Sunday 27 April 2014

Improving Brunswick St and St Georges Rd south of Merri Parade

Summary: Brunswick St (Fitzroy) and the southern end of St Georges Rd (Fitzroy North) is a key transport cycling route connecting the inner north suburbs and Melbourne CBD. The City of Yarra has ongoing responsibilities, plans and investments to improve the safety and utility of cycling for the benefit of residents, businesses and the community. This post will collate suggestions and initiatives regarding improving Brunswick St and the southern end of St Georges Rd for cycling.

Prov bar on Brunswick by GlocalPhoto, on Flickr
1. The City of Yarra's current plans to improve Brunswick St and St Georges Rd south of Merri Parade
- The City of Yarra council considered an excellent report on options in Feb 2013 which is well worth reading and formed the context for specific feedback in this post. See: City of Yarra: Options for Improving Bicycle Facilities Along Brunswick Street and St Georges Road (PDF)

- Subsequently, the City of Yarra established a working group to obtain stakeholder input and provide recommendations. See: City of Yarra: Brunswick St and St Georges Road Corridor Working Group. I am on the Working Group (#2) for the St Georges Rd section between Reid St and Merri creek.
"The vision (for Brunswick St) will look at how to balance the competing needs of various road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, trams, parking and private cars, who may be residents, visitors, business operators, and commuters. The group will look at long-term improvements to coincide with Council’s planned road resurfacing on Brunswick Street (between Alexandra Parade and Victoria Parade) and tram stop upgrade works to be undertaken by Yarra Trams in the next few years." 
The working group may consider improvements such as:
  • A coordinated approach to planned engineering and urban design improvements which take account of road resurfacing and future design of new tram stops; 
  • Improvements to the street for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users, residents, visitors, business operators, and commuters; 
  • Improved access to business premises for all users; 
  • Improvements to landscaping, bicycle parking provisions and urban design aspects of the corridor can be improved; 
  • How to balance the provision of footpath trading with competing demand for footpath space; 
  • Consideration of the existing parking conditions, restrictions and type along the corridor;
  • Improvements to access for people with disabilities such as tactile markings on the footpath, access to the mooted tram stop upgrades and the provision of accessible parking spaces.
Terms of Reference: Brunswick St St Georges Rd Corridor Working Group (PDF)
- The section in scope is illustrated below:

2. Key, background facts about Brunswick St and cycling
- These facts are taken from: City of Yarra: Options for Improving Bicycle Facilities Along Brunswick Street and St Georges Road (PDF)

- The route is the second busiest bicycle route in Yarra, and is actively used by cyclists throughout the day, and well into the evening, particularly the southern section.

- Each direction of travel on Brunswick Street and St Georges Road can typically be described as having kerbside parallel parking lane, a central tram track, which is a shared traffic lane, and a bicycle lane adjacent to the parking.

- The parking restrictions vary at different sections of Brunswick Street with some peak period “No Stopping” zones between 7.00am-9.00am on the east side and 4.30pm-6.30pm on the west side. The speed limit along Brunswick Street between Victoria Parade and Alexandra Parade is 40 km/h. The speed limit along the route to the north of Alexandra Parade is 60km/hr.

- There were 201 injuries that were reported to Police that were caused by crashes on the route in the last 5 years. Cyclists made up 99 of the injuries, 43 were motorcycle and scooter injuries, 42 were pedestrian injuries and 17 injuries to enclosed vehicle occupants. Sixty of the bicycle injuries occurred on Brunswick Street to the south of Alexandra Parade.

- Cyclists comprise approximately 10% of total vehicles on Brunswick Street yet account for half of all injuries. Half of the bicycle injuries occurred during non peak periods when bicycle traffic made up on 28% of total daily bicycle volumes. Thus during the off-peak periods cyclists where nearly twice as likely to be injured compared to other times of the day. There is a high incident of bicycle injuries between Greeves and Kerr Streets with 20 injuries occurring in this 340m section. It is noted as being one of the top 10 locations for car dooring incidents in Melbourne.

- The majority of the peak period cyclists who are using the route are commuter cyclists and are not accessing the businesses along Brunswick Street. 

- There are two locations along the route that have no bicycle lanes, and portions of the route have a bicycle lane that less than the minimum ‘acceptable’ width of 1.2m. Ideally bicycle lanes should be 1.5m wide on a road with a 60km/hr speed limit.

- The Brunswick Street route is a challenging environment in which to cycle, due the numerous conflicting users, high traffic volumes, trams and their tracks, dooring risks and relatively narrow carriageway. While the possible works should improve safety along the route, there is the risk that by upgrading the route that more cyclists would use the route in preference to alternative safer routes.

- Parallel routes such as Canning Street and Napier Street have a far lower injury rate compared to Brunswick Street and are more suitable for novice cyclists. Canning Street is located 500m west of Brunswick Street and carries 892 southbound cyclists, while Napier Street is located 200m to the East and carries 305 cyclists, compared to 444 cyclists using Brunswick Street. 

- Anecdotal evidence suggests that many cyclists use the Brunswick Street /St Georges Road route because it is quicker than these parallel routes. It is quicker because as it acts as a primary tram route, so VicRoads signals officers give the route a high priority and more green time when it crosses minor and major side streets. Canning and Napier Streets have a low priority, so the signals on these routes provide a much smaller amount of green time for cyclists to cross the street.

3. Comments on the 24 possible improvements listed in the Options document
"Many of the most significant improvements could be made through the use of linemarking and improving the quality of the road surface. These would provide a defined roadspace allocation, regulate vehicle tracking and thus improve safety for cyclists on the route. In most cases, this re-allocation could be achieved without any loss of parking."
City of Yarra: Options for Improving Bicycle Facilities Along Brunswick Street and St Georges Road
City of Yarra: Options for Improving Bicycle Facilities Along Brunswick Street and St Georges Road

- My comments on some of these proposed improvements are below:

ID1: Temporary linemarking renewal on Brunswick South from Alexandra Parade to Victoria Parade 
"The following interim linemarking is relatively low cost and easily implemented on Brunswick Street south of Alexandra Parade:

(a) relinemarking the existing parking spaces to provide a narrower 2.1m wide parking space (compared to the current typically 2.4m wide space). This will widen the current bicycle lane from 1.5 to 1.8-1.9m;
(b) renew the yellow tram fairway linemarking along the road as per the existing Yarra Trams Fairway restrictions; and
(c) reinstall bicycle logos along the entire length of Brunswick Street within the bicycle lane."

Comment: This is much needed, simple and cheap as many of the lines are faded. Renewing them provides the opportunity to eliminate wasted parking space and widen the bike lanes. Motorists do pay attention to painted lanes and clearer delineation does improve safety. Where linemarkings have faded, motorists are more likely to intrude upon the bike lane. Motorist behaviour at the missing 150m of bike lane near St Georges Rd is evidence of the importance of visible lines. Some motorists, driving at 50-60km/hr, pass cyclists with around 1-1.5m distance in this area which would feel very unsafe to most cyclists.

ID3: Remove a row of Bluestone and repair existing grout as needed between Leicester St and Alexandra Pde
"Due to the asymmetric location of the tram tracks between Johnston Street and Alexandra Parade the width of the existing bicycle lane adjacent to the kerb is between 1-1.3m wide during peak periods no parking time. The bluestone gutter is currently two bluestones wide with a width of 0.5m, which could (in theory) be narrowed to a single bluestone to provide a smoother surface for cyclists during the PM peak period. With the reduction of the width of the parking lanes at this location the bicycle lane width would be increased from 1.2m to 1.5-1.6m."

Comment: During the PM peak period commute north cyclists are squeezed into a very narrow bike lane, especially as it gets closer to Alexander Pde, with most of it taken up by bluestone pavers which are slippery, bumpy and dangerous to ride on. Virtually all cyclists are forced to ride over bluestone pavers at the Alexander Pde intersection where the space between cars and bikes is narrowest and the risk of accidents greatest. Confident, skilled cyclists may cope but less experienced ones find it daunting to ride over bluestone pavers, particularly when wet. If one row of bluestone pavers is being removed, why not remove both? They are unsuitable for cycling. Also, please consider a safer treatment for the slippery drain covers.

Brunswick St bluestone pavers heading north at Cecil St

ID4: Upgrade linemarking, increase amount of green paint while narrowing the parking lane width (2.1m) and peak traffic lane width (2.5m) 
"Along the route the current parking lane width is 2.4-2.5 m wide, which is relatively wide, compared to conventional 2.1m parking lanes. Thus the bicycle lane could be widened by an additional 0.3-0.4m. It would also encourage drivers to park closer to the kerb, reducing the effective area of the car dooring zone.

The peak period traffic lanes could be narrowed to 2.5m along the route as they currently fluctuate from 2.5-2.8m. Traffic lanes of 2.5m wide are narrower than prescribed in the Australian Guidelines but have been used for many years in many parts of Yarra. This would help to provide up to 0.3m of additional space for the bicycle lanes during peak periods. Narrower traffic lanes have been shown to reduce the speed of vehicles using the street by making motorists feel more confined."

Comment: Narrowing the parking lanes and peak period traffic lanes is an excellent idea that is opportune to be implemented with the re-sheet road works. Motorists rely on parking lanes as guides and some will park far from the kerb if the lines permit this. Consequently, narrowing the parking lane will shift the cars left that currently push the door zone out. In the below image you can see how a single car is parking as far right as possible and making the door zone at least 0.5m wider than it needs to be.

Narrower traffic lanes will also reduce speeds due to confinement and this is appropriate on a street with a 40km/hr speed limit that many motorists either ignore or aren't aware of. Most regular cyclists of Brunswick St are likely to confirm that when the road isn't congested, motorists often exceed 40km/hr.

251 Brunswick St near Greeves St corner

ID5: Improved Capital City Trail link from St Georges Rd (Civil Works)
"Onsite observations show there is a large number of cyclists who in the morning are heading southbound and want to turn right into the Capital Crescent trail heading westward. Cyclists currently undertake a variety of illegal and less safe manoeuvres to do this including riding on the footpath for extended periods.

To improve the situation a new crossover from St Georges Road, a converted shared path and cyclist’s storage area could be built. A wider crossing of the signalised pedestrian crossing would help to reduce conflict of the crossing while increasing capacity."

Comment: This is a key cyclist commuter turn which will only see increased traffic. The current CCT signal takes too long and there is nowhere for cyclists to stop to wait without obstructing other cyclists or cars. A ramp onto a converted shared path with sufficient space to wait and a wider signal crossing would be much improved, legal and safe.

Capital City Trail signal crossing at St Georges Rd

ID6: New Bicycle lane at Victoria Parade southbound
"Currently there is no bicycle lane near the intersection with Victoria Parade in both directions. Due to the constraints at the site further analysis and liaison is required to ascertain the benefits and costs of the various options as it could result in tram delays. It is noted in the AM peak hour cyclists make up 25% of southbound traffic at the intersection during August. The options to be investigated for providing a southbound bicycle lane are:

(a) Remove a southbound traffic lane and replace it with a southbound bicycle lane. This proposal would require traffic modelling to ascertain the impact on traffic queueing which would likely exacerbate the existing saturated traffic conditions. The resulting traffic may queue north of Gertrude Street. It could also lead to further delays for the southbound trams in the morning peak hour and traffic and tram delays on Gertrude Street;

(b) Reduce the width of the southbound traffic lanes to 2.5m and allow the inclusion of a 1m bicycle lane. It is noted that these vehicle and bicycle lane widths are less than Australian Guidelines but has been implemented elsewhere in Victoria without issue. By providing an extra large bicycle box it would allow cyclists to store at the front of the queue and utilise the bicycle head start to get ahead of traffic at the intersection when the light turns green. Cyclists are already filtering to the front of the queue even though there are no formalised bike lanes;

(c) Reduce the width of the footpath by 0.4-0.5m coupled with a reduction in the traffic lane width to provide a 1.4m wide bicycle lane. This proposal would detrimentally impact on pedestrian amenity by reducing the width of the path to 2.6m and the pedestrian storage capacity at the Intersection of Victoria and Brunswick Street. This intersection is set to have significantly higher volumes of pedestrian traffic to the tram stop when the new Australian Catholic University building opens. It would provide a 1.4m bicycle lane, though it provides a very narrow but practical traffic lanes. 

Comment: This is one of the greatest motorist-cyclist conflict zones created purely by the disappearing bike lane heading south. Cyclists still filter down the left side of motor vehicles but there is often so little room that cyclists have to use their feet to push their bikes past, wing mirrors are occasionally touched and setting off when the light is green is uncomfortable for both cyclists and motorists due to the squeeze. Some cyclists also regularly filter between the two lanes of cars or illegally down the tram tracks to get to the bike box.

Option (a) sounds too challenging to get through. Option (c) is most desired by cyclists but may also have significant obstacles removing pedestrian space. Option (b) should certainly be feasible and a minimum expectation. Cyclists simply want a continuous lane with sufficient space that they can filter up and fill a larger bike box and safely occupy the left side. It's important to ensure the design safely allows cyclists to proceed straight at the same time as motorists in the left lane heading straight.

Brunswick St meets Victoria Parade

ID7: Speed Limit Reduction to 40km/hr along Brunswick St between Alexandra Pde and St Georges Road, and along St Georges Road between Brunswick Street and the Merri Creek
"Yarra could restate previous requests that VicRoads lower the speed limits on Brunswick Street to the north of Alexandra Parade and St Georges Road from the current 60km/hr speed limit to 40 or 50km/hr. Based on the retail type of businesses in the 1km strip on St Georges Road between Reid and Clauscen Streets, and the high proportion of vulnerable users that are injured, a lowered 40 or 50km/hr speed limit the application could be resubmitted. This section of St Georges Road has a VicRoads Pedestrian Priority designation from Reid to Scotchmer Streets and from Capital City Trail to Clauscen Street.

There is a Bicycle Priority designation along the whole of the route. Both pedestrian and cyclist’s safety would be improved by a reduction in speed limits as injury rates are directly related to traffic speeds. Similar 40km/hr speed reductions have already been implemented on Johnston Street, Bridge Road and Swan Street, which have very low cyclists, similar number of pedestrians and shopping traffic."

Comment: Almost all of the route above Alexander Pde cannot be safely travelled by cars at 60km/hr for most of the day (in particular, 7am to 7pm). This is primarily due to the significant number of pedestrians crossing the road at various places, especially around the shopping strip near Scotchmer St and alongside Edinburgh Gardens. The safety of cyclists would also be significantly improved as motorists often switch lanes to pass turning traffic and at 60km/hr there is insufficient time to avoid or brake for cyclists.

Note that VicRoads has marked the entire section as a priority route for trams and cyclists. And has marked most of this section as a priority route for pedestrians. VicRoads has marked none of this section as a priority route for cars. Consequently, the speed limit should be adjusted to prioritise cyclists, pedestrians and tram passengers. It's also unclear as to why trams and cars must always have the same speed limit, but, if this is mandatory, it should be established for how long trams actually exceed 40-50km/hr on this section.

ID8: Add green paint at 9 intersections that are not currently highlighted 
"There have been some reported incidents involving vehicles turning left and colliding with cyclists, which could be reduced by highlighting the bicycle lane. Green paint is used at conflict locations to highlight to motorists that they need to lookout for cyclists, and for cyclists to be careful in these locations. Green paint has been shown to reduce the amount of conflict between motorists and cyclists at intersection locations. There are a number of VicRoads intersections North of Alexandra Parade that do not have green paint that would benefit including at:
(a) Miller Street; 
(b) Brunswick Street North; 
(c) Watkins Street; 
(d) St Georges Road South; 
(e) Church Street; 
(f) Freeman Street; 
(g) Newry Street; 
(h) Grace Lane; and 
(i) York Street."

Comment: The addition of green paint at intersections north of Alexander Pde is highly-desirable as this does flag to turning motorists that there are cyclists to watch out for. However, the best green paint markings at intersections start sufficiently before the turn, have continuous, white lines either side of the green paint and give the overall impression of a distinct traffic lane that is continuing straight. Vibraline just before the left turn should be considered. Also, consider modifying the intersections using traffic calming measures to slow the speed of turns into side streets. Traffic calming protects cyclists from right hooks too.

544 Brunswick St at Newry St intersection

ID9: Additional Illuminated Speed Limit Signs 
"It is considered that additional illuminated signs could be installed along the route,  particularly at the entry to the St Georges Road and Brunswick Street shopping strips. The large number of conflicts between different users, high activity and distracting commercial signage means that the existing speed signs can be overlooked by motorists. As the 40km/hr speed limit on Brunswick Street south of Alexandra Parade is lower than the Victorian default speed limit of 50km/hr there could be a portion of motorists that are inadvertently travelling above the posted legal limit. The installation of illuminated LED signage would help to inform motorists of the appropriate speed limit in this section of Brunswick Street.

The proposed additional illuminated signs could be dynamic to allow for the lower speeds limit during the peak day periods and a higher speed limit at night time. A speed limit of 30km/hr from 7am to 12 Midnight could be requested due to the high amount of activity during these periods and the number of late night venues on Brunswick Street and in the surrounding area. The speed limit could change back to 40km/hr in quieter periods when there are less traffic injuries from a lower volume of traffic. A similar arrangement could occur on the Brunswick Street north of Alexandra Parade and St Georges Road where the speed could be lowered to 40 or 50km/hr during the day and revert to 60km/hr during the night. This arrangement occurs on Johnston Street."

Comment: As noted in the comment on reducing the speed limit north of Alexander Pde, the maximum safe speed on almost all of this route when busy with pedestrians and cyclists is 40km/hr. Some motorists speed in excess of the 40km/hr limit south of Alexander Pde when possible and this may be due to a lack of awareness. If dynamic speed limits aren't introduced, consider painting the speed limit directly onto the road when it changes. Note that driving above 40km/hr for sections of this route during busy periods is unlikely to increase traffic flow due to the congestion and intersections. Drivers are simply speeding from one stop to the next.

ID14: New Bicycle Lane at the Confluence of Brunswick Street and St Georges Road
"There is no bicycle lane provided for approximately 150m where Brunswick Street and St Georges Road meet. At this location the bicycle lane disappears to accommodate a traffic island that separates the trams and traffic. The lack of a bicycle lane reduces connectivity and safety of cyclists, while creating conflict with motorists travelling up to 60km/hr as the two users are forced to share a kerbside lane. To alleviate the conflict the median island could be narrowed to provide a bicycle lane in both directions that is at least 1.5m. On the southbound direction, Vibraline could be installed to reduce the number of drivers entering the bicycle lane on the inside of the bend."

Comment: It makes no sense for the bike lane on one of the most important and popular cycling transport routes to disappear for 150m. Moreover, the way the bike lane suddenly disappears throws motorists and cyclists into sharing a kerbside lane that isn't wide enough for both - resulting in motorists either passing at unsafe distances or swerving into the neighbouring lane (few slow down to wait behind the cyclist till a safer pass is feasible).

St Georges Rd near the North Fitzroy Bowls Club

The reduction in cycling safety at the missing 150m of bike lane near St Georges Rd is evidence of the importance of bike lanes. Some motorists, driving at 50-60km/hr, pass cyclists with around 1-1.5m distance in this area which would feel very unsafe to most cyclists (see image below). If a vehicle in the adjacent traffic lane was alongside this increases the risk of side swipes or collisions with serious consequences for any cyclist involved.

St Georges Rd near North Fitzroy Bowls Club

4. Additional suggestions for improvements
Some of my own suggested improvements for consideration are:

4a. Smooth and maintain a quality road surface - particularly the area cyclists typically use
- Some parts of this route have rough or bumpy surfaces which detract from the comfort, stability and safety of cycling. Cyclists often may swerve to avoid rough or bumpy surfaces. For example, the bike lane has some very bumpy spots on the east side of Brunswick St just north of Johnson St (i.e. for cyclists heading south). There is also a big bump across the bike lane on St Georges Rd just north of the Fitzroy North Bowls Club. My chain has come off a couple of times going over this bump.

- Roadworks on this route that re-patch the road surface and create bumps, dips or rough spots have been a major cause of the road surface issues for cyclists. It should be mandatory that all roadworks in the bike lane should be resurfaced with adequate smoothness.

- Slippery surfaces need attention including drains, manholes and bluestone pavers. Ideally bluestone pavers, drains, manholes and any other slippery obstacles should be removed from all cycling lanes or critical paths.

CrowdSpot Cycle Stories 2013: #244 - Peter crashed due to rough road surface

4b. Enforce strict Clearway and No Stopping zone compliance
- The clearway and no stopping zones on this route are critical to safe and pleasant commuting by cyclists during peak hours. Unfortunately, some motorists park in these zones when not allowed to - often delivery vehicles, taxis or motorists parking just before the restriction ends (e.g. 8:45-9am).

- Parking in clearways forces cyclists to temporarily merge into lanes being used by cars. The dooring risk is also much higher as limited passing clearance is available.

332 St Georges Rd

4c. Implement measures to reduce right hooks
- This route is a key transport route for cyclists and many of them are often riding significant distances and cannot afford to slow down at each side street to check for right hooks given they have the right of way. Yet, many of the serious injuries to cyclists on this route are caused by motorists performing right hooks into cyclists going straight.

- Green paint, traffic calming, illuminated warning signs, sufficient street lighting and improvements that enhance cyclist visibility are all measures that can reduce the risk of right hooks for cyclists.

CrowdSpot Cycle Stories 2013: #387 - Natalie hit by car doing right cross

4d. Improve bike parking
- Add more hoops just around the corner from Brunswick St. There is a shortage of parking on and near Brunswick St at peak periods, especially parking that is protected from accidental or opportunistic damage or theft.

- Add bike corrals and promote existing bike corrals nearby (Rose St and Fitzroy St). Consider putting bike corrals under cover where feasible.

- Add stickers to bike hoops educating cyclists to use U locks and lock properly.

- Ideally what cyclists want is a safe place to park their bike that is covered from the rain, is not exposed to deliberate or accidental damage and is not at high risk of being stolen. See: Where to park if commuting to Melbourne CBD

Bike Corral outside Grace Cafe, corner Rose St and Fitzroy St

4e. Door Zone education
- Educate cyclists to ride out of the door zone. Inexperienced cyclists often ride in the door zone as they mistakenly feel it is safer than riding closer to cars and trams. A painted warning symbol in the door zone would educate both cyclists and motorists.

CommuteOrlando: DIY Door Zone warning

4f. Filtering education
- A common cyclist-motorist conflict issue during peak periods is when a whole line of cyclists filter on the left side of a car waiting to turn. While it often makes sense for up to several cyclists to filter through if it will then allow the motorist to freely turn, sometimes cyclists will keep tagging through even when there was sufficient time and space to give way. Motorists who have been waiting awhile will often ultimately become impatient, particularly if others are waiting behind them.

- Usually it is a trailing, less experienced cyclists who will be caught by left hooks due to "filter tagging" such as this. They incorrectly assume that because prior cyclists have filtered through safely it will always be safe for trailing cyclists. A road symbol that advised giving way to left turning vehicles may help educate these cyclists.

4g. Through route integration
- The nearest, north-south transport route alternatives to Brunswick St are Napier St and Canning St. Wellington St is also a useful north-south alternative for those riding to or from the east. However, Brunswick St is currently very direct and fast as a commuter route to the CBD and so the alternatives need to be made as direct and fast as feasible.

- The efficiency of the cycling transport route network needs optimising if cyclists who would benefit the most from the safer routes (e.g. Canning St, Napier St) are to find them convenient and also be attracted by a critical mass of other riders.

- Napier Street's attractiveness suffers from the major delays crossing Alexander Pde and Johnson St as well as the fact that the southern end of Napier St does not connect up with a safe, direct route to the CBD.

- Canning St is a useful alternative for those who pass the intersection of St Georges Rd and the Capital City Trail but the addition of a safe right turn and less of a delay waiting for a green light to cross would persuade more cyclists to use it. For those who hit this route south of the Capital City Trail they would need an attractive east-west route to get across St Georges Rd/Brunswick St and Nicholson St to Canning St. There are a few east-west routes that can be improved. For example, Newry St is generally a safe, convenient connector to Canning St but would greatly benefit during peak hour if a "Keep Clear" road marking prevented banked-up, southbound cars from blocking the intersection.

513-543 Brunswick St

4h. Cyclist road rule education and compliance
- A minority of cyclists continue to fail to give way to stopped trams and tram passengers and this is a safety issue as well as lengthening the stopped time of trams as they wait for cyclists to clear. Strategies to educate cyclists are desirable.

4i. Potential reduction in conflicts from cars stopping to parallel park
- A significant cause of cyclist-motorist conflict and temporary safety issues are due to instances where a car is stopped waiting to reverse park. Cyclists are forced to ride around it and temporarily share the lane with motorists as well as negotiate tram tracks.

CrowdSpot Cycle Stories 2013: #390 - Adam stuck in tram track swerving around parking car

4j. Potential methods to reduce motorists driving in or swerving into bike lane
- A minority of motorists continue to drive in the bike lane when unnecessary; for example, just after the Johnson St merge heading south. Or for too long before turning left. Or because a tram is in front of them and so they drive to the left to look longingly down the road even though they have no chance of getting past. Some motorists even block the bike lane deliberately.

- Some motorists also swerve suddenly into the bike lane to go around cars in front turning right rather than wait or properly check the bike lane is clear of cyclists.

- Rumble strips at these key points where driving or swerving into the bike lane is common would be worthwhile. This is particularly important because there are no official bike lanes on any section of this route between Victoria St and Merri creek. Hence, cyclists are not protected by the road rules and nor is enforcement possible (or the fear of fines).

4k. Potential methods to educate cyclists on respecting pedestrian crossings and pedestrian priority
- A minority of cyclists cross pedestrian crossings when the light is red. Some cyclists also won't give way to pedestrians if they determine they are "jaywalking" or don't have right of way. Cyclists should be educated to always look out for and protect pedestrians even if the pedestrian is crossing mid-block or against the signal.

4l. Potential methods to educate cyclists to avoid wheeling bikes on the pavement when busy
- Brunswick St is often very crowded with pedestrians and yet cyclists often wheel their bikes on the pavement which can cause conflict. It's desirable that bike parking be prioritised just off Brunswick St so that there is much less need to wheel bikes along Brunswick St itself.

4m. Potential methods to educate cyclists to not ride on the sidewalk
- Cyclists right on the sidewalk on routes like this typically near intersections or when the bike lane is blocked. Each of the common instances should be addressed through specific measures.

- For example, at the southbound juncture with Victoria Parade, cyclists will only ride on the sidewalk because the bike lane disappears and the cyclist is blocked by a vehicle from filtering past on the left. This can be addressed by creating a bike lane (even if narrow) all the way to Victoria Parade.

- Below the cyclist is likely on the sidewalk because they have come from Queens Parade and there is no other efficient way to get to this intersection at Alexander Pde.

461 Brunswick St

- Where cyclists leaving the Capital City Trail want to turn left to go north on St Georges Rd and don't wish to wait for the green light they can either turn illegally (but safely) left at the pedestrian crossing or they can ride a short bit of sidewalk before riding onto St Georges Rd. Most do the latter. The City of Yarra may as well use the space available to add a connecting bike path or shared path that allows cyclists to go north here. Better still, it could work with VicRoads to see how cyclists turning left at such junctions can be facilitated to dismount the pavement at an angle and merge with the bike lane.

302 St Georges Rd

4n. Reduce dangers caused by motorists trying to get ahead of trams
- Motorists will often swerve across part or all of the bike lane and accelerate to high speeds to overtake trams. This significantly elevates risks to cyclists and pedestrians.

- Motorists behind trams will often drive further to the left than normal (thus impinging on the cyclist's space) so that they can see past the tram down the road - presumably in the hope an opportunity to overtake is coming up. Opportunities to ovetake in these situations are rarely available as generally there are parked cars or cyclists in the way.

- Just north of Alexander Pde a few motorists use the residential streets of Fitzroy North to "rat run" and try and get ahead of trams in front of them (e.g. York St > Rae St > St Georges Rd South > St Georges Rd). Because they've set up a race against the tram, these motorists drive well in excess of the speed limit and put cyclists and pedestrians at greater risk due to their intent on racing through the residential intersections. This could be discouraged through traffic calming the common "rat run" entry points.

CrowdSpot Cycle Stories 2013: #195 - Daniel swiped by motorist overtaking tram

4o. Use measures to reduce the speed of cyclists in danger areas
- On some parts of this route cyclists can easily get to speeds (30-45km/hr) that are unsafe for crossing busy intersections, or when it's wet, or if sudden braking or deviations (e.g. across tram tracks) are needed. It is worthwhile considering what can be done to reduce the maximum speed of cycling in these danger spots.

E.g. Heading north on Brunswick St from Victoria Pde to Johnson St there is a steady gradient that makes cycling at speeds of 30-45km/hr possible for many cyclists. Inexperienced cyclists may choose not to reduce speed wherever necessary on this sections. Below you can see the Gertrude St intersection and how a cyclist travelling at 30-40km/hr in these conditions of reduced visibility and turning vehicles would be going too fast to brake or avoid potential collisions.

51 Brunswick St

Further Info:
City of Yarra:
Brunswick St and St Georges Road Corridor Working Group
Options for Improving Bicycle Facilities Along Brunswick Street and St Georges Road (PDF)
> Bike strategy

The Age: Proposal to curb car traffic in Brunswick Street in favour of pedestrians

Bicycle Network Victoria: Transport based bike routes in Melbourne
North: St Georges Rd - Brunswick St (Lalor to CBD)

NACTO: Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Wikipedia: Cycling infrastructure

Project for Public Spaces