Letters to the editor - April 2017
30 Mar 2017
Is Docklands News interested at all in the attached images, showing four young men who flew a drone on NewQuay at 7pm on Saturday, March 4, directly in front of the Boyd residential tower - without any regard for the right to privacy of the residents of that building?
The first image shows the four standing as a group watching their aircraft in flight, while in the second the man in white (partially obscured by a balcony of the Boyd) reaches up to catch the vehicle as it came down.
They later (7.20pm) flew their drone from the jetty in front of Cargo Restaurant (although only over water so there was less reason to object to that), before departing the scene at 7.23pm.
I wonder what view the Melbourne City Council takes of these activities and whether it has procedures in place to protect residents or visitors to Docklands from invasion of privacy or safety in the event that someone is accidentally struck by one of these aircraft.
About bikes I
I read your news item of February 28 about the bike riders on NewQuay Promenade. This is an issue that deeply concerns me.
I regularly walk from the top of Harbour Esplanade to Rakaia Way along the promenade, most particularly during the peak bike traffic periods in the morning and evening.
I have now seen two instances of pedestrians being hit by riders. The most concerning was a four-year-old child one morning. His family was from Sydney and they were taking a morning stroll along the promenade.
It was sickening and, upon witnessing the speed with which the cyclist was travelling and the way in which the child was hit, I was surprised the child was not seriously hurt.
The family was in shock and kept repeating the mantra that they thought their child would be safe to wander with them as there are no roads. The cyclist, after stopping briefly, resumed his ride without leaving details.
Every now and then I perform a count. The record is 37 cyclists passing me from the top of Harbour Esplanade to Rakaia Way. And during winter, they do not like to ride on the slippery boardwalk part, thus narrowing it into the compact concrete portions. These are, by and large, not local residents but those taking a shortcut. And by taking a shortcut, I mean the type of people that like to ride fast.
As a local conveyancer, I have the regular opportunity to meet people buying and selling in Docklands and in particular NewQuay. It gives me the opportunity to talk about what people like and do not like about the area. The racing cyclists at all hours of day and night is a very common subject. I could probably even pass on the name of several people, but no doubt you will receive numerous responses from your article.
The solution is simple – multiple, crisscrossed bollards at numerous locations along the promenade. They exist all over the world in mixed-use locations on promenades and boardwalks for the same purpose and do not affect slow riders, the disabled and those with prams. Changing the light sequence for the main bike path will not work – the boardwalk is more pleasant and there is more room to race and overtake a slower cyclist.
Based on what I’ve seen, and the number of families with children, somebody will get seriously hurt.
I’m more than happy to meet/chat with any person or councillor to try and fix this problem.
About bikes II
As a NewQuay resident, pedestrian and cyclist, I don’t like either of your suggestions to tackle the problem of speeding cyclists mingling with pedestrians.
Part of the problem stems from the poorly-designed and maintained boardwalk.
It seems to me the majority of pedestrians and cyclists avoid using this surface and are concentrated on the paved section next to Victoria Harbour. The boardwalk has the potential to damage tyres and some heels as well as stub toes and even trip the unwary.
The boardwalk could be upgraded to a smoother, more-even surface, eliminating the screws standing proud and the gaps in the construction. Or it could be ripped up and replaced with full paving. This would allow for a marked dedicated three-metre wide cycle path running next to and on the harbour side of the light posts and west of the sculptures, hopefully keeping most of the speeding cyclists away from most of the pedestrians.
And whilst I’m at it, Docklands needs a good, world-class skate park, just not near NewQuay Promenade!
I enjoy reading your publication
About bikes III
As a permanent local resident of Docklands this article was so good to see. To know I’m not the only person living in fear of getting side-swiped by these tour de Docklands wannabes.
I have a few suggestions: Maybe the new bike hub business and associated considerate bike riders could start an education program for the inconsiderate cyclists along the promenade at peak times?
Also perhaps the police/council or anyone who can actually fine or warn them could patrol the promenade during peak times of travel? I realise the police are busy but just now and again on a random basis may help?
Program basics: Don’t speed, keep a safe distance from pedestrians and use a bell!
About bikes IV
With regards to the article “How to get rid of the racers”.
In 2009, Docklands News ran a piece on a car/bike race from Mornington to Docklands that may have encouraged this type of behaviour.
About bikes V
Just read your column in Docklands News.
It’s not just NewQuay that’s a concern re speeding commuter cyclists. I live in Yarra’s Edge and you literally take your life in your hands most mornings trying to exit from Docklands Park to get onto the footpath towards the tram stop on Collins St.
The speed at which (most) cyclists seem to travel at this busy hour of morning is crazy. One lady walking ahead of me just last week called out “you’re going to kill us all!” as she crossed.
There needs to be an enforced speed limit and council/traffic police around to monitor in my view.
It’s one thing to have shared use public thoroughfares but when the rights of pedestrians are disregarded (and safety endangered) then something needs to be done. I would be interested in reported cyclist/pedestrian collision stats for Harbour Esplanade - I imagine it’s high and bound to increase with greater resident and cyclist numbers.
Looking forward to your next column on this issue in Docklands News.
About bikes VI
I think it is great to highlight design issues that have been poorly resolved in practice and the example you provide is perfect.
The photo highlights:
Poor surface for a mixed use path;
Poorly designed separation;
Poles with potentially lethal bases, square cut concrete;
These same poles would likely provide less than the minimum contrast for a visually impaired person to see; and
It is easy to find quality research that highlights the use of hedges (not too challenging I think) as being a socially-acceptable and user-friendly means of separating mixed use paths.
Unfortunately your article does not identify these clearly demonstrated problems with design that result in the problem you describe.
Instead you advise that:
Cycling is legitimate in this mixed use area;
Testosterone-filled commuters: on a mission to catch and pass the next bloke (maybe in this politically correct world this should be person);
Move the menace; and
The key to success is making the journey longer.
These are most amusing responses, but really not good journalism.
The suggestions you provide include:
Sequencing the lights. If it works, this would be a great suggestion as it addresses some of the design issues. Likely a good reporter will have contacted VicRoads to identify the sequencing priorities to see whether this is a viable solution as these controls usually have considerable thought go into them before they are implemented; and
Your other suggestion of physical barriers is a tad naive. Perhaps consult with disability access groups and the relevant standards to identify better information.
But good on you for raising a problem.
The problem is clearly one of poor design, which you have not identified. All too often, these poor designs are foisted on communities with the identified problems. Your mission should be to provide quality, informed articles on the matter.
Off you go now that you have heard the real problem: poor design.
Let’s hope you now provide us with a more informed and better quality article.
About ducks I
The front page of the last Docklands News was a real LOL moment. I’d completely forgotten to email re the duck faux pas, but it seems the rest of your readership did not.
I really enjoy reading the local news, and this time loved the way the paper ‘fessed up.
Leanne Van Der Merwe
About ducks II
Thanks for the correction– yes we too were running a poll at the Aurecon office. It was a DUCK!
Since you’ve asked people to let you know if we spot any other mistakes, here are two more from the very correction article itself!
1. “Thanks to everyone who got in touch to let us know that our front page ‘cygnet’ was, in fact, a duckling.” Wrong again! It was a duck. Not a duckling. You see, ducks as a breed tend to be a lot smaller than swans, even the adults. The duckling, like the cygnet, will have a different colour and feather texture to the adult duck which was in the photo.
2. “But, please, if you spot any other mistakes, please let us know!” As a grammar pedant this was my favourite. The word “please” inadvertently was used twice in the sentence asking for readers to spot any other mistakes.
There you go. You’re welcome!
We have seen the swans and cygnets, but have you seen the night heron which has appeared on several occasions along the Harbour Esplanade waters’ edge.
Happy bird watching.
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