14 March, 2010

Goodbye Melbourne

A couple of pictures from around Fitzroy and central Melbourne from my last weekend before leaving.

And from a last beer or two at the Mountain Goat brewery, one of my favourite places brewing one of my favourite drinks in Melbourne.

08 March, 2010

Healesville Sanctuary

I'll back-date this post (and the next one) since I'm a month and a bit late in putting these pictures up. They're from Healesville Sanctuary, an excellent zoo of Australian wildlife about one hour's drive from central Melbourne.

The reptile house was great, as was the birds of prey display. In fact, I liked the whole place and Simon and I spent most of a day there without noticing the time pass.

The town of Healesville itself looked like a nice place for a day trip but turned out to be a bit of a disappointment when it came time to try and get some lunch. The first place we went to said their kitch closed for lunch at 1pm. The next place acted like it was a big deal for them to find us a table to eat at. (They didn't look that busy). We ended up at a place called Cheese Freakz (never a good indication) who served dull burgers and seemed to have nothing on the menu involving cheese. The animals more than made up for the crappy food though.

10-03 Healesville Sanctuary

04 March, 2010

Cyclist numbers up in Melbourne

In a follow-up to the comment I made on Tuesday about the annual Melbourne bike survey, The Age has the story Number of peak-hour cyclists soar.

The number of cyclists on Melbourne's roads has soared by up to 50 per cent during peak hour in the past year, according to new figures.

What they actually mean, is that the increase in numbers at some intersections was up to 50 percent. The overall increase in cyclist numbers will be somewhat less than that. None-the-less, it is great news for Melbourne. It's also good to see affirmation of the often observed point that the rate of cycle injuries has fallen as the total number of cyclists on the city's streets has increased. As usual, the explanation given is that when more people cycle, cyclists are more visible, drivers are more familiar with sharing the road with them, and the proportion of drivers who are also cyclists (and presumable interact more safely with cyclists) is greater.

Napier street, mentioned in the article, is next to where I live and is a wonderful example of successful cycle planning. The street runs parallel to two busy streets used heavily by cars. It has been broken at various points by traffic barriers which allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass through but stop cars using the street as a thoroughfare. Where Napier street crosses busy (about 6 lanes) Johnston street, there are cycle priority lanes at the traffic lights. Cyclists going straight ahead can press a button which means they will get priority over left turning traffic at the lights. The street has cycle lanes painted in both directions and regular traffic calming features such as speed bumps, as so the side streets connecting to it. The speed bumps are constructed with a gap between the end of the raised area and the side of the road (or the start of the parking areas) so that cyclists can avoid the discomfort that comes of riding over speed bumps.

I'd love to see concepts like this being used in Wellington. The pessimist in me suspects that while we have people at council making statements like "We shouldn't encourage people to cycle because it's dangerous for them" we won't be seeing much change. I note that Kerry Prendergast, who could hardly be described as having supported cycle friendly policies, (though she's big on building roads), is running for mayor again.

02 March, 2010

"Numbers expected to be up in annual bike count"

It's national bicycle counting day in Australia this article says: "Numbers expected to be up in annual bike count". It's also the first day since being here when I've taken the tram to work instead of cycling.

While I missed out on potentially being recorded as one of the many cyclists in Melbourne, I have some statistics of my own. Since moving to Fitzroy in early September I've cycled 2599.39km to and from work, taking a total of 102.95 hours for an average speed of 25.25km/hr (door-to-door). My average journey time is about the same as what people tell me it takes them to drive --- a bit over 30mins, my tram ride today took about an hour.