New bike lanes stir debate

CYCLISTS are rapt, but not everyone appears happy with Naracoorte's new network of bike lanes.

The topic was again raised at last week's Naracoorte Lucindale Council meeting, with councillors not only questioning the large width and overall value of the lanes, but also the apparent lack of action taken on opposition to them.

The lanes have been painted into place on several key streets around the town in recent weeks, including Rolland St, Park Tce, Gordon St, Cedar Ave and Butler Tce.

That has prompted a number of letters to the Herald, comments on social media and the latest debate at last week's council meeting.

Opposition to the proposed lanes was aired as early as July last year, when residents of Rolland St presented a petition arguing that they didn't want to lose parking along their street or for it to become too narrow for vehicles.

At last week's meeting, Cr Malcolm McLean questioned the community consultation process on the issue and asked what action had been taken in response to the petition.

He said hadn't heard about any action taken by the council, and now that the lanes had already been established, it appeared the residents' opposition to the proposal had been ignored.

"I've had a lot of feedback from people, and they're not happy about that," he said.
Cr McLean added that people felt adding the lanes made roadways too narrow and dangerous for children on bikes.

Also: "There seems to be a lot of confusion (about) when and where you can park."
Director of operations and technical services Phil Burton replied that council had considered the concerns raised by residents and had reviewed the original concept plans.

He said the council had compromised by installing "part-time bicycle lanes" - which were only closed to parking during times when school children were coming and going - instead of full-time bike lanes.

Cr Ken Schultz said the bike lanes on Cedar Ave were a "full car width" and meant the road "just seems to be a massive bike lane", but despite this, children were ignoring it and riding on the footpath.

He said there was enough room to have a designated parking lane, a bike lane and then open road, as existed in city areas.

Mr Burton said the lanes were standard shared parking/bike lane width, allowing room for cars to park safely.

"That's probably not understood," Mrs Vickery said. "People think 'That's a bike lane, you can't park there', but you can park there."

Mrs Vickery closed the debate by saying the community needed time to learn and accept the new rules.

After the meeting, council CEO Helen Macdonald clarified the times that vehicles can park in the lanes.

The new shared cycling/parking lanes are closed to parking between 8-9.30am and 3-4pm.

The council is in the process of erecting signs with the designated non-parking times.

Ms Macdonald explained the lanes had been implemented as part of the council's bike/walking master plan, which was adopted in 2007 and updated in 2011.
"Times are mostly worked in relation to the times that school kids will be going to and coming from school," she said.

Some leniency may be shown on parking in the lanes initially, but motorists should be warned that the council's fees and charges guide lists the penalty for stopping in a bicycle lane as $239.

"The development of the plan involved consulting with stakeholders."

What do you think about the new bike lanes? Comment below.

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