new line work on resurfaced road

Missed Opportunities

Resurfacing a road is an unusual occasion where changes to the linework cost only the design effort, a tiny fraction of additional expense can bring great improvements in safety or throughput. But being Melbourne the solution is just to repaint the existing design no matter how inefficient or out of date, so the road operators take this awful design:

scraped road prior to resurfacing

And replace it with an identical layout:

new line work on resurfaced road

There is a hint when the bicycle lane sign does not fit in the bicycle lane, but once the paint is down its far too expensive to change it. Looking in the reverse direction you can see the roadwork vehicles parked in the carpark behind the bus stop (both of which lack any connectivity to footpaths).

scraped road prior to resurfacing

This section adjoins to the left a church and a school sports field, both of which have off street parking but during regular events the bicycle lane becomes ad-hoc parking. At 2000mm (7 feet) this is less than the recommended minimum 2300mm (8 feet) width for parallel parking and leaves larger vehicles hanging over the line into the traffic lane. Again the new linework is an exact replacement of the old.

new line work on resurfaced road

The bus stop misses the minimum width of 3000mm (10 feet) with its 2000mm (7 feet) allowance and leaves busses hanging out into the lane squeezed against vehicles sitting in the undersized median turning lane. To illustrate, a cross section at the bus stop is presented with the existing dimensions first.

different options to divide a road into lanes

Without eliminating the channelised median turning (considered a safer design for motorists) or space to fit a bicycle lane the second example widens the parking to the minimum width and redistributes the vestigial 900mm (3 feet) shoulder to provide minimum widths for the median turning and a wide shared lane. The standards guide from Austroads is a little more specific about the adjoining bicycle infrastructure.

a bicycle lane on the major road [should] always be continued through unsignalised intersections

Which could be achieved in the last example even while including an appropriately sized bus stop, and maintaining bypass for traffic around vehicles turning right by sharing a bicycle lane rather than having a dedicated lane for the purpose. Throughout this length of road there are continuous examples where such minor changes in linework had the opportunity to eliminate substandard widths and make improvements for all road users, but all is now lost for another 20 years until the road is resurfaced again.


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