Continuing the merriment southbound on the Merri Creek Trail, the Moreland council presents in their map a simple arrangement crossing under St Georges Road.
What is actually on the ground is an entirely different matter however. The bridge carries two lanes of traffic in each direction shared with trams and onroad bicycle lanes but the Merri Creek Trail completely avoids integrating with any of this infrastructure and simply gives up. As does the northbound bicycle lane which is routed off into a shared path so that cyclists can cross at traffic lights to gain access to the shared path that runs north up the road median.
The northern end of the bridge on both sides was redeveloped through 2009, upgrading the existing onroad bicycle paths, adding more footpaths, and adjusting the Merri Creek Trail to its current alignment. But while the roads are all neatly eased into each other with curved approaches the trail has been left to terminate at sharp angles and with poor visibility into the footpaths.
Hiding off into the bushes is the shared path end sign requiring cyclists to dismount and walk across the bridge, without any connectivity from the trail to the on road bicycle lanes walking is the only option. Again the shared path is of inadequate width at 1200mm (4 feet) while overgrown with dangerously deficient sight lines. Even if there was a connection to the onroad lanes, southbound trail users (northbound on the bridge) would have to wait for the traffic lights to cross only to be dropped back onto footpaths and walking. Following the map as drawn by the council it becomes clear why the shared path is terminated, with lampposts planted in the footpath along the length of the bridge, and now a tram stop relocated to the busy road:
Trams run on the tracks in the middle lanes of the road and open their doors toward the kerb, holding traffic behind them with nothing more than flashing lights so the passengers can cross over the road to/from the tram, the same 4 lanes of traffic which require traffic lights to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross safely.
This view toward the signalised crossing showing the bicycle lane terminating into a shared path on the extreme left of frame and the Merri Creek Trail continuing on the immediate right, requiring lifting the bicycle over the temporary hose. Throwing piecemeal “improvements” into this bridge has left it confusing and poorly connected, while the juxtaposition of new and decaying paths highlights the myopic spending from the councils. That this path continues to be promoted as a bicycle route while is pushes cyclists into conflicts with pedestrians is simply deceitful promotion by the councils trying to score multiple metrics against their limited spending. Quality infrastructure suitable for cyclists and/or pedestrians is still a long way off despite it having been within grasp of the budgets and constrains seen here.