Dear good folk out there,
I write to let you know that the Sandy Bay Walking and Cycling Project is alive and well. Please sign your name to keep it moving forward here: http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/support-hobart-city-council-to-build-the-best-sandy-bay-walking-and-cycling-project-possible
Unfortunately Hobart City Council has made a bit of a blunder in recent weeks producing an unprofessional and biased amended proposal in comparison to the original concept that does not resemble the successful cycleways in other parts of Australia and the world.
Thankfully Tassies best bike riding advocates are working hard to help Hobart City Council get the project back on track and resembling the success story it can be.
Help them get the best result by signing the petition to encourage Hobart City Council to conduct its progress with transparency and professionalism:
It is important that Hobart City Council gets this project right. A success or failure could determine the future of other potential bicycle facilities connecting people from A to B in Hobart and Tasmania’s cities and towns. The proposed retention of a couple of dozen car parking spaces that councils observations show are rarely used would turn the project from a high class facility catering to the majority of bike riders, to a widened foot path and narrowed traffic lanes posing far higher risk to all road users than the current conditions on Sandy Bay Road.
There is a plan to make bike riding along Sandy Bay Road an experience so enjoyable and safe that any family could ride along it without hesitation, any elderly couple could, any student could, you and I could. It would be the nicest part of the ride to work, the best part of riding to Nutgrove Beach on the weekend and a highlight for any visitor to Hobart.
What follows is my personal opinion. Unfortunately I do not have the time or resources to provide a rigorous analysis of recent events that would pass under academic scrutiny. However, having contributed significantly to the 3 year consultation process and worked for Bicycle Tasmania in developing a campaign plan for the development of bicycle facilities in Tasmania I feel I am somewhat qualified to pass judgement on the latest developments. Admittedly with an enormous bias to this project getting more people cycling more often and enjoying the collatoral health benefits. I have also ridden Sandy Bay Road between Taroona and Hobart at a leisurely speed of around 20km/hr almost everyday for the last three years.
Unfortunately Hobart City Council is poised to sabotage four years of preparation and consultation into a project that was going to ensure that walking and cycling become a popular form of transport and recreation along Sandy Bay Road in the future.
All public information relating to the project can be found in detail on Hobart City Councils website:
As a regular rider and driver of Sandy Bay road over a number of years I am extremely disappointed that a project that was going to deliver great outcomes for the Hobart community is being manipulated into one that maintains the status quo of a car dominated road with insufficient infrastructure to make cycling attractive to people of all ages, not just the brave and fearless.
At a recent Special Infrastructure Services Committee meeting on Monday the 27th August an altered proposal for the Sandy Bay Walking and Cycleway Project was foisted upon unsuspecting Alderman and given in principle approval. They were led to believe that the amended proposal was an acceptable compromise. It is not! The significantly changed design proposal , not only ignored the overall findings of the three year consultation process, but fails to follow current best practice Australian and international design standards to provide equitable amenity and safety for motorists, pedestrians and bike riders.
The agenda for the special infrastructure services meeting can be found here at the following link:
The amended design proposal is an unprofessional, biased and rushed attempt at providing justification for retaining car parking at to over provide for the minority of respondents who opposed the project. The proposal report contains numerous claims that have no supporting evidence and is a slap in the face to the people who made an effort to contribute to the original consultation process.
These developments provide a disturbing view into what, up until now, has been a democratic process, and highlight the susceptibility of council officers and alderman to be easily influenced in acting against the recommendations of a comprehensive consultation process and the best interests of the city due to petty personal opinions or relationships.
Please see the following for more details:
The agenda for the Infrastructure services committee meeting for the 28th March 2012, Item 5, provides a comprehensive background and summary to date of the developments around planning of the Sandy Bay Walking and Cycling Project. It can be found at the link below:
Please see this extract from the 16th April Council Meeting which is not included in section 3.1. of the Amended design proposal. This clearly words that council is to proceed with detailed design drawings and documentation for section one of the proposal in line with the concept taken to community consultation.
The following can be found at: http://www.hobartcity.com.au/Council/Council_Meetings under the 16th April Meeting Minutes, Pg 22-23.
10. SANDY BAY CYCLEWAY – SECOND STAGE 2010 CONCEPT DESIGN – COMMUNITY/STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION RESULTS AND APPROVAL TO PROCEED WITH SECTION ONE DESIGN DRAWINGS AND DOCUMENTATION – FILE REF: 37-2-1
Ref. Open ISC 5, 28/3/2012
That: 1. Approval be granted to proceed with detailed design drawings and relevant documentation for Section One of the proposed Sandy Bay Cycleway project, which runs from the Sandy Bay Rivulet to the Casino, in line with the concept taken to community consultation.
2. Further reports be prepared on each of the five sections of the proposed cycleway which address the concerns raised during the community consultation process.
3. Further reports be prepared to address potential sources of external funding.
COCKER, BURNET That: 1. The Council approve, in-principle, the Sandy Bay Cycleway project and the design and engineering work be undertaken for all sections of the Sandy Bay Cycleway, to the shovel-ready stage.
2. The Council concurrently begin marketing the project to other levels of government for funding.
Flaws in the amended proposal are that it:
Has not had input from bike rider representation
Does not provide any evidence to define or support its claimed philosophy of equitable allocation of road space.
Makes false claims that the original proposal creates conflict between cyclists, motorists and residents accessing their properties, but provides no evidence for how the new proposal will improve conflict points
Changes the design so much from the original proposed in the consultation that it renders the consultation irrelevant.
Does not refer to the results of the consultation accurately and refers to issues not found in the consultation results.
Recommends changes which are not supported by Australian or International best practice design guidelines and provides no evidence or examples supporting the changes.
Incorrectly states that the original proposal was designed for cyclists travelling at 30-45km/hr.
Makes claims about the risk reduction of increasing traffic lane width without any supporting evidence.
Makes claims that there will be less chance of cyclists taking up the whole traffic lane in the new proposal without any supporting evidence.
Makes claims that a design that is the same for the length of Sandy Bay Road without changing is somehow superior to one that changes to suit the road widths and uses without citing any evidence to support this.
There is no bike rider representation on the community reference group, or reference to bike riders as directly affected stakeholders. (2.2). This summary mentions directly affected stakeholders but does not define what is meant by ‘directly affected stakeholders’ or provide any detail as to how they are linked to the consultation findings.
Issue 2: The amended proposal report claims to draw from a philosophy of equitable allocation of road space for all road users and consistency of design (2.3). Unfortunately it does neither.
Issue 3: The amended proposal report (2.5) claims that ‘in the original proposal cyclists would be in conflict with motorists on Sandy Bay Road and with residents accessing their properties’. This ‘conflict’ claim is not reflected in either the SKM Risk Analysis or Midson Traffic reports in the consultation.
Issue 4: The amended proposal report (2.6) claims that engagement with directly affected stakeholders has been deferred until endorsement has been obtained. The fundamental issue with this is that the three years of consultation was not based on the original proposal, not the amended one, therefore rendering the results of the consultation not applicable to the new proposal. Many bike riders would not support the amended proposal due to the increase in risk it would create.
Issue 5: The amended proposal report (3.3) claims that the major issues for residents in loss of parking and conflict with ‘high speed cyclists’. While loss of parking is a major identified issue in the consultants report, ‘high speed cyclists’ are not identified as a major or minor theme in the consultants report. There were several other major issues which the project has been shown to improve but these are not acknowledged and will not be altered by the amended proposal.
Issue 6: The amended proposal report (3.4) claims that ‘with some modification to the original proposal, it is possible to largely overcome these major issues’. ‘It is considered that the modifications to the design give a more satisfactory overall treatment for cyclists and other road users on Sandy Bay Road’. This claim is misleading. Firstly the modifications are major, yet they are understated. Secondly, there is no evidence provided, or examples from elsewhere that show that the modifications proposed with improve the treatment for cyclists or other road users.
Issue 7: The amended proposal report (3.5) claims that ‘the original proposal was for a 30-40km/hr cycling facility’. This is a blatant mistruth and should be immediately corrected. There is no reference to such cycling speeds being maintained on the facility in any of the project planning documentation or analysis. Any bike rider would know that such high speeds for the average bike rider would be impossible on such a facility considering the gradient. Regardless of the facility design cyclists travelling at such speeds would most likely be on the road.
Issue 8: The amended proposal report (3.6) claims that it ‘aims to provide ‘on road’ traffic lanes such that high speed cyclists can effectively share the road with other traffic’. The traffic lanes proposed will be significantly narrower than the current traffic lanes proving such a statement to be incorrect.
Issue 9: The amended proposal report (3.7) claims that ‘If not enough road space is provided within the one lane in each direction, then these cyclists would, it is predicted, unduly delay motorists ‘stuck’ behind them if cyclists take the full lane as they can legally do’. This is another unfounded claim. Rarely to cyclists take a full lane of the road unless they determine it is appropriate for their own safety.
Issue 10: The amended proposal report (4.3) claims that ‘It is preferable to reduce the amount of ‘chopping and changing’ of design types over the length of Sandy Bay Road and preferably to adopt a consistent design ‘type’ for the length of stages 1,2 and 3. This is a claim with no evidence behind it, because of the variations of the road width and activity along its edges it is absolutely acceptable to have a design that varies and adapts to the conditions. One size does not fit all when it comes to the sections of Sandy Bay Road.
Issue 11: The amended proposal report (4.4) claims that ‘If cyclists use the road traffic lane, as cyclists have a legal right to do, then in all probability any other motorised vehicle cannot pass the cyclist. In this event, a motorist would need to follow the cyclists probably at a speed below the speed limit. There is a concern that this ‘in builds’ conflict between road users’. On most roads in Tasmania in order for a motorist to pass a cyclist travelling at a low speed at a safe distance they do so when appropriate often cross the centre line to do so. Such a hold up is only ever for a very short amount of time, and is not a major issue as claimed.
Issue 12: The amended proposal report (4.4) claims that ‘A better way to manage the two very different road users – motorists and cyclists – may be to aim to provide wider traffic lanes so that cyclists and motorists can share the traffic lane for mutual benefit’. This ignorant comment completely ignores the whole justification behind providing appropriate bicycle infrastructure to separate bike riders from motorised traffic and therefore significantly reduce risk while also reducing potential confluct.
Issue 13: The amended proposal report (4.5.2) claims that ‘It is considered that these widths (2-2.5m) for pedestrians and cyclists are reasonable. This is not supported by Austroads guidelines for bicycle facilities.
Issue 14: The amended proposal report (4.7.4) claims that the three roundabouts suggested for Sandy Bay Road would not be necessary and the generally satisfactory ‘status quo’ of intersection control along sandy bay road would be maintained. This ‘generally satisfactory’ intersection control is not supported by the Midson Traffic report or crash data for the road.
Issue 15: The amended proposal report (4.8.3) claims that ‘There may be a perception that the amended proposal is seen as a lower standard cycling facility. In a sense that is correct, however, probably the original proposal gave an unrealistic expectation of space and operating speed for cyclists. This is another baseless claim. The new specifications show that not even the bare minimum space or separation will be provided for bike riders and therefore the project will most likely increase the risk when riding on Sandy Bay Road.
Critique of the Design Specifications
The original design had the cycleway separated from the pedestrians and moving motor vehicles and it provided a similar level of service to the Intercity Cycleway. It catered for a wide range of riders from the fit and fearless to the timid and inexperienced. Using the Intercity Cycleway as an
example, riders who previously used Main Rd shifted over to the cycleway as it provided increased levels of comfort and safety without compromising time and efficiency to use it. This should be the aim for a cycleway on Sandy Bay Rd. With the original design for Sandy Bay Rd, the removal of car parking adjacent to the cycleway improved sight distances for drivers entering and existing driveways and the cycling space being provided was generally high quality and uninterrupted.
One of the main issues with the original design (apart from loss of carparking) were the shared zones in front of the church and Infant school. There were legitimate concerns over conflict between people getting out of parked cars or using the footpath with cyclists riding past, which is what a
lot of the negative feedback was based on. This has not been resolved with the new proposal. Rather it extends the problem along the entire length of the project.
The plan doesn’t do much to improve on existing conditions for cycling or encourage new riders. What is proposed for road and footpath cyclists are both very low quality and prone to risk and conflict.
The proposed wider footpath with linemarking paint to delineate space for bike riders and pedestrians will offer more space than what is there now but provides no buffer between people walking and those riding a bike. Pedestrians are also likely to ignore linemarkings and walk on the cycleway section. You could save taxpayers $3.3M by painting a centre line down the middle of the existing footpath and call it a multi-user pathway.
- Existing riders using the road will still have to mix it with traffic with no defined cycling space. Sandy Bay Rd will still be the domain of the fit and fearless but they will have less road width than what is there now to share with cars due to the widened footpath.
- No separation between footpath and cycleway apart from linemarking paint. Pedestrians are likely to walk on the cycleway section causing inconvenience to riders and discomfort for pedestrians.
- No separation between the parked cars and cycleway. The cycleway will be blocked every time a passenger opens a car door and gets out of a parked car. Issues at the Infant School are not resolved.
- Driveway crossovers will create unpleasant dips along the length
of the cycleway.
Ultimately the new design won’t encourage new riders, it will maintain the existing risks and discomfort experienced by footpath and road cyclists and potentially see $3.3M wasted.
Thanks for your interest
ACT NOW TO HOLD HOBART CITY COUNCIL ACCOUNTABLE TO COMPLETING THE PROJECT
Contact Bicycle Tasmania for more information
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Write to or phone Hobart City Council General Manager Nick Heath
Write to or phone Hobart City Council Alderman
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