyclists?
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.