Bike boulevard idea gets thumbs down

At a meeting last week, Deputy Mayor Stephanie Coates proposed having a temporary bicycle boulevard on King William Street from Bert Wright Park to Riverside Gardens for the one-day Autumn River Festival.

Signage and sectioning-off would cost $10,000-$12,000 according to the officer’s report, with a low-key option $2000-$3000.

Cr Coates said she wanted to take the community on the journey of street transformation by trialling ideas before installation of major infrastructure.

“We have an opportunity here to do this if we work fast,” she said.

Cr Coates said the Council could put in temporary signage for less money than stated in the report through sponsorship from Bike Week or Yolk Property Group, for example.

However, Cr Sally Palmer called the proposal “childish” and said it was “dangerous” to close a district distributor road like King William Street.

“For six hours of enjoyment, you’ll cut people off from getting there,” Cr Palmer said. “It’s going to be hell on wheels.” She also asked why the motion was brought up at “such a late hour,”. The event is to be held on April 3.

Crs Catherine Ehrhardt, Chris Cornish and Terry Kenyon said they liked the concept of a temporary bike boulevard but thought the timeline was too small.

“If we do it, we should do it well,” Cr Ehrhardt said.

Bike boulevards aim to encourage more people to cycle by creating slower speeds and sites that connect to a cycling network.

According to the report, bike boulevards were usually installed on low-traffic and slow roads and King William Street had a 60km/h speed limit and 12,000 vehicles a day.