Way back on February 17, 2009 the City of Perth‘s council approved the concept plan for The Esplanade, including changes to Barrack Street. The concept plan can be found here. Part of this concept plan included 2.4 metre dedicated cycling lanes on Barrack Street. The image below, taken from the above City of Perth concept plan illustrates the proposed lanes.
Let us now fast forward to April 2010 and we are told that
Works on The Esplanade between William Street and Barrack Street are almost complete. Resurfacing of the north side of the road is to be taken up in May, the south side resurfacing was completed in March. Relocation of street light poles is complete. Line marking and signage works are scheduled to be complete in May.
Currently kerbing, paving and conduit laying work for the footpath on the east side of Barrack Street is in progress.
Modification works at north west corner of Barrack Street / The Esplanade intersection, to cater for two left turn lanes from The Esplanade to Barrack Street, is scheduled to be completed at about the middle of May. Works will then move to the east side of Barrack Street.
Hmm no mention of the bicycling lanes and no evidence of them on the ground; so what happened to them? Well that seems to be the million dollar question that the City of Perth is unable to or reluctant to answer. As announced on September 3, 2010
Barrack Street between The Esplanade and St George’s Terrace opens to two-way traffic from 12 noon on Saturday 11 September 2010.
The change means motorists will be able to turn south onto Barrack Street from St George’s Terrace when travelling westbound. At the same time, changes to traffic signals on St Georgeâ€™s Terrace at Barrack Street and William Street will mean pedestrians must cross at traffic signals, across traffic and not diagonally across the intersectionâ€¦.
The changes are part of the City of Perth’s vision to transform the CBD into a more vibrant, liveable and pedestrian friendly area. Research shows two-way streets reduce travel distances around the city and improve pedestrian safety by lowering vehicle speeds.
So I think we can assume that bicycles lanes which where part of the February 2009 concept plan are no longer and that the City of Perth once again seems to have a disregard for cyclists.
This then raises questions about the City of Perth and its 2010 – 2021 Bicycle Plan. Why is the Council bothering? It seems it cannot be bothered acting with integrity and adopting its own approved concept plans so why should it be any different with the bicycle plan? The City has called for and received 1200 responses to its survey – it has the community interest – has it already treated those community members with contempt?
In my view the cyclists of the Perth should not hold their collective breaths expecting to much to come from the Bicycle Plan; the City’s track record speaks for itself.
I have emailed the City of Perth and the Councillors of the City of Perth for an explanation as to where the Barrack Street bicycles lane have gone. Should I receive the courtesy of a response, I will update this posting. In the meantime I urge you to also email and ask. Show them that we care about our City and its bicycling infrastructure, show them they we deserve to be treated with respect.
Update September 8, 2010: I received an email response from Mr Ray Dunne of Mills Wilson Communication Consultants. The email follows:
The City of Perth is committed to improving cycling connections in the CBD. A two-way cycle lane is planned for Barrack Street. The new cycle lane will link Riverside Drive to Wellington Street. The cycle lane will be constructed in one go as opposed to in stages. Planning for this is now underway.
Regretfully it seems extending one the courtesy of a reply is not something befitting of the Councillors of the City of Perth. I can only assume that rudeness is the standard fair at the City of Perth.