Perth City interim cycling report to Council

WK239/10 CYCLE PLAN PROGRESS UPDATE

BACKGROUND:

FILE REFERENCE:                                P1022728

REPORTING OFFICER:                         Renee Smith

RESPONSIBLE DIRECTOR:                Peter Monks, Director Planning and Development

DATE:                                                       29 September 2010

MAP / SCHEDULE:                            Schedule 1 – Figures for draft Cycle Plan Progress

Update

At its meeting held on 28 June 2010, the Works and Urban Development Committee:-

“1. noted the information relating to cycle hire schemes as detailed in the report dated 14 June 2010;

2. endorsed the further investigation of public cycle hire schemes as part of the City of Perth’s Cycle Plan.”

This report provides an update on the progress of the development of the draft Cycle Plan for the City of Perth.

LEGISLATION / STRATEGIC PLAN / POLICY:

Strategic Plan Movement Transport and Parking

Plan the integration of movement options for the city incorporating all modes of transport, including walking and cycling

DETAILS:

Cycling in the City of Perth has increased substantially in the last ten years as demonstrated by the Department of Transport’s latest statistics which indicate that approximately 9,000 individuals cycle into or through the CBD at peak times.

The City of Perth has been developing the draft Cycle Plan since May 2010. The plan will include the following objectives and targets for cycling in the city:-

  • The provision of increased end-of-trip facilities.
  • The development of a strategic cycle network.
  • High quality education and training.
  • The consideration of best practice land use planning principles.
  • Improved infrastructure and safety measures.
  • Identified opportunities for integrated transport programs and projects.
  • Effective encouragement and promotion activities.

The key activities that have been completed during the past five months include:-

  • A review of the policy context for the draft Cycle Plan regarding end-of-trip requirements taking into account the City Planning Scheme 2.
  • Engagement with key stakeholders (Department of Transport, Main Roads WA, adjoining local governments and cycle advocacy groups).
  • A survey of CBD commuters regarding public end-of-trip facilities.
  • A review of feedback from the Perth Bicycle Network Review and hazard reports for the Cycle Network within the city.
  • An initial Public Consultation Survey.
  • A review of accident and bike theft information.
  • An audit of the existing cycling infrastructure in the City of Perth.

Important findings from the key activities are discussed below. Public End-of-Trip Facilities Survey

The survey was carried out online in July 2010 and targeted inner city commuters. The aim was to ascertain demand for cycling facilities in the city at various locations, the costs involved and the expected levels of quality. The provision of public end-of­trip facilities is included as an action in the City’s 2008-2012 Four Year Strategic Plan.

Eight hundred and sixty nine responses were received indicating that there is public demand for a high quality, low cost end-of-trip facility. It is recommended that such a facility be located within the central CBD (Barrack Street, Elder Street, Mounts Bay Road and Wellington Street) as this area has the highest density of cyclists (refer to Schedule 1 – Figure 1).

The survey responses showed that the provision of public end-of-trip facilities would increase the appeal of cycling to a greater number of female cyclists and also potentially to a younger demographic. It was also indicated that the establishment of an end-of-trip facility would help to encourage individuals to cycle or use public transport instead of driving into the city.

Initial Public Consultation Survey

This online survey was carried out in August 2010 and was designed to capture feedback from the individuals who currently cycle in the City of Perth area, would like to cycle in the future, or wanted to help make Perth a more cycle friendly city.

One thousand, one hundred and seven people responded that they had cycled in the last six months, 60% cycle three times a week or more and 39% indicated that private vehicles would have been utilised if it had not been possible to cycle for these trips (refer to Schedule 1 – Figure 2).

Out of the 1,225 responses received in total, 6% of respondents indicated that they intended to start cycling in the next six months and the majority of current cyclists intended to increase how often they cycle (refer to Schedule 1 – Figure 3).

The survey responses show that there is a demand for cycling infrastructure within the city and 65% of respondents indicated that this would be the most important improvement. Maintenance of infrastructure, education and training (such as “share the road” campaigns) also rated as significant improvements that should be taken into consideration.

The following routes are being considered as part of the development of the cycle network for the draft Cycle Plan:-

  • St Georges Terrace.
  • Wellington Street.
  • Barrack Street.
  • William Street.
  • The Causeway.

Additional routes that were highlighted as part of the survey include:-

  • Hay Street.
  • Murray Street.
  • Milligan Street.
  • Increasing capacity along the Riverside Drive paths.

A significant issue was raised during the two surveys regarding the cycle access over the Trafalgar and Mount Street bridges and this issue is now being addressed as part of the development of the draft Cycle Plan.

Regarding the issue of maintenance, the survey results showed that the incidence of glass on cycle paths was the most common complaint, and in particular, the areas of Northbridge, the Narrows Bridge and around the train stations was of concern. Glass was also the main cause of complaints identified in the Hazard Reports review. Opportunities to improve the clean up of glass, and other maintenance concerns raised, such as resurfacing paths, flooding and lighting, is also being considered as part of the draft Cycle Plan development.

The survey results provided comments regarding education and training and specifically referred to driver education and shared path etiquette. Prospective methods to promote “share the road / path” messages will be included in the draft Cycle Plan.

The provision of end-of-trip facilities was identified as a major improvement requested by new cyclists and for occasional cyclists to increase the frequency of their cycling trips. A lack of appropriate short stay cycle parking was a frequent comment by the survey respondents and a number of locations were suggested for new bike racks including the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre, the Harbour Town shopping complex and the Swan Bell Tower. Further opportunities to improve cycle parking provision will be identified through the draft Cycle Plan.

Review of Accident and Bike Theft information

Main Roads WA and the WA Police provided information regarding the incidence of cycling accidents and bike thefts between 2005 to 2010.

The number of cycling accidents has remained relatively steady over the last five years with approximately 45 incidents reported each year (approximately one occurrence a week). The majority of accidents are attributed to the causes of turning movements and parked cars / car door openings and these issues will be considered in the draft Cycle Plan.

The reported accidents have also been mapped in order to identify hotspots across the city. The locations identified include:-

  • Milligan Street and St Georges Terrace.
  • Hay Street and Harvest Terrace.
  • George Street.
  • Aberdeen Street / James Street / Fitzgerald Street.
  • Loftus Street.
  • The University of Western Australia.

These locations broadly reflect the conflict points also identified in the recorded hazard reports and additional comments from the surveys. Additional areas for investigation in the development of the draft Cycle Plan include:-

  • Barrack Square.
  • The City West Train Station.
  • The Narrows Bridge and Causeway.
  • Wellington Street and Roe Street.
  • Riverside Drive.

Despite an increase in thefts during 2009 (refer to Schedule 1 – Figure 4), the number of bike thefts reported has remained relatively stable over the past five years. The majority of bikes are stolen from streets, footpaths or car parks and residences. An upwards trend in East Perth was noted with a decrease in thefts in Crawley over the last two years.

Public Transport and Cycling

A significant number of requests were received during the surveys to allow the transport of bikes on trains during peak times and also to have secure cycling facilities, showers and lockers supplied at train stations. Discussions with the Public Transport Authority will be required in regard to these requests.

Signage

Way finding by bike, especially between Northbridge and the city, was mentioned by a number of the survey respondents. Improving the quality, frequency and location of way finding signage will be included in the draft Cycle Plan.

Planning Requirements

The cycling end-of-trip requirements currently included in the City Planning Scheme 2 have been compared with that of other capital cities, Austroads Standards and the predicted demand for cycling in the City of Perth in the next 10 years. This highlighted that City of Perth’s planning requirements are set at a lower level than those of other capital cities and are also below the Austroads standards. This accounts for the shortfall in the end-of-trip facilities provided in the CBD. Amendments to Policy 5.4 of the City Planning Scheme 2 are likely to be recommended as a part of the draft Cycle Plan in order to increase the provision of cycling end-of-trip facilities, other public facilities and complementary measures.

Motivation for Cycling

According to the survey respondents, fitness and health reasons are the most significant motivation for cycling and other positive factors affecting cycling in Perth include:-

  • The weather.
  • The river paths.
  • The cycling community.
    • The ability to save money and reduce stress by cycling and not having to drive and park in the city.

Cycle Hire Schemes in Australia

Melbourne’s cycle hire scheme commenced in June 2010 and is provided through a contract between the Department of Transport and RACV, in partnership with US-based urban design group, Alta. The $5 million scheme has approximately 600 bicycles across 50 bike stations within the City of Melbourne. Subscriptions cost $50 a year, $8 a week or $2.50 a day. The bikes are intended for short trips only and the first half hour is free, with charges accrued every half hour thereafter.

Brisbane City Council’s CityCycle bike hire scheme began in October 2010 with 2,000 bikes and 150 docking stations. The scheme is operated by JCDecaux (which also operates the Paris Scheme) under a 20 year contract in exchange for advertising space. Subscription rates are $60.50 annually, $27.50 quarterly and $11.00 daily. Once a user is subscribed, any ride of less than 30 minutes duration is free of charge.

By law, it will be a condition of hire that helmets are to be worn by users. Both schemes are providing helmets for corporate and selected annual memberships at present and Melbourne’s scheme has recently added helmet vending machines with helmets costing $5.00 each, with a $3.00 refund on return to local 7-Eleven stores.

There are now close to 650 annual subscribers to the Melbourne scheme and almost 30,000 trips have been taken, while more than 650 subscriptions have already been received for the Brisbane scheme since the start of the scheme in October 2010.

The compulsory helmet laws have not been received favourably by users of the Melbourne cycle hire scheme. However, the subscription figures from Brisbane would suggest that the size of the scheme (bikes and docking stations) may have more of an influence on interest and usage. This is also reflected in the success experienced by other international cycle hire schemes.

It should be noted that the Brisbane scheme faced strikes from couriers and concerned residents as approximately 150 parking spaces (including loading zones) were converted into CityCycle parking station locations.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

There are no financial implications related to this report. COMMENTS:

The development of the draft City of Perth Cycle Plan is being progressed as a matter of priority. As the initial stage of development has been completed, the City now needs to progress technical and stakeholder meetings to review the current findings and to finalise recommendations for consideration within the draft plan.

Increased media interest in cycling initiatives has also been noted over the past five months, with the City gaining positive exposure during the promotion of the Initial Public Consultation survey.

Capital Cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, have had Cycle Plans in place for a number of years and the implementation of these plans has also been in the media spotlight in recent times.

Despite initial criticism regarding implementation of cycling infrastructure in some locations, these capital cities remain committed to increasing cycling. From AECOM’s Inner Sydney Regional Bicycle Network Report, Sydney’s investment in inner city cycling will see an economic benefit of over $507 million in the next 30 years, compared with $179 million in costs. There will be estimated savings of close to $100 million from reduced congestion alone.

The importance of a strong business case for implementation, best practice design principles, thorough community consultation, alongside public and political support for cycle plans has been highlighted through the experiences of Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. The City of Perth’s Vision 2029 outlines a commitment to a balanced and sustainable movement system and the draft Cycle Plan will be positioned to strongly contribute to the achievement of this vision.

Perth’s low population density and the compulsory use of helmets has been identified as a significant challenge for implementation of a cycle share scheme. However, both the Melbourne and Brisbane schemes operate under the same challenging environment and due to both capital cities operating under different providers, different ‘sized’ schemes and different contracting arrangements, an opportunity will arise in the near future to see if one model proves more successful in the Australian context.

It is recommended that the City continues to liaise closely with Melbourne and Brisbane regarding the progress of both cities’ cycle hire schemes. Closer investigation of the opportunities presented through this type of cycle hire scheme should be considered within the draft Cycle Plan for the City of Perth.

Moved by the Lord Mayor, seconded by Cr Limnios

That the Works and Urban Development Committee receives the Cycle Plan Progress report dated 29 September 2010.

The motion was put and carried

About Heinrich

Promoting everyday cycling