Council's works to improve safety along Kent Ave appear to be complete, with the finished product appearing to be a win for cyclists. Whilst the climb up Kent Ave is never going to be an easy ride, it is pleasing to see that cyclists have been given a dedicated, semi-protected space to ride.
Through the bends, cyclists are protected from other vehicular traffic through use of semi-mountable kerbs. Whilst these don't prevent vehicles entering the bicycle lane, they do strongly discourage accidental crossings, and also eliminate the chances of being left-hooked. At junctions, the bike lanes are given the green paint treatment and the lanes are continuous.
Whilst all of this is great, it seems that Kent Ave is very much an isolated, disconnected patch of cycle infrastructure. With the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail in the north, and Taralla Creek Trail in the south, Kent Ave forms part of the missing link between them - but in doing so, has created two more missing links.
In the north, the bike lanes end just before the perilous Maroondah Hwy junction, leaving cyclists with nowhere to go - who wants to ride on a 3-lane 80km/h highway? Council have installed small way-finding signage that appears to direct cyclists and pedestrians toward the Mullum Mullum Creek Trail by joining the footpath and crossing at the pedestrian crossing, then utilising the service lane on the north side of the highway and local streets to access the trail. However, this route leaves a lot to be desired - the crossing and footpaths are narrow and as such, require cyclists to dismount.
At the southern end, the bike lanes end just before the Croydon Market and primary school, replaced by on-street parking on both sides of the road. This results in a dangerous situation where the remaining traffic lane is narrow, with cyclists tending to ride dangerously in the door zone through here. Approaching the roundabout leaves cyclists even more vulnerable, as the design does not factor in cycle use and may encourage drivers to overtake cyclists through this area. From here, cyclists should take Coolstore Rd and turn right onto Hewish Rd, joining the bike lane along here and then turning into Croydon Park to reach the northern end of the Taralla Creek Trail. However, there is no way-finding signage in this area, and local knowledge must be relied upon.
The BUG is aware of Council plans to re-develop this area of Croydon in the future, having had designs commissioned, and we hope that cyclist and pedestrian needs are catered for as part of this project.