The Shaky Return of Swanston Street
Following what seemed like a really long construction process for a roadway, Swanston Street between LaTrobe and Lonsdale has emerged from its cocoon into a big beautiful butterfly...or has it.
First, let me go on record to say that I made this call years ago: Bikes and pedestrians don't generally mix well. Swanston Street is a crucial north south connection for cyclists. The bike paths of the northern cycle-heavy 'burbs of Brunswick, Carlton, Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Coburg all funnel into Swanston Street. It's one of the view safe (ish) ways to cross the Yarra as a cyclist, and its the most direct route. With that said, the concept of upgrading Swanston Street for cycle and tram priority sounded great when it was announced years ago (following old man Doyle's backflip on the issue).
But the chosen option seems almost to encourage pedestrian cycle clashes. It blurs the line between road/cycle lane and footpath and forces cyclists to slow down completely and pedestrians to not know if they are standing on bike lane, road, footpath or tram stop.
The Age is going to town on the whole issue and for some absurd reason I can't help but feel sorry for Doyle.
People need to understand that Swanston Street to cyclists is a freeway. It's not ever going to be a slow moving thoroughfare, its a commuter backbone as important to cyclists as the Eastern Freeway is to car drivers.