Vicroads are doing some good stuff. While some cynics might think of them as all about cars, over the years they’ve increased their emphasis on smarter use of limited road space resources, and have steadily improved facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.
And I know from talking to contacts there that they’re thinking very carefully about good transport outcomes. Their SmartRoads strategy is a good example of the direction they’re headed.
So to is their proposal to narrow Mountain Highway in Bayswater when the level crossing is removed, to improve conditions for pedestrians, including shoppers.
They’re not perfect — their proposals for Punt Road/Hoddle Street raise concerns: despite apparently getting a lot of feedback about it, there seems to be a plan to move the southbound 246 bus stop further away from Richmond Station, making it almost as bad for interchange as the northbound stop… and they’re certainly not fixing the latter.
Vicroads’ Kew HQ
I happened to be walking past their head office in Kew a few weeks ago. Perhaps ironically it’s on the site of the old Kew railway station, which was a branch line connecting with the Ringwood line at Hawthorn. The last train ran in 1952.
I was wondering how they treat non-car travellers in and around their own HQ.
But what about actual practical facilities for non-car users?
There’s a bike path out the front. It’s not very long, but it does seem to link to paths towards the city along nearby Stevenson Street.
And there’s a bus stop right outside. But this bus route only stops here twice a day. Literally. It’s not a general purpose route; it seems to be aimed at a specific target demographic of people going to a specific destination at a specific time. This makes it near unusable for most other people, I suspect. (This is the same bus route which once resulted in Hawthorn getting a top score for livability in the transport category, because there were bus stops… just not many bus services.)
Nearby there’s another outdated (two operators ago) bus stop sign for one of the schools services. According to current operator Transdev, all these routes have been renumbered since October 2015 — from 1xx to Kxx, so the information isn’t even correct anymore.
But no matter… if Vicroads workers can’t use the bus that stops right outside, at least they can catch a tram from nearby Kew Junction… which (as shown by the picture at the top of the post) is served by low-floor trams, but has no accessible platform stops. (Other accessible bus routes do stop nearby.)
Alas, the traffic light between here and the tram stop is one of those that only gives a green man if the button is pressed (at least on weekends when I was there). And if you miss the start of the parallel green for cars, you have to wait many many minutes for the next one, because the cycle is so long, as Denmark Street is a major road whereas Wellington Street is minor.
Maybe it doesn’t work that way on weekdays. (And note the green lantern was out. If only someone would report it to Vicroads so it can be replaced…)
As I said, I know attitudes at Vicroads are very favourable towards public transport, walking and cycling, at least among their people that I encounter.
How this translates into action though… well, clearly at their own HQ, it could be worse, but with even some relatively minor upgrades, it could be a lot better.