After months of back and forth, a decision to remove the controversial bike lane on Darwin’s Esplanade was unanimously supported at a Darwin Council meeting last night.
As it stands the bike lane sits between the curb and parked cars, leaving bike riders with no other option than to dodge opening passenger doors.
Back in October, the council opted to keep the lane, improving safety by adding a 500 millimetre buffer and widening it. Changes also included the narrowing of car parking spaces to 2.2m wide and the remove of car spaces around T-intersections.
Last night’s unanimous decision to scrap the Esplanade bike lane entirely will cost the council more than $10,000.
Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim was one of five aldermen who back flipped on the lane, despite voting in support of a lane a month ago.
“It was clear to me that the community really didn’t understand the way the bicycle path should be working,” she said. “There was such a high level of discontent with the cycle path that I felt it was time to basically put it to bed.” Mayor Fong Lim told NT News. .
A future separated lane isn’t out of the question, with the council also voting to commission a report to look into alternatives.
Bicycle Network Chief Executive Officer Craig Richards said that it’s always disappointing to see the progress of facilities, paths and lanes for bike riders go backwards.
“It’s always disappointing to see bike lanes removed without a clear commitment to replace them with something better,” Mr Richards said.
Darwin has a great opportunity to become one of the world’s great bike cities so we welcome the council’s decision to prepare a report into a proper separated path along this iconic section of Darwin City.