William Street in the city of Melbourne has recently been updated with the much publicised protected bicycle lanes, where in the clearance mandated by Austroads is actually added between the on road lane and parked cars.
Replacing the existing wide traffic lane and a part time bicycle lane with parallel parking at other times, the new arrangement of a single lane of traffic and kerbside parallel parking with the cycle lane in-between appears to make better use of the space until you actually try and ride the route. The intersection treatment is inconsistent along the routes length with this example being the easy “default” of keeping the status quo where the old bicycle lane was also terminated. Confusing matters entirely is the line painted 700mm off the kerb, completely not a bicycle lane! See the end sign up above the pedestrian entering the road? While trying to concentrate on staying upright amongst the merging traffic and errant pedestrians it took several passes through here to even notice it. Why the line is needed to further narrow the lanes for all road users we’re unlikely to know.
So now instead of riding out in traffic around the parked cars while sharing the wide lane as before the upgrade, cyclists are corralled behind a broken line and forced to give way coming into the intersection. The downward priority of bicycles continues in the guise of “improved” cycling facilities.
Of note is these intersections contain Melbournes famous hook turns to accommodate the tram traffic running down the median, cars turning right first pull to the left and wait across the entering traffic before proceeding when the lights change to the opposite aspect. Boxes are marked where the cars should wait, but there is no indication for whether cyclists should pass in the traffic on the right of the waiting cars or pass with the pedestrians on the left avoiding the possibility of the waiting cars pulling out in front of them. A few examples of these should appear on the blog soon.