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Traders fear bike lanes could roll businesses

Date

Adam Carey

Cyclist numbers along Wellington Street, Collingwood, have been rising 20 per cent every year since 2004.

Cyclist numbers along Wellington Street, Collingwood, have been rising 20 per cent every year since 2004. Photo: Wayne Taylor

TAILOR Peter Toumbourou has fought off major threats to his business during his many years in the rag trade - the lifting of tariffs and the arrival of cheap imports, and large buyers going out of business as retail conditions sagged.

But the latest threat to his suit-making enterprise is one he never anticipated - a proposed ''Copenhagen-style'' separated bicycle lane outside his factory's front door.

''The thing that's going to kill us doesn't have tariffs, it has two wheels,'' Mr Toumbourou says.

An artist's impression of the proposed bike lanes.

An artist's impression of the proposed bike lanes.

He manages Travellers Apparel on Wellington Street in Collingwood, the last major suit manufacturer still standing in Australia, with up to 120 people working for it.

The company tailors suits for several Australian labels, as well as making uniforms for large corporations and government agencies. Many of them collect their orders directly from the factory.

But the proposal to build a separated bike lane along Wellington Street includes the removal of 117 parking spaces and removing parking entirely from one side of the street. Mr Toumbourou stresses that he is in favour of promoting cycling, but says parking is ''the life blood'' of his family's business, with an estimated 60 to 80 trucks a day stopping there.

''Our problem is that we've got almost no other access to our building other than people parking in front of our factory,'' he says.

The Yarra City Council will hear submissions on the proposal tonight and there is a chance it could vote on the issue. If not, it is unlikely to be decided before elections are held next month.

Wellington Street is a major and preferred north-south bicycle route in Melbourne's inner north. According to the City of Yarra, the route is booming, with cyclist numbers growing 20 per cent every year since 2004.

This year, the council recorded 416 city-bound cyclists on Wellington Street in the morning peak, compared with 101 cyclists in 2004.

Bicycle Network Victoria's Garry Brennan says the proposal to build separated bike lanes is excellent, because the street is already choked at the peak, and there is no capacity to increase traffic volumes along there other than by bicycle.

He says the concerns of businesses such as Travellers Apparel regarding lost parking are legitimate, but that the proposal includes options such as accessing parking in nearby back streets, or imposing time restrictions on parking spaces currently available all day.

''If these businesses need parking, there are solutions,'' Mr Brennan says.

The Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union is asking the City of Yarra to find a compromise that would not jeopardise the livelihoods of its members who work at the Collingwood factory.

''If you drive out businesses such as Travellers Apparel through the unintended consequences of policies like this one, you actually lose what is part of the great charm and attractiveness of communities like Collingwood,'' says Michele O'Neil, the union's national secretary.

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365 comments

  • Can the police please fine the cyclist pictured who is not wearing her helmet?

    Of course they wont, because they are pathetic. I ride every day and am sick to death of seeing people run red lights or not wearing helmets, and nothing is done by the police to stop this. Why do we seem to have one set of rules for motorists and one for cyclists?

    I now support registration of bikes so we can catch these people.

    Although, if nothing i done then i will probably say "F*&k the law" and just do my own thing like so many others.

    Commenter
    wsDK_II
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    September 18, 2012, 10:00AM
    • Wearing a helmet whilst riding a bike is a road law. She's clearly not riding on the road.

      Commenter
      Fox81
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:09AM
    • She also looks like older than 12 years old. You can't ride on the footpath like that. It also shows that the age has no idea of cycling rules. Pathetic all around and the media shows no leadership for the community (?do they ever).

      Commenter
      Dr Taka
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:10AM
    • "Can the police please fine the cyclist pictured who is not wearing her helmet?"

      Not to mention riding along the footpath. Pretty sure she's older than 12, and it doesn't look like a shared path. Just another cyclist trying to run down pedestrians.

      Commenter
      Tim the Toolman
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:13AM
    • WsDK_ll I also ride everyday and I agree.

      I wish police would start to fine cyclists breaking the law.

      But also fine the people that cross walking against the lights all the time.

      It's a cash cow for the cops. But they don't care.

      KNN - I suggest you ride a bike for a while. maybe you won't be as fat as I assume you are.

      Commenter
      Pedro
      Location
      Williamstown
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:15AM
    • @wsDK_II - Only a car driver would talk like that. Not all riders out there are breaking rules and please don't tell me you Coffin dwellers are Angels. It is an artists impression and if you looked closely enough they are wearing a helmet. Oh and I also drive and own 2 cars. Stop the Hate.

      Commenter
      Real Bike Rider
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:16AM
    • So the local parking outside a suit shop is more important than the lives of cyclists?

      Oh and wsDK_II, the vast majority of cyclists do wear helmets and do stop at red lights, just as the majority of motorists do. However, a small selection are scofflaws (in both transport groups) but don't let them ruin it for you.

      By far the biggest rule breakers are pedestrians, who blindly step into bike lanes to cross streets and jay walk across intersections. Of course we can't complain about them, because they're not the dirty cyclist brigade who everyone loves to hate.

      Commenter
      bugwan
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:19AM
    • Why should she need to wear a helmet? She's not going to spontaneously fall off her bike is she?
      If you really want to save lives, then everyone in a motor vehicle should wear a helmet. That would really make a positive impact on the road toll.

      Commenter
      John
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:26AM
    • @Real Bike Rider
      They were referring to the woman in the other photo who is riding on the footpath and not wearing a helmet. She is breaking TWO laws.

      Commenter
      Robert
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:26AM
    • Hey Real Bike Rider,

      I think you'll find that people are talking about the actual PHOTO of a cyclist on the footpath on Wellington Street, rather than the artist's impression. Hope you're more observant when you drive or cycle than when you read. The PHOTO clearly shows a female cyclist not wearing ahelmet (which is the law), and riding on the footpath, though she is clearly oder than 12. hope that clears up the comment thread for you.

      Commenter
      ims2712
      Date and time
      September 18, 2012, 10:27AM

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