Cycleway concept for St Johns Road Glebe

My computer keeps crashing so I will be brief. I would be grateful if people could consider this concept of a cycleway the length of St Johns Road - on the left side. We were sent letters by Council on 7 December, with a closing date for replies of 21 December. There is very litle specific information but my understanding now is that the footpath will be made narrow and trees removed. There will be a narrow two way bike lane and on the outside of it a concrete median strip with some parking for cars. (I think 23 car spaces will be removed).

This street is a stroll to Sydney Uni, a brisk 20 minute walk to UTS and a brisk 30 minute walk to the CBD. Many families walk around our streets. At present two adults with a child and pram can walk together along the footpath. If is made any narrower they will have to walk in single file and the proximity to the bike lane, and with parked cars on the other side, with people opening car doors and moving between their house and car, makes for a dangerous situation for everyone.

It is all very well to say inner city residents shouldn't have cars but people have to move in and out of houses, with removal vans. Tradespeople have to be able to put their vehicles somewhere. Will carpet cleaners have to run their hoses over the bike lane? Council has planted crepe myrtles down this street which are promising to do well and provide shade and air quality.

I've forgotten the numbers but Council is envisaging tremendous population growth and a transfer of commuter travel to bikes - Sydney will be like Bangkok. There is nowhere for bikes to be kept in the CBD during the day. How will people get to and from work in stormy weather ? Has any study been done to see how many people will use it ? If there are too many (it goes to Sydney Uni as well as towards the CBD) it won't be safe and if there are too few it will a waste of money that could have been spent making the road safer for everyone. Also it seems to stop at Colbourne Street - will bike riders be sent down Colbourne Avenue to Bridge Road where it sweeps around a corner with a concrete barrier?

Clover Moore has said cycleways are "relatively inexpensive". The concepts for Bourke St and St Johns Road will be be inexpensive. Apart from the removal of the footpath and trees, the power poles will have to be removed. Where will they go ? There are shop awnings extending to the edge of the footpath. Really this concept will be a desecration of a heritage area, spoiling the feel of village and community.

I would love to be able to ride my old mountain bike around Sydney but I don't think cycleways should be seen as a solution for commuter travel. My main concern is Council's attitude - giving us notice just before Christmas and not being able to provide sufficient information.

Views: 283

Comment by Susannah Dale on December 27, 2009 at 4:17pm
sorry that should read "the concepts for Bourke St and St Johns Road will be very expensive!"
Comment by Dabba on December 27, 2009 at 4:43pm
Susannah, having worked in Bangkok for some time, I can assure you that Sydney is already like Bangkok - wall to wall cars. Provision of cycleways is a positive rather than a negative and should be encouraged. Bangkok is a city that is ideally suited to bicycles, but has been overtaken by masses of cars and the resultant gridlock - not much different to the present Sydney!
Comment by Susannah Dale on December 28, 2009 at 9:23am
thanks Dabba. I will get the info and try to put it in here. Haven't done this before. Sus
Comment by Andrew on December 28, 2009 at 9:52am
"and with parked cars on the other side, with people opening car doors and moving between their house and car, makes for a dangerous situation for everyone."
So car drivers will need to take notice. I assume that you do not loose your driver door everytime you open it to passing traffic?
"Has any study been done to see how many people will use it"
Yes, there was extensive studies done by the council prior to any commitment by them.
"My main concern is Council's attitude - giving us notice just before Christmas and not being able to provide sufficient information."
Ha, the cycling strategy has been available for at least 2 years.
"Will carpet cleaners have to run their hoses over the bike lane"
If they do my bike will roll on over
"There is nowhere for bikes to be kept in the CBD during the day"
Actually most building have parking facilities for employees, unfortunatly you will need to search for them. I personally have worked in 6 cbd buildings and all have bike parking and showers. If your building does not have a shower consider talking to a local gym/club for a fee to use their shower facilities (I know that BNSW use to use the UTS facilities). All new buildings must have bike parking facilities and showers.
Do not compare Bourke St with St Johns road, there is major changes under the road (drainage etc) also going on.
"If there are too many (it goes to Sydney Uni as well as towards the CBD) it won't be safe "
Yes and when we get that growth the council can start demanding more from the RTA.
And finally
"I would love to be able to ride my old mountain bike around Sydney"
Well what is stopping you? Jump on go for a ride.
Comment by Andrew on December 28, 2009 at 10:09am
Also his is what is referred to as a priority route so once again different to the Bouke St example you gave. These routes need minimum changes to the road and drainage etc
Comment by Susannah Dale on December 28, 2009 at 10:43am
Hi Andrew, here are some statistics from Council:

"The fact is that the City of Sydney is growing. By 2030 there will be at
least 48,000 more dwellings and 97,000 more jobs in the City of Sydney
Local Government Area alone. Over the next fifteen years, we face a 23%
growth in traffic, and annual congestion costs that will rise from $3.5
to $7.8 billion.

If the status quo situation is maintained parking, traffic and
congestion in the CBD will all reach a crisis point in the not too
distant future. The City is committed to implementing a range of
transport solutions going forward, this includes improving pedestrian
networks, building the Cycle Network and promoting car share options.

The Cycle Network is the result of a well-researched strategy to
increase the number of trips into the City made on bicycle from 1%
currently to 10% by 2016. Achieving the target of 10% will reduce
traffic congestion, carbon emissions and will also have significant
health benefits."

Car doors: in a residential area people need to be able move their children and belongings easily to and from their homes and cars. I didn't mean drivers. Although a Woolworths petrol station employee clipped my door as I opened it to get out and fill up with petrol. She was in a hurry and drove at speed through the middle of the cars getting petrol. And I think my door was only open a few inches - also I was in my Nissan Micra, a very small car.

I had no idea St Johns Road might have a cycleway all down the left hand side and I don't think anyone else did either. All the people I have contacted had no idea, even after receiving Council's letter. It would be good to get to work and have a shower - I used to work at Chifley Square and I think there is a shower near the carpark but bike parking was strictly limited. And if a hundred people want to use the shower at 8 am - how will that work? I think there should be free transport around the CBD with electric buses or trams. I have noticed that the provision for bike parking at the Broadway shopping centre is rarely used. Is this because shoppers can't carry their shopping home on a bike? Perhaps it could be used by commuters. It is a pity the City Tunnel didn't include a bikeway. Come to think of it, I believe there are disused railway tunnels under Hyde Park. Perhaps they could be converted to bike storage and shower/change rooms.

More later.

Susannah
Comment by Doddsy on December 28, 2009 at 11:10am
I live very close to to the Wentworth Park end of St Johns road and i must say that it is a nightmarish street to either walk or cycle on to get to Glebe point road, especially during peak times. On rainy days you can barely fit a golf umbrella on the footpath. Privately owned cars parked on public streets are definitely the major problem with St Johns road.

Another issue is motorists racing around the corner off of Wentworth park road and gassing it up the hill. Its very dangerous as a motorist trying to leave st john road side streets while trying to look around the blind spots created by parked cars.

St Johns road should not not be a motorised vehicle thoroughfare. If you want to get to bypass Glebe you should be taking parramatta rd, Cleveland st, or Bridge road only.

I think a 30kph boulevard would be ideal for quality of life and road safety along st St Johns road.

50% reduction of parking spaces (the width of one lane of traffic for pedestrians and cyclists to utilise.)
Comment by Susannah Dale on December 28, 2009 at 11:27am
yes, I walked to No. 1 St Johns Rd, which is past Colbourne Ave but still near the top of the hill. Traffic was very fast on this section. From No. 1 down the hill, the houses do not face St Johns Road and a bike way would not interfere with residents' access to their homes. But the cycleway only goes to Colbourne Ave? I thought at least it should go down to and across Wentworth Park (and then to TAFE and UTS?) Are bikes going to be sent down Colbourne Ave to Bridge Road where there is a busy corner and concrete barrier? It would be great if St John's Road was closed to through traffic at that section up to Glebe Pt Rd but you couldn't exclude motorised transport altogether. St Johns Rd near the police station is so narrow I think Council must be planning to make it one way at least.

The other section to Ross St is a good bus route, and there is a fire station, Glebe Town Hall and library. 30 kph with traffic calming constructions would be good and money saved from cycleway.

Sus
Comment by Dan on December 28, 2009 at 11:35am
Susannah, I can't quite work out where you are coming from. Is your issue simply the lack of time given by the council for comments on the idea, or is it the actual idea itself that is the problem?

You seem to kind of accept that more people cycling would be a good way to improve Sydney's traffic and parking chaos, but then don't think that cycleways are the solution. I'm interested in this; what do you think is more appropriate? I ask because many cyclists (myself included) are somewhat ambivalent towards cycle lanes, particularly the rather poorly-designed bi-directional ones favoured by the CoS.

However, your arguments about why you can't ride you bike in the city seem somewhat contrived, and, if I might say so without being unkind, rather typical of the motorist who is determined to find reasons why cycling isn't an option. There is, of course, plenty of bike parking in the CBD. What there is a lack of is car parking! (Studies have shown that around one third of all traffic on city streets is made up of people looking for a place to park. Just think about that for a moment! One third of all traffic is people driving around looking for somewhere to put their car! ) Also consider this; if one person gave up their car parking space because they took to their bike, then ten other cyclists would also have somewhere to put their bikes too (assuming you can fit ten or twelve bikes into the space taken up by one car-paring spot). Showers, smart clothes, sweatyness, being on time, safety, distance, hills, heat - these are not real barriers to cycling to work, as tens of thousands of city commuters can attest to. They are all solvable (or, in practice, are not such big issues that they need solving!). There is a wealth of experience on this site of how to do this - why not ask, and give it a go! I'd be very happy to escort you to work on your bike, to show you the best routes, and find a way that you like and feels safe.

Finally, again, I detect a hint of motor-centric attitude about your whole post(s). Once more, apologies if I am misconstruing what you are saying, or being unkind, but they key to rebuilding any 'village' feel to an area, or helping preserve the 'heritage' feel is to reduce the number of cars in the area. Reducing the number of parked cars makes streets feel more open, makes it more pleasant to walk along and makes it safer to cross the road. Reducing the amount of traffic driving on the road makes it quieter, safer and improves the environment.

This fact, however, can be quite hard to come to terms with. Our society is imbued with a strong sense that cars and driving are a right; that they are a solution rather than a problem, that there is some magic answer, if only we could find it, which would mean everyone can drive anywhere they want at any time, and own as many cars as they want, and somehow everything would be fine. This is what we are promised every time a new road is built - just one more road, and then it will be fine! (One more! Just anther one more!) We lust after our first car; it represents freedom; we are seduced by car ads; we use our cars to project something about ourselves; we judge people by their choice of vehicle and put our cars on a pedestal and worship them. We convince ourselves that life would be unmanageable if we did not have a car, and we convince ourselves that driving is the most efficient way to get about even as we sit in traffic jams.

It's hard to break free from this (and I don't think this is too strong a word) brainwashing. Cars are as much of a problem as a solution (in fact, I would argue they bring more negatives than positives in an inner-city context), and it's a problem that we need to solve if we are to make progress. However, we are blinded to that progress by the dazzle of headlights, and instead project the issue onto everything else - it's cyclists / RTA / government / taxes / traffic signals / road design / tolls / pedestrians / poor maintenance / lack of consultation that are the problem. In reality the problem lies within ourselves, and is rooted in our love affair with the motor car.

Get your bike out of the shed, and go for a ride. it could be the first step in freeing your mind!
Comment by naomi on December 28, 2009 at 12:17pm
I have noticed that the provision for bike parking at the Broadway shopping centre is rarely used. Is this because shoppers can't carry their shopping home on a bike?

I have to contest this - yes the ones in the car park itself are not used (they are too out of the way and more at risk of crime).

However, for a good couple of years the bike racks out the front of Broadway have been overflowing and now there are even more racks to cater for bikes. These are also now regularly bursting - indicating that many people are switching to do shopping by bike. I definitely see more people in the center with bike bags than I ever have before. You would be amazed how much you can fit into panniers!

Cycling as transport seems to have many barriers in its way but really they are only perceptual and yes to a non cyclist it doesn't seem obvious how to over come issues such as riding in the rain or carrying shopping or getting from A to B on the quieter roads rather than going the way you might drive but there is always something or someone to help you do it!

I have plenty of friends who also thought it was impossible and now they are hooked on riding as a means of getting around Sydney - the huge burst in numbers of cyclists in Sydney are really all the proof anyone needs.

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