Cycling in Sydney Australia
inner West Council is deciding on the Masterplan on Tuesday night, from 630 pm Ashfield Council offices. Item 11 on the agenda below. Seems to have strong public support, so hope it gets approval. Good to have a cheer squad along if anyone free on Tuesday. Bruce Ashley, one of the originators of the whole idea, will be speaking in support.
The agenda item has some useful info too, on staging and funding. $27 m has been allocated for works such as the underpasses of Parramatta Rd and Longport Sts, up to about 2022-3, when more funding will be needed for the southern end.
Well, it got passed, unanimously, mainly on the basis of the strong community support for the Greenway. There were a number of relatively minor amendments, to do with how the project will be managed and an extra $2m tunnel under Davis St to keep one lot of apartment residents happy- they reckoned the path would go too close to their boundary. Also, they have dropped any mention of a bridge over Marion St, even though it was only in as a long term possibility. Key to getting one lot of residents previously opposed on-side was some clever work by Council to get traffic lights on Weston St, and a left turn ban off OCRd. Weston St should now be much quieter and opposition to the cycleway running along it has apparently disappeared.
So all seems sweet now, with funding available and design well advanced, except IWEG (IW Envirionment Group) feels they have been shortchanged. Some of the bush regen sites painstakingly developed over the last decade or two and not on the shared path along the corridor will be informal "walkways" open to residents. The fear is dogs and residents will chase the endangered native birds such as blue wrens away, and otherwise degrade the native flora and fauna. IWEG and Bruce quite rightly asked if some sections can be fenced off so a continuous bush corridor can be created, but still allowing a continuous shared path.
One disturbing fact to emerge is that the NSW Railways haven't as yet agreed to the Plan! As landowners they have to sign off on it. The feeling is that the Govt wants the project to go ahead and there will be pressure on the railways to get on with it. If they do, it might clear the way for other rail trail projects.
Bruce Ashley is now campaigning for a much bigger project, the Green Grid, putting everyone in Sydney close to a Greenway-like community area or bush corridor. There is some support from the GSC and from groups of architects and planners within the Govt. As Bruce puts it, you shouldn't have to leave Sydney or go much farther than your local area to find some beautiful bit of nature you can enjoy. There is already a patchy sort of grid developing, it needs a big effort to connect it and expand it.
Thanks for the update Bob. It is all a big credit to Bruce Ashley.
I have to say I am surprised Julie Passas didn't oppose it.
And to you too of course Bob! Thank you.
She made an odd speech about needing to build more toilets first but she could see the huge amount of support for the Greenway and voted yes. Definitely old school roads and garbage councillor, but very canny when it is clear which way the wind is blowing.
Definitely a doco or book could be made out of the ins and outs of the Greenway. Mayor Byrne made the point that it is the biggest project the old or new Councils will have ever done. State Labor approved the plan in c2012 and then the Liberals canned it when coming in to power, but they left the door open by providing funding for some ongoing work. Then I think it gradually dawned on them the idea had a lot of support and merit and they finally chipped in $7.5 m on the condition the 3 Councils (since become IW Council) matched it, which they did. I think it is now $13 m each committed.
A lot of credit to staff working on the project, Ryan Hawken recently for pulling the Masterplan engineering plans together and Nick Chapman, the Placemaking Coordinator since 2012, and others I'm not aware of probably.
Bruce Ashley said he had taken a backseat recently as others in the Friends of the Greenway, Jennifer Kent in particular, had taken over the grassroots lobbying and community work, and there was even some animosity, but his original strategy of getting a range of community and environmental groups and people involved and active, all moving in roughly the same direction, even if it was never exactly planned out, has led to the current success.
As for the cycling aspects, the underpasses of roads and railways will be the main benefit, and side links to Summer Hill, Dulwich Hill, Leichhardt, will hopefully greatly widen the local network.
Bob I'm sure you did a lot of work with this one too, congratulations to all who worked on this to date
A big win and thanks to the workers on this. Will use the blazes out of it, which is roughly what went on my comment on it.
The railway nixed much of what was in BikePlan2010 Action for Bikes. Though I feel that NSW Labor embraced any excuse at all not to build their promised infrastructure.