Residents slam ‘nonsensical’ bike route through their ‘hood

By Carolyn Webb

March 31, 2019 — 5.30pm

Caulfield North residents have slammed plans for a bicycle super-highway to go through their neighbourhood.

Some locals fear it will endanger pedestrians, remove parking and even affect property values.

They have formed the Save Inkerman group to oppose a three-kilometre leg of the proposed trail from Dandenong to Melbourne’s CBD, saying thousands of cyclists whizzing by each day could reduce access to their own driveways.

Glen Eira council has yet to settle on a design for its section of the trail.

But it has proposed a route heading north-west from Caulfield Station along Normanby Road, and then west along Inkerman Road and Inkerman Street to Hotham Street.

The council could not say whether parking spaces would be removed, but that is a key concern of the community group.

Lenny Gross said he would have to close his delicatessen, Lenny’s, on Inkerman Road, and his mental health wellness centre next door, if parking spaces in front of them were removed.

‘‘If they take those spots away from me, I don’t have a business,’’ he said. ‘‘The reason people come to me is because they can park out the front.’’

Robyn Taft, who lives in a street off Inkerman Road, said the plan was ‘‘about the council being seen to be green. I think they don’t really care about the residents’’. Ms Taft said any restriction on parking would make it ‘‘a lot harder for people to go about their daily lives’’, including elderly people walking to synagogues and shops. ‘‘We support safe bike paths. There is a bike path here [marked bike lanes along Inkerman Road], and perhaps more can be done to make it safer. ‘‘But for people trying to get in and out of their properties, it’s going to be very difficult, particularly if there’s going to be a potential several thousand bikes an hour at peak hour going up and down here.’’

Real estate agent Rochelle Butt, who owns two properties on Inkerman Road, including her home, said the new bicycle plan was ‘‘nonsensical’’. She said property values could be be affected if residents can’t park on the street and side streets would be overloaded with cars.

The council wanted everyone to ride bikes, but that wasn’t realistic. ‘‘My mother’s 82 and lives around the corner. She’s not going to visit me on a bike,’’ Ms Butt said.

The protesters want the bike path to instead go north-west up Normanby Road from Caulfield station, following the tram line along Dandenong Road, then on to St Kilda Road via Wellington Street.

But Bicycle Network senior policy adviser Garry Brennan said the Inkerman route was the most direct and cyclists could join it from Balaclava, Alma and Glen Eira roads.

Making the street greener could have flow-on benefits like increased real estate prices.

Keen local cyclist Herschel Landes favours the Inkerman Road route, saying bike current bike lanes are too narrow, increasing the risk of ‘‘dooring’’.

He said encouraging people to ride bikes would ease traffic congestion, be useful for small trips to shops and provide a quick route to Monash University Caulfield campus on Dandenong Road. Mr Landes, a prominent Richmond retailer who helped run the Melbourne-wide No Clearways campaign in 2008 to 2010, said Dandenong Road had too many trucks and cars to be an alternative. Using the tram reserve would mean removing foliage, while cyclists would encounter major road crossings.

Ron Torres, the City of Glen Eira’s director of planning and place, said the Inkerman Road corridor aimed ‘‘to take pressure off our roads by providing a safe and convenient opportunity for more people to commute to work by bike’’.

Residents have until Monday to submit an online feedback form about the plan to Glen Eira council.

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/residents-slam-nonsensical-bike-route-through-their-hood-20190331-p519ef.html

COMMENT

Here is another example of council’s incompetence in conducting what it euphemistically calls ‘community consultation’. First off you publish a document telling residents that their parking will disappear. Next you get officers to door knock people and tell them the same. Not at any stage do you provide any  specific details such as: proposed design, how many car parks will disappear, cost, stats on numbers of bike users, numbers of cars, etc. Then you scramble to undo the damage you have created via the Silver request for a report.

As we’ve said above. Genuine consultation can only begin when residents are privy to valid information. Otherwise it is all a sham and an ungodly waste of ratepayers’ money. The result is a divided community and plenty of ill feeling. Congratulations councillors on achieving another black mark.

Finally we should point out that no other Integrated Transport Policy that we have read has the temerity to say that they are aiming for a 50:50 reduction in car use. These other councils would apparently work on the basis of reality and not spin or pipe dreams!