DONCASTER HILL PED&CYCLE PLAN ABANDONED

Despite being endorsed by Councillors and approved by council engineers, after years of promoting the shared path circuit plan with expensive brochures and consultation etc., Manningham council had abandoned the scheme in 2009 due to safety concerns thought to have arisen from the excessive slopes of the area.

David Graham  Ex Manningham

David Graham
Ex Manningham   Now GTA

Unfortunately all that is left of the original plan, according to the One Step At A Time attached document, is a 250 metre shared path from the Civic grounds through to the Westfield Car park. David Graham who helped design the plan is now a director at GTA Consultants. During his tenure at Manningham City Council between 1999-2004,  David was involved in the implementation of the Doncaster Hill Strategy and associated plans. He also prepared scoping reports for a variety of projects including Doncaster Hill Pedestrian and Cycling Strategy Manningham Arterial Road Improvement Strategy  blackspots and bicycle treatments, project managed road improvement projects, developed and implemented LATM schemes and provided advice to Council regarding

parking, traffic and transport issues

New Travel Plan Around Doncaster Hill Click to Enlarge

New Travel Plan Around Doncaster Hill
Click to Enlarge

Travel Plan around Doncaster Hill Click to Enlarge

New Travel Plan Around Doncaster Hill
Click to Enlarge

The One Step At A Time attachment contains the website address with access to travel information including the Manningham Cycling Plan. The Bus lanes in Doncaster and Williamson’s road are to be shared with cyclists. But there are still safety issues with the shared paths and the steep terrain in some areas  which could  be a problem for inexperienced riders. There are areas where cyclists will have to dismount and wheel their bikes up some of the steep sections.

But there may other problems where council can be held accountable that need to be addressed;

Currently, the following outrageous conditions generally prevail:

It is an offence for anyone over the age of 12 to ride a bicycle on the footpath.  However, the Australian Road Rules allow the authorities to create a Shared Bicycle Path (SBP) and invite all cyclists to ride upon them.

Few if any Councils have undertaken detailed (independent) risk analyses or pedestrian safety audits

  • There are no speed limits
  • There is no offence for speeding on a bicycle in Victoria (and most other jurisdictions)
  • The only offences the authorities can prosecute are “ride, negligently, recklessly, or furiously”. Penalty $54.  These offences are very difficult to prove and enforce, especially as there are no speed limits.
  • There is no insurance.  Pedestrians hit by a cyclist on a SBP have no claim against the Motor Accidents Authority as they would if they had been hit by a motor-vehicle.
  • Cyclists are not required to display number-plates or be licensed and are almost impossible to recognise especially when most are wearing helmets and sunglasses.

“In 2002, Maria Guliano (see S&G advice), was struck by a cyclist on a SBP, resulting in a severe traumatic head and brain injury.  She was forced to sue Leichhardt Council and the RTA.  The matter was settled out of court.  An expert witness (engineer) was of the opinion that the speed travelled by the bicyclist of 20km per hour was unsafe for a SBP.

Cyclists are required to give way to pedestrians at all times on a SBP.  Yet many Councils erect signs advising cyclists to ring their bells.  This frequently frightens pedestrians and creates a most threatening and unfriendly environment.

2003 PedCyc Plan

The above link was the first publication showing full details of how roads were to be narrowed to make way for wider footpaths to accommodate both walkers and riders. No mention of gradients.

2010 PedCyc Plan

The above link is the last of four publications. Page 13 shows that the original pedestrian/cycling route has been abandoned and reduced to a proposed walking path (shown in pink) on the existing footpath!!    (thanks to David W. for the above links)

The Doncaster Hill dual path was quietly abandoned in 2009 due to safety issues.  At first glance it appears the Pedestrian/Cycle  plan had been retained but the 2009 map below clearly shows the previous dual path, now indicated by a red broken line, is now a pedestrian circuit route.  (Click to enlarge legend and map)

Dual Path Converted to Pedestrian Route in red

Dual Path Converted to Pedestrian circuit  in Red

Steep Slope in Short St Click To Enlarge

Steep Slope in Short St
Click To Enlarge

Legend indicating  pedestrian Circuit in red

Legend indicating pedestrian Circuit in red

9 Responses to “DONCASTER HILL PED&CYCLE PLAN ABANDONED”

  1. Arthur L. says:

    They surely knew the plan was ludicrous because of the gradients but they (Manningham) were in a position where they had to present something to show that the Doncaster Hill strategy had all the basic requirements (to facilitate cycling and walking) in 2003 to qualify for admission into the 20/30 Activity Centre program and obtain funding. I don’t think the state authority gave a damm about the veracity or practicality of the circuit route just as long as there was a plan put in front of them. It took nearly seven years and the waste of a substantial amount municipal funds before the circuit plan was abandoned. We all had a bit of a chuckle when they belatedly sent two officials out (a mandatory procedure) from the State planning dept to meet the residents. It was quite a rowdy meeting with people interjecting and many speaking out about traffic and parking etc. One outspoken resident presented the official with the cycling publication and asked that they inspect the cycle route and judge for themselves on its safety etc. Six months later we got this ridiculous response “The Panel acknowledges that the shared paths will be too steep for most bicycle users. This is due to the steep topography, which is a physical impediment to easy walking to the core of the activity centre, being Westfield Shoppingtown. This consideration, however, does not obviate the need for a system of shared pathways to provide adequate “connectivity” through and within Doncaster Hill”.
    Arthur L

  2. David Willison. says:

    What was the point of marking a footpath as a proposed pedestrian path (in pink) isn’t that what footpaths are used for?
    David Wilison

  3. Nick. says:

    How the cycle circuit was ever considered on shared footpaths is a mystery to me. Back in 2004 I had written to the Manningham CEO Mr John Bennie warning him not to continue with the dual use of footpaths because they were not safe and council could be exposed to litigation. The safety of residents exiting the high density buildings had to be considered as had the danger to cyclists from cars leaving the apartment buildings. Fortunately it was scrapped but it took council nearly six years before they dumped it.

  4. Iris Chang says:

    It is unbelievable the measures that were employed by the council consultants to conceal the steep gradients in their report. One method used was to photograph the road from above using a high ladder to make the street look flat. My friend who live in the area had seen it happening early one Sunday morning.

  5. Anonyme says:

    The plan for a ped/cyc circuit path was cancelled in 2010 due to public safety concerns but council would not admit it… below is the “Word Salad” statement they released to the public.
    “The Doncaster Hill Pedestrian and Cycling Plan (February 2010) was developed following a review of the initial plan, prepared in 2003, and following extensive consultation with the community and other stakeholders”.
    “The purpose of the Plan is to identify future works to be undertaken, ensure stronger links to public transport, and respond to health and social elements of pedestrian and cycling issues and opportunities, and to facilitate the delivery of these works and initiatives through the Actions Plan”.
    “It will be used to guide decision-makers and other relevant key stakeholders, at the state, regional and local level regarding these works and initiatives, and will play an important role in being used as a basis for securing future funding”.

  6. Spokes says:

    I suspect that Council’s insurer intervened on this poorly conceived dual path strategy. Footpaths should be for the exclusive use of pedestrians not cyclists. In some States, adult cyclists are explicitly prohibited from riding on a footpath unless there’re special circumstances, like supervising a child cyclist. The key issue is the perception of danger and how this affects peoples’ confidence in walking. Pedestrians quite understandably worry they’ll be seriously injured if struck by a cyclist. An adult rider travelling at say 15 kph has three times the momentum of the average pedestrian walking at 5 kph. The same cyclist riding down a steep grade at 25 kph would have more than five times the force of impact on the body of a pedestrian.

  7. Travel Boy says:

    Doncaster Hill is not a suitable location for an Activity Centre because it will always be car driven. Side streets are too steep for cycling and even the young and fit are not walking up the slopes. This is reflected in the ABS statistics which confirm that only 4.9% of Hill population are walking and 0% are cycling. Despite recent improvements in their frequency and numbers only 14.7% are catching the Buses from Doncaster Hill. One glance at the map is enough to show any competent traffic engineer that Doncaster Hill is not suitable for road vehicles because its street layout does not provide alternative exit routes for traffic dispersion e.g. a street grid/network.

    • Hepburn says:

      Doncaster Hill can be a hostile environment for pedestrians because there are not enough safe crossing points on Doncaster Road. If a pedestrian overpass was built people would be encouraged to walk, particularly if direct access to Westfield Shopping Centre, from Doncaster Road, was provided.

  8. Edified says:

    Doncaster Hill “Urban Village” Doncaster Boulevard?

Leave a Response to Spokes

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