Archive for the ‘Bicycle provision’ Category

Cycling in Mosman

June 12, 2016

Mosman has a reputation for hills and traffic – not the ideal combination for cycling, you would think!

But how wrong you would be. Much of Mosman is flat plateau and the old tram routes provide gently sloping access from the plateau to the foreshores. Traffic is not a problem if you stick to roads that form part of the Mosman Bike Network. This is a connected network of streets that can get you from where you live to where you want to go safely and with minimum stress, even if you are a novice cyclist. You can download a map of the Mosman Bicycle Network here

Network

Read on to find out what you can expect, cycling on the Mosman Bicycle Network

Bicycle Symbols

Our aim in creating the network was to identify streets that were innately cyclist friendly – flat, safe, quiet and scenic – and link them into a network that would provide access to key destinations such as shops, schools, sporting facilities and of course, the foreshores. Where the network needed to include roads that were not innately cyclist friendly, we have used line markings and other strategies to make them so.

PS2All streets that form part of the network have bicycle symbols marked on the pavement at the beginning and. end of each section, and sometimes as ‘reminders’ mid-section. These symbols signal to drivers that they are on a street where bicycles can be expected, that they should look out for them and not get frustrated if they are stuck behind them – after all, it was their choice to ride on a road where cyclists were encouraged when other routes could have been taken.

Conversely, the absence of bicycle symbols conveys to drivers and cyclists alike that cyclists are not encouraged to ride on this road (even though they have every right to do so). Cyclists who do ride on such roads have a courtesy obligation not to hold up traffic. Beyond the strict legal position (which regards cyclists and motorists as equally legitimate on all roads), a nice way to think of it is that on roads with bicycle symbols, bicycles are ‘normal’ but cars are also welcome to the extent that their use does not compromise the safety or amenity of cyclists. In other words cars should behave as guests. On roads without symbols cars are ‘normal’ but cyclists are welcome so long as they don’t distract drivers or trigger stress due to their slowness invisibility or unpredictability.

If some countries if a vehicle/cyclist collision occurs the driver of the vehicle is always assumed to be at fault. This is not the case in Australia but implicitly the level of cyclist awareness and vigilance expected of drivers on roads with bicycle symbols is higher than on roads without.

The Mosman Bicycle Network stays clear of heavily trafficked roads such as Military and Spit Rd. Cyclists should avoid these roads other than at times of light traffic, or times when the kerbside lane has intermittent parking, unless they can keep up to speed with the traffic.

Continuity, Way finding and Reassurance

IMG_0707Whenever an intersection is coming up (and consequently there is uncertainty about where next to continue on the Bicycle Network), arrows are associated with the bicycle symbols. Left, Right, Straight ahead or any combination.

Once through the intersection a further, arrow-less, symbol reassures the rider that they are still on the Network.

At present there is very limited finger board way finding signage for cyclists. Best to look at the map of the network before setting out.

Parking boundary lines

pbWhere the network needs to use roads with significant traffic, parking boundary lines are marked to encourage parking discipline, thus maximizing the space to be shared between vehicles and cyclists.

 

Symbol placement

PlacementBicycle symbols have (mostly) been placed where it is safest to ride. The two biggest risks to cyclists are parked cars opening doors into their path (dooring) and being overtaken with too little clearance, even though legally vehicles must leave at least 1m clearance (and are permitted to cross an unbroken centre line to do so). On some streets with concrete median strips and narrow traffic lanes, symbols are placed mid lane – signifying that cyclists should ‘capture the lane’ by riding mid lane even though this will hold up following vehicles. Examples are Moruben Rd near Punch St and Prince Albert St beyond Queen St, In standard 12,8 m width streets (such as Belmont Rd and Middle Head Rd) the traffic lanes are wide enough for vehicles to overtake cyclists riding on the left hand side of the traffic lane. Bicycle symbols in these streets are placed 1.4 m from the parking boundary line – far enough to avoid dooring but also minimizing the risk from sideswiping. .

Uphill lanes

BHMerge2High speed vehicles and low speed cyclists grinding their way up hills are not a good mix. For this reason when the bicycle network has to include a climb in order to preserve continuity, an up-hill bike lane has been created, using space released by moving the centre line over. Not just cyclists benefit, as on the uphill side vehicles get a lane clear of bikes. On the downhill side bikes can ‘capture the lane’ without inconveniencing drivers as they can move at the same speed as the traffic.. Examples of uphill bike lanes are Bradley’s Head Rd, Canrobert St, Raglan St, Stanton Rd, Upper Almora St and Avenue Rd. At the top of the hill there is a smooth transition into the main traffic lane. Where a bike lane exists you are legally obliged to use it.

 

Cross streets

IMG_0718Cyclists know that they need to be particularly alert at Tee intersections. Drivers emerging from the side street are often focussed on gaps between cars and fail to notice cyclists. Both left turning and right turning vehicles are a hazard. There is no substitute for defensive riding – that is anticipating that you might not be seen, but the risk can be minimised if drivers are reminded that cyclists may be present. On the Mosman Bicycle Network this reminder takes the form of green mini- bike lanes across the intersection. Vulnerable intersections have been treated in this way in Middle Head Rd, Prince Albert St and Raglan St. Others will follow.

Contra flow lanes

IMG_0713One way to minimise traffic on the links of any bicycle network is to allow cyclists access through dead ends and to allow contra flow travel in one way streets. Examples of this on the Mosman Bicycle Network are the dead end through passage between Wudong Ln and Wudong St and between Killarney St and Wyong Rd and the contra flow lanes in Melaleuca and Ritchie Lanes. The latter are placed on the ‘wrong’ side of the road – this was done to maximise the advanced warning drivers would have of the presence of cyclists. The plan is to use green marking on these lanes to further alert traffic. The Hordern Lane bicycle contra-flow is through a shared space so there are no specific markings. The speed limit for all vehicles in a shared space such as Hordern Lane is 10km/h.

Entry point treatments

EntriesWhere cyclists need to enter traffic on a street, either from a shared path or a side street there is a risk of being cut off by cars coming up from behind the cyclist (and making the same turn). On the Mosman Bicycle Network hot spots have been given special treatment to minimise this risk. Examples are the slip lane at the Muston / Middle Head intersection and the protective marking at the Stanton / Spit intersection.

Shared paths

In a suburb like Mosman, with its topological constraints and through traffic challenges it has proven impossible to configure a bicycle network giving continuity of access from every house without resorting to the footpath to link parts of the network. Examples are Spit Rd between Parriwi Rd and Stanton Rd and Military Rd between Bond St and Cardinal St. (both sides). There is also a shared path through bushland from George’s Heights to Rawson Park, from Pearl Bay Avenue to the foreshore and under Spit bridge.

SharedSharing means just that. Please slow down when pedestrians are about and be aware of just how frightening it is for an older person to have a cyclist come up from behind and swoop past. Ringing your bell as a warning can be just as frightening. A better approach is to wait until you have wide clearance, then overtake the pedestrian very slowly or even dismount. Riding at a safe speed is your responsibility but there is a legal requirement for cyclists to give way to pedestrians and give them at least 1m clearance. Be particularly careful around dogs and small children as they are often unpredictable in their movements.

Apart from these designated shared paths it is against the law to ride on the footpath unless you are accompanying a child under 12. There may be a temptation to illegally ride on the footpath along Military Rd between Cardinal St and Cremorne Junction between Bickell and Medusa St. These are two places where Council recognises that shared paths would provide greater network continuity, but on balance has chosen to maintain the status quo. Consequently the legal position is that you must dismount. The same applies to using a signalised pedestrian crossing unless there is a bike signal as well as a little man. Better to walk your bike if there is any risk at all of colliding with a pedestrian.

Roundabouts

roundaboutThere are some roundabouts on the Mosman Bicycle Network, for example on Belmont Rd, Bardwell Rd, Bradley’s Head Rd and Moruben Rd. The approach to the roundabout is always narrowed to a 3 m lane. Cyclists should look behind them, then signal a move to ‘capture the lane’ when it safe to do so, then enter the roundabout when it is clear of traffic.

Dedicated Bike Paths

DedicatedThere are just two of these in Mosman and both are bi-directional. One skirts Pearl Bay from Fig Tree walk to the Spit and the other through Spit Reserve from Parriwi Rd to Spit Bridge.

 

Bike Parking

At key points on the Mosman Bike Network you will find bike racks. Capacity will be continuously expanded to meet demand. Current locations include Civic Square, Bridgepoint, Mosman Junction, Mosman Wharf and Balmoral. . Council will be rolling out bike parking rings on parking signs in Military and Spit Roads.

Enjoying your ride

We are all creatures of habit so you probably instinctively reach for your car keys whenever you leave your house. But next time it’s a nice fine day and your trip destination is local, consider riding your bike. (If it has been sitting unused in your garage for a while, perhaps you should prepare by getting your bike serviced at the local bike shop). Here are some suggestions about how make that first bike ride enjoyable.

Map out your route before you ride before you begin by studying the bike map. You don’t need to ride the whole way – walking is just as healthy as riding and it might be better to park your bike and walk in congested areas.  Unlike driving where you always take the same route, with cycling you might choose your route depending on time of day (hence traffic conditions) or even what your energy levels are (a short hilly route or a longer gentler climb).

If you need to make a right hand turn, but don’t feel confident about moving to the centre of the road, make  a  ‘hook turn’ when traffic in both directions is clear.

On the road be particularly on the watch out for cars entering from or turning into driveways of side streets always assume you haven’t been seen until it is clear that you have.

Do you bit to keep the blood pressure of drivers and pedestrians you encounter non-elevated by being courteous and predicable.  It goes without saying that you should obey all the road rules . And don’t forget that your good cycling behaviour will be a good model for children.

Part of being courteous (and it is in your own interest as well) is wearing a fluoro vest or jacket and having good head and tail lights (the latter is a legal requirement)

Legally you need to carry photo ID and wear a helmet.

The mere fact that you are seen riding will encourage others to ride and the more people ride the safer riding will be for everyone.

Recreational Rides

The Seven Bay Bash is a glorious almost 30 km work-out ride through Mosman taking in Pearl,Hunter,Chowder, Taylor, Athol, Mosman and Quakers Hat bays, which exploits the Mosman Bicycle Network. There are many coffee opportunities along the route and toilets at The Spit, Balmoral, Chowder Bay and Mosman Bay. Download the map here.

There is a shorter recreational ride that avoids the hills associated with moving from plateau to foreshore and reverse apart from one descent to The Spit and an ascent up Parriwi Rd. This is an ideal family ride. You can download a map here.

Commuter routes
For commuters from Manly to the city there are two alternative routs. One through North Cremorne and the other South Cremorne. You make the choice at the top of Parriwi Rd coming from Spit Bridge

What next?
We confidently predict that “Build it and they will come’ will mean ever increasing numbers of cyclists in Mosman. Once that happens it will be easy to justify further
development of the Mosman Bicycle Network. The next major works will be to increase cyclist safety along Rangers Ave.  The RMS has also funded an upgrading of the North Cremorne commuter rote between Spit Bridge and St Leonards park.

Need to build confidence?
Bike North runs regular rider confidence building courses for adults ans City of Sydney runs courses for groups of school children. Check the Council website for local cycling events.

 

 

 

 

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NSW Transport Master Plan discussion paper

April 5, 2012

The stated vision of the NSW Government is for a truly integrated transport authority which drives better transport outcomes for NSW. Right now the community is being invited to have their say and be part of a log term solution for transport in NSW. The plan will identify a clear direction for transport over the next 20 ole of walking years building on current commitmemts. Specifically it will identify the role for each of rail, road, buses, ferries and walking in meeting future needs. The plan will also develop a freight network that will maximise the benefits to the NSW economy.

This intitiative of the state government is to be welcomed. Its gestation can be traced back over a decade to a report developed by the Warren Centre at the University of Sydney which sketched out a vision for Sydney’s Transport and a pathway to reach that vision. More recently the SMH commissioned Ron Christie to come up with a plan for Sydney’s Transport – you can read my submission to that enquiry here. The NSW goverment’s thinking has clearly been influenced by these two studies and also the shake-up of transport in London that led to the formation of Transport for London (TfL). It covers not just Sydney but all NSW and not just public transport of people but all transport of both people and goods.

Ever the optimist, I am encouraged by what I read in the discussion paper, particualrly it recognition of the vital role of walking and cycling in the transport mix. You can read my submission here.

BRT in Bogota

May 19, 2011

A station on the Bogota BRT

SHOROC’s comprehensive solution to our transport woes includes as one of its components a Bus Rapid Transit system which will run along the Spit Road Military Road corridor. So I was very interested to hear Professor Juan Pablo Bocarejo talk on the Bogota BRT, delivered recently as part of the City of Sydney’s City Conversation Program. I can recommend watching the video of the system. For Bogata, a city of 7 million, BRT was a much more attractive option than a metro in the sense that it has one tenth of the cost yet can move the same volume of people with the same average speed. The buses have their own right of way and stop at “stations” with raised platforms. The buses themselves have doors along the entire side so loading and unloading is very fast. The red BRT buses serve the trunk routes but free green buses circulate in the local neighbourhood of each station to feed passengers into the BRT. As well as using buses as feeders, citizens of Bogota are encouraged to walk and ride their bicycles to the stations. Extensive, free secure bicycle parking is provided at each station. (more…)

The many faces of volunteering

May 12, 2011

Last week I attended the graduation and mini-expo of the latest Young Entrepreneurs Business Mentoring Program that has been running in Mosman since late January. The program which is supported by NSW Government, Mosman Council and the Mosman Chamber of Commerce has involved a group of small business owners in the 18-30 demographic, and connected them with mentors. The participants get 10 hours of one-on-one mentoring as well as 15 hours of business skills development workshops. I was impressed by the enterprise and creativity of the participants as evidenced in the stories they told, and even more by the dedication and enthusiasm of the mentors. (more…)

Our cities – why we need a national urban policy

February 2, 2011

Infrastructure and Transport minister Anthony Albanese has just released a discussion paper which provides some encouragement that the Commonwealth is recognising its responsibility to play a key role in funding transport and other infrastructure for our cities. To be fair, this process was commenced by the Rudd government with the establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the release of an excellent set of Planning Criteria for Cities (Appendix A of the report), but the push by Dick Smith and others to challenge the wisdom of pushing more and more people into our cities without the necessary infrastructure has elevated the significance of the issue.

We have until March 1 to make a submission. At the end of the document there is a comprehensive set of questions that I found were very useful in structuring the submission that I intend to make. There are two areas where I want to lend my support to the policies being canvassed, and one that I will be arguing against. (more…)

It can happen!

November 3, 2010

One of the satisfactions I get from travel, is going to distant lands and finding actually in place and working well something that I would like to see in Mosman. This is especially the case when I have contemplating fighting for some of these things on Council but have been told by all and sundry that it could never work and even if it could there would be insurmountable political barriers.

I have collected a set of captioned photos to illustrate.

Churches that are leading the way in renewable energy; street lights that are extinguished between 1 and 5 am; a locality with no garages or on-street parking; traffic undergrounded to create a magnificent boulevard for bikes and pedestrians (now there is an idea for Spit Junction); bus shelters that don’t impede bicycles sharing the verge with pedestrians; big-box shopping centres seamlessly integrated into heritage towns (food for thought here when considering how Spit Junction might be developed); Naked streets where heavy trucks and small children “negotiate” shared space; senior citizens preferring to go shopping on a bike (with walking stick attached): young mums preferring to use the bike to take themselves and two toddlers to the shops; cycling infrastructure so good that kids can ride to school; new footpaths that are wider than the old to make life easier for pedestrians, despite the increased cost; electronic bollards to restrict access while allowing buses and resident through; demand management being used to control congestion; what happens when hedge heights are unregulated; bikes on buses; stealing traffic lanes to make cycleways; volunteer drivers for community buses; reclaiming the streets for people; alternative ways of achieving medium density; elegant bridges.

SHOROC’s Traffic and Transport Consensus

September 27, 2010

What a welcome development that a consensus has emerged across all SHOROC councils on how traffic and transport infrastructure should evolve in our region. The development of the Dee Why Chatswood link, initially as a grade separated bus rapid transit system and ultimately as a rail link as an early priority is to be applauded. This will link the Northern Beaches with Macquarie Park and Parramatta – the jobs and population centre of gravity for Sydney. Equally important is the solution the plan offers to the capacity problems of the Wynyard bus terminal. The plan envisages re-opening the Wynyard tram tunnel and running some form of high capacity, high frequency electric transit system, using existing tunnels, to an interchange in Neutral Bay. Rather than going across the Harbour Bridge to Wynyard express buses from the North West and Northern Beaches would transfer their passengers at Neutral Bay.

Where the plan needs further development in my view is the notion of having a reversible median bus lane to take express buses from another interchange at Seaforth TAFE to Neutral Bay. I certainly agree that buses need to be given priority access to the available road space on this corridor in peak hours. But the median lane idea is too inflexible and I am fearful that it would be coupled with the removal of the remaining parking along this corridor. Without this parking, this vibrant strip would very rapidly turn into a traffic sewer. My preference would be electronic lane signage, embedded in the road, of the type used to allocate capacity on the Harbour Bridge to extend along the entire corridor from the Harbour Bridge to Warringah Mall. The signage would enable real time allocation of lanes not just to the direction of flow, but to different uses from parking, to general traffic, to transit lanes, to bus lanes. (more…)

Making Mosman Cycle Friendly – 1

September 16, 2010

Up until now, what little attention has been given to the needs of cyclists in Mosman has focussed on commuters. But if we are ever to get to the point where most people, whatever their age, fitness and experience are to feel confident about using the bike for local trips, then we need to turn our attention to providing routes that are safe and “feel” safe. On my recent trip I spent a lot of time in cities that have recognised the enormous health and environmental benefits of cycling and have been successful in pushing up the percentage of local trips made by cycle to respectable levels. Each city is of course unique in terms of its topography, history, culture and built environment, but an approach taken across the board to encourage cycling has been to engineer and environment where there is a network of quiet streets, permeable to bikes but not to cars. Complementing this network, of course, are special provisions for cyclists on the unavoidable busy streets which inevitably need to negotiated in getting from A to B.

In this post I want to report on what I learned about how in other places these networks of quiet streets have been established. In most places I visited, and it also applies to Mosman, the desire by residents to eliminate through traffic from their streets had provided an excellent foundation. The standard methods used to eliminate, discourage, or at the very least, slow down traffic in residential streets such as road closures, one way sections, chicanes, speed bumps and road narrowing also serve to provide streets that are both stress free for cyclists and attractive for pedestrians.
From a cyclists perspective, the best ride of all is along a flat smooth surface of a street that is a dead end for cars but permeable by bike. The total absence of through motor traffic is what makes the street so attractive. Second best is a street where if there is through traffic, it is one way (but contra flow cycling is permitted. If two way motor traffic is unavoidable then the layout of the street should signal to drivers that they need to negotiate their way through rather than that they have priority. I saw many interesting examples of how this can be achieved. The entrances and exits to the streets are narrowed using kerb build-outs often combined with roundabouts. In Vancouver very attractive gardens are established on the kerb build-outs and roundabouts, each one in the care of a named resident. In Konstanz where the streets are in any case narrow, parking on alternate sides of the road introduces a natural chicane. In Berlin, where the streets are as wide as Mosman streets the trafficable proportion has been reduced by changing he parking on one side of the street to 90 degree angle parking. (more…)

Proposed Pedestrian Bridge at The Spit

August 6, 2010

I am really alarmed about the proposal from the RTA to build an elevated pedestrian bridge at the foot of Spit Hill. This project is just one of the many components of the Spit/Military corridor improvement project. This initiative of the NSW government is Plan B now that the widening of Spit Bridge is off the agenda. A permanent right turn at Central Avenue is another component of the project (one which Council is implacably opposed to). The works being proposed at the Spit involve relocating the entrance to the Spit West car park to the site of the existing traffic lights at the foot of the hill. This is a sensible move as at present to exit and travel South from the car park is extremely dangerous, as is turning into the car park from the North.

The RTA claims that designing a traffic light cycle that can handle traffic turning into the car park from the North and out of the car park to the South as well as into Parriwi Rd and the Spit East car park from the South and from those two locations going North AS WELL as handling the pedestrian traffic crossing Spit Rd at that point is all too hard. They claim that the only solution is to take pedestrians out of the picture by forcing them to use stairs or a ramp or a lift on either side and cross over the top of the traffic. (more…)

Increasing and Improving Walking and Cycling

July 8, 2010

At last Council meeting Simon Menzies and I succeeded in getting walking and cycling back on Council’s agenda. Although references to walking and cycling are in Mosplan and Mosman has a 2005-10 Bike Plan, it is quite a few years since the demise of the Mosman Bicycle Advisory Group. What Council approved on July 6 was the setting up of a small working group. It consists of the Manager Assets and Services, two community representatives chosen on the basis of the contribution they can make, and two councillors. Councillor Halloran was elected with Councillor Sherlock as alternate. I was elected Chair. The initial task of the group, which has been named the Active Transport Working Group (ATWG) will be to come up with a strategy for increasing and improving walking and cycling in Mosman, then ensuring funds are allocated, and then monitoring implementation. (more…)