Major stumbling blocks to getting approval of designs include:
- not aligning with the engineers interpretation of recommended standards set out in Austroads guidelines
- lack of clear (or any) guidance in Austroads on the treatment proposed
- lack of willingness to be the first to try something that may be commonly used elsewhere
There is fundamentally a philosophical conflict that occurs where one side argues that:
- No cycle facility should be provided unless it is of the highest standard
- some form of cycle provision is better than none, so long as it is safe
I would like the world to aspire to the former sentiment. However, I am a realist and I recognize that limited budgets often wont stretch far enough to deliver the best facility. So instead, I support providing a safe facility now (even if not the best solution), with aspirations for allowing for a better solution in the future.
Four resources are available to provide ammunition in the fight to get 'innovative' or non-standard designs approved in the face of risk averse approval authorities:
- Separated Cycleways Guideline (Department of Transport and Main Roads) - I posted on this previously
- Guidelines for Road Design in Brownfield Sites is a TMR guideline and includes standards for minimum provision for cyclists as part of road upgrades in constrained environments
- The TMR policy on engineering innovation sets out how to go about getting approvals for non-standard or innovative treatments
- The team of technical officers for pedestrian and cycling facilities in TMR's Engineering and Technology Branch can be a strong ally that could lend the required support to allow an engineer to approve an innovation or non-standard solution.