Cycling in Melbourne Australia
Have you seen the notices for the latest closure on the Yarra Trail? The Burnley Harbour section (between Barkly Ave and Mary St) will be closed soon and will remain closed until August.
The suggested detour is the one that's recommended when the Harbour gates are closed, which is OK for the handful of riders who are too impatient to wait for the gates and for the trickle of riders who enter the Trail from Mary St. And as a detour, it make sense: keep the deviation from the normal route as minimal as possible.
However, the trail counter at Morrell Bridge shows that an average of about 2600 bicycles use this section of trail every day—and that's not counting pedestrians.
At the Mary St end of the detour there are two corners that are sharper than 90 degrees, one at the top of the ramp coming up off the floating path, and the second at the exit from the Mary St underpass:
(On the aerial view, switch to "MultiView" - North to get a clear view.)
Clearly, I'm a bit slow on the uptake, but does that strike anyone else as potentially very dangerous with such a volume of bikes? Both of these corners will be points of conflict and possible collision. Apart from the tight cornering, the exit from the Mary St underpass is a blind corner. And the ramp from the floating trail is going to be very hairy, as riders coming up from water level will be trying to maintain the right speed for a tight corner while the traffic descending from Mary St will be descending under brakes, and riders in both directions will be making wobbly, slow-speed turns.
Maybe it's a bit late, but I'm going to contact the Monash-CityLink-Westgate Upgrade Project with the following suggested measures for mitigation. You may wish to do likewise:
I'm really concerned about what's going to happen when this detour is activated, so I'd welcome your comments and suggestions.
Personally, I'll be riding a detour that goes a bit further afield and will avoid this section of the Trail altogether.
In the belief that pictures often speak louder than words, I'll illustrate the problems as I see them.
This photo shows someone making the sharp turn onto the Yarra Trail that will be required by this detour:
Note how the rider needs to cut the corner to make it around—not conducive to two-way traffic.
Tyre tracks show the line that dozens of cyclists take when entering the Yarra Trail
This is the area that I believe should be sealed to make a wide turning circle.
See how this rider could swing to his left and make a wider curve into the corner on the unsealed section in shadow:
But to make a really smooth turn, that directional sign in mid-shot needs to be positioned elsewhere.
The exit from the Mary St Underpass is a blind corner:
Note the overhanging foliage that makes a narrow passage even narrower. A parabolic mirror in the corner would really help here, too.
At the exit from the Mary St Underpass, there is a tight, blind corner, a change in grade, and a change in trail surface.
I believe conflict and collision are likely here, and everything must be done to mitigate the risk.