Announcing- the Inner West Bicycle Coalition- first up, Lilyfield Rd

Bike Marrickville, Bike Leichhardt and ASHBUG have formed the Inner West Bicycle Coalition to present a more unified voice to the recently amalgamated Inner West Council and other authorities like Urban Growth and Westconnex. We are retaining our individual structures for the time being, but will endeavour to cooperate on the bigger issues through the Coalition, which will have a coordinator and input from the three groups.

Early days, and we don't presume to be the only cycling groups in the Inner West, so looking to join forces with others, including people or groups in Canada Bay, Burwood and maybe Canterbury. If interested let me know on

Better still, join one of the three groups above and get in on the action.


(Edit, I added Lilyfield Rd to the title, since that is the first matter we are looking at).

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The Norton St T- intersection is pretty dicey. I took some photos this evening and in the space of half an hour saw 4 motorists turn across cyclists, two left hooks from behind and two blatant right turns. One car full of low lifes was so busy yelling abuse at me just for standing on the corner the driver failed to stop for oncoming cyclists. Talk about the observer interfering with the observations.

The way it is set up encourages drivers to just whip around from LF Rd into Norton, and the very obvious green bike lane heading west doesn't seem to make some of them go any slower.

It's the weak link in my bike lanes on both sides plan. Catherine St too, but not as bad maybe, and the bi di would have the same problem.


A Holden sedan is 1780mm wide

A bicycle is 600mm wide

A car door stands at least 550mm out from the car body, just allowing egress or 800mm when fully open.

General considerations

For most of its length, downhill cyclists will be near the left side of parked cars which will unload directly into the cycleway. Imagine trying to get a baby out of the back seat into a stroller while standing atop a 400mm wide steep sided concrete median with high speed cyclists whizzing by.

Bend-ins are dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Bus passengers at bus stops land in the cycleway.

Trees and vegetation shown in the diagrams could obscure pedestrians and cyclists from car drivers’ view

Do cyclists have priority at side streets over entering and exiting traffic? Or where there is a raised threshold? (Derbyshire St, Gordon St South?). Where there is a bend-in?

What happens when the football is on at Leichhardt Oval? Locals trying to get home could get stuck in the traffic while making that loop into Perry street to get around the one way section in Lilyfield Road.

There will be Westconnex (WCX) construction traffic from 2019 entering and exiting the goods yard via Lilyfield Road. The contractors may not be happy with a one way restriction at Victoria Road.

Bidirectional cycleways at traffic light intersections will have very short green times. See the bidi in Union Street Ultimo.

How do cyclists reach side streets on the other side of the road from the cycleway?

Cyclists will have no choice but to use the cycleway because sections of Lilyfield Road are to be made one-way.



Charles to Norton

A 1200mm wide downhill path is too narrow for the likely speeds.

Downhill cyclists will be near the left side of parked cars which will unload directly into the cycleway. 

The car lanes are too narrow for buses at 2700mm (buses need 3200mm)

The parking lane is 2100mm - too narrow when close to 2700mm travel lane

Bend-in at Maliyawul St.

Down hill cyclists will have to negotiate a tight left hand deviation to avoid bend-in curb plantings.

Cyclists will be travelling too fast down hill for car drivers exiting south to see them in time.

There will be conflict between cyclists and right turning cars and conflict with pedestrians.

There are only two other bend-ins (Rayner, Catherine St). Why not raised thresholds like that proposed for Derbyshire Lane. Cyclists could continue to have priority as now.

Mary to Norton Streets

Left hand turn and island removal at Mary St with major changes to the traffic lights on that corner.

Need extra an traffic light phase for west bound cyclists.

Cyclists traveling west and turning south into James St will have to cross three lanes of traffic or jump the median opposite Norton St to get to the left hand side of Lilyfield road.

Norton to Balmain Rd

At Derbyshire do cyclists have priority at the raised threshold?

Bus passengers near Rayner St land in the cycleway.

Tight deviation at Rayner St bend-in.

Balmain to Justin St

Bus passengers at the stop near the corner land close to the cycleway and then have to cross it.

Narrow 400mm median which is on the left hand side of parked cars.

Bend-in at Catherine.

Swapping sides with a full road crossing at Helena St is crazy. Cyclist priority and visibility? East bound cyclists will be traveling at speed

Justin to Gordon Sts

Unused land to south could be used to widen cycleway or have two unidirectional cycleways

Loss of parking will cause the boat trailers to end up parked in side streets.

Gordon to Victoria Rd

One way section going east will not please locals as it is a favourite way to head home from the city to avoid CWL traffic jams.

Note that both pedestrian bridges over Victoria Road are due to be demolished as part of WCX so this part of the cycleway doesn't make any sense any more. Cyclists will be supposed to ride down to the rail yard and under the Victoria Road vehicle bridge to join the path over the Anzac Bridge at its lowest point.


There are three hills and no trip attractors along Lilyfield Rd (just one park).  Compared it to Maliyawul - Perry St - Darling St (Leichhardt Aquatic centre, Orange Grove school, Orange Grove pub and shopping centre, Callan Park, Rozelle shops, Balmain), or Allen St ( Light Rail station Norton shops, Leichhardt secondary school, two parks, Annandale). Conclusion:  the only users are likely to be commuters to the city from Fivedock or further west, as now. Novice cyclists will go for easier and better routes.

The planned WCX-built cycleway through the Rozelle rail yard will be preferred by cyclists from east of Balmain Road or at least Catherine Street. The steep Charles St to James St section is not viable so, if WCX comes to be built, this Cycleway reduces to only perhaps the Mary St to Balmain Rd section.

Is this a really good use of $500,000 (planning) and about $1.8M (construction) from RMS bicycle funding? The organisations promoting this cycleway are the Innerwest Council and its contractor GHD who both stand to benefit from the mega$$.

How should that $1.8M be spent?

Anyone coming from west of Lilyfield will tell you that the constriction on the western end of the old Lilyfield Road bridge needs  fixing. Here the bike and pedestrian route narrows to less than 1.8m, is steeply up hill and squeezes past the Jemena pressure regulating station, which is often roped off with Jemena workers doing stuff in their “confined space”. The mega$$ could fund a new bridge just to the north of the old or shift all those gas pipes to beneath the old bridge out of the way of pedestrians and cyclists.

This part of the world used to be part of Ashfield Council and hence beyond the remit of Leichhardt Council’s RMS funds. But now that we are One Big Council, the IWC, I’m sure that the Council officers concerned will feel relaxed about allowing all those $$ to be spent by their new comrades.

I think there is something like $5 m in the budget for this cycleway. 

Can't fault your long list of points Bill, tho GHD no doubt will have some answers.

i believe a design with a bike lane on both sides is possible, particularly as the council is willing to remove a traffic lane or a parking lane in the key parts (Norton to Balmain and Gordon to Vic Rd, and Justin to Gordon) and that this would provide a better option for existing and likely commuters, as well as potential new general transport cyclists, ie  local cyclists doing errands, visiting, making use of LF Rd for short connecting trips, etc. 

As Bill and others have said the new design (it's on the Yoursay council site, in detail under Concept Design) will make using the road nearly impossible in several sections if you wanted that option. If you oppose this get on to the Yoursay comments facility and say so or it will be all over. 

its such a poor design decision to have a bi-di cycleway change sides of the road at an at-grade location.  its converting a section that can currently be traversed at 40km/hr on a bicycle into probably a 1 minute average stop and a complete stop to other traffic flow to allow it to happen.  If there is a 120 cyclists an hour, its probably going to get cycled 30 times an hour and bring traffic that is all trying to travel in the same directions to a halt 30 times an hour, reducing the road capacity for all classes of vehicle by 60%, and increasing the average traverse times by probably 1 minute+ in either direction.

I can't even see a physical reason why the cycleway has to change sides, ie the only logical conclusion for doing this is to cause traffic calming by forcing cyclists to be the calming.

Never mind that the cycleway will now be downhill in both directions that the drivers don't look when exiting a driveway, ie all fast descending cyclists will now be contra-flow, which will wind up in a fatality, on a road where the current treatment is fairly safe.

This is a location that a bi-di cycleway could be used, but more commonsense than this is required.

I've given feedback on this, so hopefully they factor it in. Essentially I don't support a bi-di due to the speeds. 

No one is going to be happy with roadies doing 60 km/h on a bi-di, even though I suspect they will still use road. This may in turn mean cars don't expect bicycles on the road...


They will just say we don't care about roadies, lumping a wide range of current cyclists into a demon category. Up to us to insist all cyclists should be catered for.

i guess they see nothing wrong with cyclists sitting on their brakes all the way down the hills. It's possible us  "road warriors" will have the experience to actually go at a safe speed and the inexperienced newbies will be the ones who crash.

There are some missing cross sections on the Concept map, particularly  for Justin to Denison, and I asked GHD to put them up to see how width is allocated.  They intend putting a 1.5 m "rain garden" divider between the traffic lanes and the Bi-Di in this section, which has no parking on the south side- good bye boats anyway. This 1.5 m could of course be allocated to a bike lane on the north side for eastbound cyclists. There would be even more width if they reconstructed the southern kerb and  footpath, which is currently unusable due to fig tree roots. 

To to get a bike path or lane on both sides between Catherine and Balmain would require using one half of the southern 3.0 m+ footpath. They already are shifting the kerb 0.5 m to fit the bi-di in, according to the plan. Power poles also may be shifted. For some reason parking is seen as necessary on this side, can't see why. Surely it can't be for light rail patrons.

No problems having a bike lane on both sides, even fit in a protective buffer, where it is one way, as there is an automatic 3m available. Bit tricky at Norton St, but even a road warrior might like the option to cross over at the pedestrian crossing and use the short bit of Bi-Di up to Mary St, given the nasty right hooks I saw the other day. The four car spots outside the chocolate shop in LF Rd near Mary St are going, so room for a bidi there, as the Concept plan shows.

I saw a guy on a O-bike do just this, he crossed over before Norton, hopped the kerb and rode along to Mary, while having a fag and talking on his mobile, but never mind.

First of the info sessions today at Orange Grove Public School, on Perry St, Lilyfield, 10 am to 1 pm. Drop in any time to ask questions and provide feedback to Council and GHD. 

Another session on Tuesday 6 pm to 9 pm. 

So if you are out for a ride, head for Lilyfield Rd and drop in to the school hall. Food and coffee at the markets too.

IWBC are meeting with GHD on Tuesday. It would be great if there was support on the Yoursay  site for no bidi on the steep sections, and bike lanes on both sides instead. 

The cross sections for bike lanes on both sides could go like this:

Vic Rd to Gordon St- proposed one way for cars. Generous traffic lane, wide parking plus bike lane, with bike lane buffers if desired.(2.1m bike lane becomes 1.6m plus 0.5m buffer zone, painted or solid). Bike lanes can be inside or outside parking lane.


Gordon to Justin St. No parking on south side, two traffic lanes, two bike lanes, with room for buffer zones.


Justin to Catherine, same as Gordon to Justin, but requires removal of parking on south side, non residential, side which GHD and Council retains for some reason.

Catherine to Balmain Rd. Parking is to be retained on the south side according to GHD plan.

could be the same as Gordon to Justin, but again requires removal of parking on the south, non residential side. If parking is retained, half of the 3 m little used footpath could be used instead for westbound cyclists. The plan mentions some kerb reconstruction anyway. Power poles may need relocation under GHD plan.

Balmain Rd to pedestrian crossing 30 m before Norton St. Proposed one way east for cars. 

Same cross section as Victoria Rd to Gordon St.

To give westbound cyclists the option of avoiding the T intersection at Norton, the pedestrian crossing would become a bike crossing too, and westbound cyclists would use a bi directional cycleway between the crossing and Mary St, which GHD is already proposing. Otherwise westbound cyclists would use the green bike lane already in existence (might need some modification) to cross the intersection and into the left hand lane heading to Mary St/James St. The one way east at this point does remove the danger of left hooks, so only right hooks and emerging vehicles to worry about for cyclists choosing the road option here.

James St to Hawthorne Canal

same as present, wide (1.8m) uphill bike lane, shared traffic lane downhill, two parking lanes.


remove 3 or 4 car parking places opposite Malyawul St to avoid dooring of westbound cyclists. make the section between Mayawul St and the Canal a 20 kmh zone. 

Make Lilyfield Rd a 40 K zone.

Glad of any feedback.

Feedback from the info session today.

There were a lot of people there during the morning they said. The big aerial map of the route was covered in sticky notes when I arrived about 1230. 

Residents aren't happy about the one way section Balmain Rd to Norton, but consultants reckon it's just fear of the new, it shouldn't affect traffic flows greatly, they confidently predict!

Council is apparently confident the old footbridge at Victoria Rd will be replaced or remodelled. 

The traffic engineer said he was asking RMS to approve a 40 K limit on LF Rd.

They want to keep parking along south side of Justin to Balmain Rd because they want parking for the light rail.

They won't budge on the bi-di saying "that was the brief from RMS". Pity they didn't ask for two options to be developed, bi-Di vs conventional lanes on both sides. They have had to do most of the things required to get space for uni-dis, but can't seem to accept this.

Bi-Dis were a compromise solution in 2007 given the reported "demand" from non-riders / less frequent riders for separation and the difficulty of winning back any road space from the dominate motor vehicles. We have seen the state government sponsored hostility since 2011 suppress and reverse the "surge" of cycling attributed to the early bi-di infrastructure, the new riders did not seem very resilient in the face of the continued aggression on the roads, maybe they are the saner more sensible ones and they no doubt discovered that their entire route was not separated so they had to take to the road at various points,  The compromises in the NSW implementation of bi-di cycleways, especially minimal width, inadequate time at traffic lights and difficult transition to/from roads, makes their utility fairly marginal if not actually negative. We were told that they were just the initial phase and limitations would be corrected once the increased usage was achieved, of course 10 years on and that hasn't happened, we are still stuck with 6 second green time at lights while parallel cars continue unimpeded, priority for (often non existent) turning cars and often non-detection of bicycles.

We are going to be stuck with any bi-di Lilyfield Rd implementation for 10-20+ years and I doubt any new surge from current non-riders. The cycling infrastructure push seems more to do with council / state govt box ticking (yes we have xx kms of active transport infrastructure...) and the industry of consultants / cycleway builders and less with actual utility for riders, new or old.

Seems to me Lilyfield Rd could be better dealt with via an enforced 30km limit, enforcement of close passing, some road treatment reinforcing the priority of bicycles. I am not in favour of just spending the available money because it is available when the outcome will be negative.

Hope you pass that analysis on to Inner West council. It's more or less where I and other members of IWBC are coming from. Also of interest is  that Grahame McCabe from GHD was the engineer responsible for the early CoS bi-dis.

The odd thing is that Council  is moving toward the lower speed limit, traffic calmed solution you suggest in the last para. They could save a lot if they just adopted that, and get most of the benefit.  Westconnex has possibly aided this move, since LF Rd is one that Council can do something or be seen to be doing something on to reduce rat running and outside traffic.

There is now extra road space due to the one way sections and the removal of the Free boat parking, and bike lanes could be put in there with little expense.

Their own design is compromised by retaining car parking between Justin and Balmain Rd. It only allows a 2.4 m bi-Di, although they are now saying they might redo the kerbing there to get some extra width. Power poles also a factor, too close to the bi-id. If they used the footpath for a westbound cyclepath they could leave the poles.

weve got bike lanes on the uphills now, that are wide and well accepted, and it looks to me we could get bike lanes on both sides now in most sections.

Was there yesterday about 11:30 on a ride to Parramatta and back, Lilyfield Rd both ways, gave them the benefit of my wisdom but will also comment via web.


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