Flawed pedestrian crossings on William Street

During December 2019 Yarra Trams and the City of Melbourne completed a whirlwind of work to upgrade William Street through the Melbourne CBD. But it isn’t just buses that they forgot when building the new tram stops and bike lanes – they’ve screwed up the pedestrian crossings.

Pedestrian crossing partially closed at the corner of William and Little Lonsdale Street

Pedestrian crossings at major intersections have been widened.

Widened pedestrian crossing leading to the new Flagstaff station platform stop at William and La Trobe Street

But a few days later, half of the new crossing at the corner of William and Little Lonsdale Steet was fenced off.

Closed off pedestrian crossing at the new William and Little Lonsdale Street tram stop

As was half of the pedestrian crossing at the corner of William and Little Bourke Street.

Pedestrian crossing partially closed at the corner of William and Little Bourke Street

So what gives?

Meanwhile on the other side of Melbourne

Back in September 2018 a new platform stop was installed on route 96 at Nicholson and Gertrude Street.

E.6021 heads south on route 96 at Nicholson and Moor Street

But soon after, the pedestrian crossing was fenced off.

With Yarra Trams providing the response when the problem was raised in November 2019.

With rectification work completed between November 25 and December 13.

Last year Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and Yarra Trams installed new platform stops along Route 96 on Nicholson Street between Victoria Parade, Carlton and Rose Street, Fitzroy.

To finish our upgrades, we need to improve the accessibility of south east pedestrian ramp at Stop 11, by modifying the levels of the road as well as the footpath, kerb and ramp.

The design standards for pedestrian crossings are well documented – so how did Yarra Trams manage to make the same mistake again on William Street?

And another flaw

There is also another flaw in the widened pedestrian crossings – there is no kerb cut in the middle of the crossing.

Widened pedestrian crossing leading to the new Flagstaff station platform stop at William and La Trobe Street

This caught out someone at William and Little Bourke Street the other day – crossing the road in the middle of a pack of pedestrians, they missed the trip hazard, and faceplanted into the bluestone paving.

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13 Responses to “Flawed pedestrian crossings on William Street”

  1. Shaun Clarke says:

    Even the widened pedestrian crossing outside Southern Cross didn’t get the kerb cut out widened to match.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I’d forgotten about that one!

      Yellow non-slip paint applied to the pedestrian crossing at Spencer and Collins Street

      The pedestrian crossings along Swanston Street are the same – widened back in the 1990s when cars were removed from the road, but the kerb cuts were left at the old width.

  2. Andrew says:

    I was discussing with a friend tram clearance lines. Three times they were repainted in Balaclava Road before they were correct after the track was replaced. He did some yards, and Yarra Trams contractors are normally responsible after reconstruction. Other times it can be Vicroads or local councils, depending on who controls the road. This is not the first time lines have been wrongly painted. There are some existing lines that are too close to the tracks in Glenferrie Road, Scotch Hill. As I said to my friend, why isn’t there a standard specification? Obviously there is, the line 100mm from the track edge. Same problem. Why aren’t the standards issued to road and street making contractors and followed?

  3. Ross says:

    There is another issue at the corner of William St/Lt Lonsdale St.

    For the pedestrian crossing across Lt Lonsdale St on the west side of William St there never has been a green man/red man display for pedestrians. This was not a problem in the past as pedestrians crossing from north to south (from Flagstaff Station) were always able to see the traffic light display for cars.

    Since the works were undertaken the traffic light has been rotated such that it is now very difficult to see the display as a pedestrian. Of course pedestrians regularly cross against the red light when crossing the “little” streets, but usually this is by choice when there are no cars coming. At Lt Lonsdale St there is a risk that this may happen by accident when a pedestrian thinks they have a green light.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      A similar problem occurred at the corner of Elizabeth and Little Lonsdale Street – they added a single green lantern to the traffic lights for the use of pedestrians.

      Single green lantern added to this traffic light, for the use of pedestrians

  4. Dominique says:

    There’s plenty of pedestrian crossings where the cutouts don’t match the painted lines.
    For example the crossing on the corner of Collins St and King St.
    If you need to use the cutout, you will need to go into traffic to do so.

  5. Adrian says:

    As a commuter cyclist who frequently uses William St I think that the improvements for cyclists are a double edged sword.
    The separated bike path is safer in that you’re less likely to be hit by a car but makes it harder to get around; slower cyclists, turning cars and other obstacles in the bike lane.
    The cycle path still completely disappears southbound at Collin St despite William St being one of the two major North-South “cycling friendly” streets. The other is Swanston St, which is also awful for cyclists, with police cars, tram stops, garbage trucks and street sweepers constantly causing dangers for cyclists.
    Melbourne City council are lulling constituents with their improvement projects which don’t really reflect on what cyclists want or need and confuse motorist and pedestrians in equal measure. It’s better than the nothing that other councils offer, but they’re largely clueless on what works and what doesn’t.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Hopefully the bike lane on William Street south of Little Collins Street gets fixed up soon, along with a platform tram stop.

      • Ross says:

        It seems strange why the section south of Little Collins Street was not included as part of the works. I thought there may have been an issue providing a platform stop south of Collins Street as the grade in the road may be too steep to meet DDA requirements. Or possibly it may be that they are waiting for the building to be completed on the south-east corner of the Collins Street/William Street intersection.

  6. Rohit says:

    I’ve only recently noticed that on the corner of Swanston and LaTrobe streets, they’ve made it such that the entire corner is accessible, next to the State Library. The footpath ramps down towards the road on both sides of the corner, so there are no awkward little ramps, and no steps for the most part.

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