Labor Party Policy on Active Transport

The majority Labor Councilors on Inner West Council announced their Policy Platform at the Council meeting on February 8, 2022, in a Notice of Motion.


The Active Transport section has some promising aims. (slightly edited)

ACTIVE TRANSPORT
Active transport reduces congestion on our roads, improves public health, reduces carbon emissions and provides a cost effective and COVID-safe way for people to travel. …. Cycling infrastructure projects have been shown to create on average 11 jobs per $1 million spent, higher than the 8 jobs for similar road projects.

For our community to capture all the benefits of active transport, we need to invest in infrastructure for people who ride or walk that is safe and connected. We know a key barrier to increasing cycling participation rates, particularly for women and families, is safety. …. Our bike paths and networks must also connect and reflect the routes on which people travel, ensuring more people in the community see cycling as a safe and efficient way to move around our community. We also need to work to ensure cycling is safe and accessible to people of all ages.

We’ll work in partnership with Inner West bicycle groups to advocate for the Network. [fantastic]

To ensure Inner West residents are able to maximise the opportunities around cycling and walking projects, Labor councillors will:

● Continue our strong support for the completion of the GreenWay and champion efforts to build cycling infrastructure where it is supported by local communities; [last bit a cop out, need to convince people to support!]

● Audit shovel-ready projects currently in development by Inner West Council to ensure there is an active pipeline of projects available for State and Federal Government funding rounds;[very important]

● Run a communications campaign and support bicycle groups to host events to encourage greater cycling participation across our communities; [Could we run a Ciclovia?]

● Increase maintenance budgets to ensure our roads, cycleways and footpaths are safe;

● Support walking bus programs and introduce wayfinding programs at schools across the inner west local government area to make roads around our schools safer for kids and give families options to walk or ride to school.

-from Council Meeting 8 February 2022
https://innerwest.infocouncil.biz/Open/2022/02/C_08022022_AGN_3904_AT.PDF

IWC Community Strategic Plan

The CSP is an important document, updated every 5 years, that sets out Council’s aims and strategies for the future. It has goals and targets that Council must strive to meet. IWBC has written a submission to the CSP and has made suggestions for targets for building bicycle infrastructure. Previous targets were of the motherhood variety, like “are people satisfied” with progress. We have tried to make it more definite, such as “km of bike path constructed”.

Make your own submission on the latest CSP on yoursay.innerwest.nsw.gov.au under “Our Inner West 2036”. Strategic Direction 2 is the most relevant. Outcome 2.6 is where targets can be suggested.

IWBC has suggested :

“KM of bicycle network completed,

improvement in perception of cycling safety,

increase in bike trips,

increase in mode share of cycling trips to schools,

Number of bike parking racks installed.”

Feel free to add your own targets, and let us know, its not that easy to come up with effective ones.

Inner West Council Elections 4 December 2021

IWBC contacted all candidates or their parties to see what their policies are in relation to improving cycling conditions in the Inner West.

We sent them an information document on the benefits of cycling, which included our policy recommendations.

We asked them three questions:

1) What do you see as the key benefits of Active Transport in the Inner West?;

2) Do you support a safe and connected bike network that women and children feel safe to use?;

3) What will you do to support walking and cycling in Council?

Candidates contacted for the various groups were:

Darcy Byrne, Labor- Balmain Ward
Mark Drury, Labor- Ashfield Ward
Philippa Scott, Labor-Stanmore Ward
Mat Howard, Labor-Marrickville Ward
Chloe Smith, Labor- Leichhardt Ward

Vic Macri, Marrickville Independents- Marrickville Ward
Pauline Lockie, Independent- Stanmore Ward
Jack Robertson, Community Independents- Balmain Ward
Julie Passas, Independent- Ashfield Ward
Vera-Ann Hannaford, Independent- Leichhardt Ward
Morris Mansour, Independent- Ashfield Ward
Peter Dixon, Community Independents- Ashfield Ward
Wenjie Zhang, Independent- Balmain Ward

Marghanita Da Cruz, Greens- Leichhardt Ward
Dylan Griffiths Greens,- Ashfield Ward
Kobi Shetty, Greens- Balmain Ward
Justine Langford, Greens- Marrickville Ward
Liz Atkins Greens-Stanmore Ward.

We have received the following replies as of 19 November 2021:

Labor

Green

John Stamolis (Ind)

Pauline Lockie (Ind)

Pip Hinman (Social Alliance)

Jack Robertson (Ind)

Vera-Ann Hannaford (Independent)

For more on the elections see this Page

Results of Election

Labor did very well, with 8 councillors elected. They will have a majority on Council. They won the second positions out of 3 in three wards. Greens polled well in places but only managed 5 positions. Two Independents, John Stamolis and Pauline Lockie, got in.

The good news is that all councillors elected responded positively to our pre-election approaches. New Councillor Tim Stephens (Labor) is a commuter cyclist and a member of Dulwich Hill Bicycle Club. Phillipa Scott (Labor) is also a cyclist and daughter of Ross Scott, long time member of Bike Leichhardt. Mat Howard (Labor) is a member of Anthony Albanese’s electorate office and is keen on cycling, as well as being up on Active Transport issues. Kobi Shetty (Greens) rides a bike and ferries her children around in a cargo bike. Marghanita da Cruz (Greens) is very supportive of Active Transport and has served on the Traffic Committee. Last but not least, Pauline Lockie works in Clover Moore’s office and is very well versed in bicycle issues.

Please get in contact with your new councillors (listed on innerwest.nsw.gov.au) and congratulate them, and dont forget to mention cycling!


Waiting on Wilson

If you ride on Wilson St cycleway progress is good through Darlington and Newtown but there is a lottery at the Erskineville Rd lights. You can get a quick green, a slow green or an even slower green depending on where in the light cycle you arrive.

IWBC has written to Minister Constance asking that the light phasing be upgraded so that cyclists get a consistent short wait at the lights.

There is a No Right turn there too for cyclists, impeding cycling access to King St and the convenient Mary St route to Camperdown and Stanmore. IWBC is asking that restriction be removed. OK, you can dismount and walk across Wilson and remount in Erskineville Rd, but if a solution can be found it will make cycling that much easier and more attractive, particularly for those using cargo bikes and trailers.

A further problem at this intersection is the merge required back into Wilson St traffic after going through the lights. Drivers have priority and a speed and weight advantage and merging safely may be a problem. Ideally cyclists should have priority. A complete redesign of the intersection as a Dutch-style roundabout with raised crossings on exits might achieve this.

Bicycle NSW Elections

Annual election for BNSW Board is underway by electronic vote. Members will have received an email with how to vote instructions and candidate profiles.

IWBC has some serious concerns about governance of the present board and Neil Tonkin has released the following statement.

I would like to draw your attention to matters of concern taking place in the Bicycle NSW Board over the last year:
1. Poor Board governance, a culture of non-disclosure of Annual Reports, Board Minutes, activities of the Bicycle NSW Environmental Trust. These are not available to members or on the website.
2. Strategic Plan and Policy undeveloped and undisclosed.
3. Minimal information on Board engagement with State Government. BUG’s need to know what the state advocacy organisation is doing to engage with government so we can be a unified force.
4. Poor workplace productivity resulting from a culture of secrecy and interference in day to day running.
5. Board preoccupation with the mergers of racing cycling organisations, which are focussed on seeking government funding for elite sport. Bicycle NSW’s main purpose is to advocate for improved cycling conditions for all people who cycle for reasons of health, environment and social equity. The two organisations are very different and Bicycle NSW has a registered charity status that the sporting organisations do not.
6. The Covid pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for Bicycle NSW to capitalise on the move to substantially provide for and promote of active transport. We have no evidence to suggest the Board has pivoted to embrace this opportunity and actively engage with state government to ensure the organisation and its members benefit from this game changing event.

We have the opportunity to influence a change in culture of the organisation by the election of two (2) highly qualified Board candidates.
I recommend that you vote for:
John Hawkins
Paul Oosting
Please do not hesitate to distribute this to any other Bicycle NSW members.

Kind regards

Neil TonkinAdvocacy Coordinator

Inner West Bicycle Coalition

Gladesville Bridge

Hunters Hill Council is updating its Bike Plan, and is proposing to improve the access to the Gladesville Bridge from the north (see pages 53-54). The current access is very poor, requiring a circuitous poorly signposted route down under the bridge then back up to the start of the bridge shared path, with steps at one stage. Informal routes are used by some cyclists, which involve crossing the slip lane off Burns Bay Rd from Tarban Ck and scrambling up a rough path. The solution would be a footbridge over this slip lane from Huntleys Point Park.

IWBC made a submission supporting the Council’s plan for the bridge, pointing out that a plan was put forward in 2004 but never implemented. There were many comments on the bridge on the Council’s interactive web tool (now closed for comment but can read comments) for the new bike plan. Maybe this time something will get done.

Final plan as approved in April 2021 has only called for a “visionary” link to be built sometime in the future- no funding even for a study. Council is to lobby the State Govt, as they are responsible for the bridge.

Note added in Nov 2021. Transport for NSW has announced changes to the development of its Principal Bike Network for Sydney. They had it listed as a project under Infrastructure Australia, but it hasnt progressed for years, requiring some body to develop a business plan and a design. So now they seem to be implying that they will do important links themselves, and have asked bike groups for a list of 10 projects in their areas. This is an opportunity to get Gladesville Bridge on the final priority list. IWBC has added it to our list, although it is a little out of our area. If you are a member of Bike North, support them in any attempts to get the bridge approach fixed.

Bicycle Budget Inner West Council

IWBC asked the Council for a breakdown of the bicycle budget for 2020/21 and following years. Council replied promptly and the amounts are substantial, particularly compared to only a few years ago.

Cathy Edwards-Davis provided the attached spreadsheet . $6.005M is committed to bicycle works in the current financial year (20/21). These are gross figures and some of these have been partly funded by grants from TfNSW/RMS. Most of those items were for Leichhardt and Marrickville projects that were in their bike plans. In addition there was an announcement in Inner West Newsletter that 2020-21 would have a total footpaths and cycleways budget of $23.7M. 

Some of the funds were from developer contributions. There were also funds from the State Goverment for the Parramatta Urban Improvement Project and for the Greenway. (Council has matched the State Govt funding on the Greenway).

A further update on this were two items that are to be included as a result of TfNSW responses to Covid. These were:
1. Fast tracking part of the already approved Summer Hill to Newtown cycleway as a “pop-up” cycleway,

2. Stage 1 of the Livingstone Rd cycleway from Albermarle St to Marrickville Park (this was to be funded solely by IWC as part of LR03).

Neil Tonkin provided the folowing comment:

As you know the former Ashfield Council had a sorry history of not formally providing for cycle facilities and hence not even having plans in place, should funding opportunities arise. The budget reflects this deficiency. At all our communications with IWC we have stressed that we expect Ashfield to be brought up to speed with the rest of the municipality. The staff are painfully aware of these deficiencies. All I can say is the merger has not been easy for the new council, they claim a significant capital budget deficiency. They have at least determined to complete ’legacy’ projects that were included in the former Leichhardt and Marrickville bike plans. That is why the new bicycle strategy being prepared by Council is so important and the route suggestions made by us for Ashfield.

IWBC Meeting 24 October 2020

10 members of Bike Marrickville, Bike Leichhardt and Ashfield Bike Group attended.

Topics discussed:

1. Summary of IWBC relationship to IWC, including Councillors, departure of CEO Michael Deegan, working relationship with IWC planning staff and traffic managers.

2. Discussion of reasons for IWC unresponsiveness to cycle infrastructure requests, including merger, staff changes, lack of capital funds and funding disparities between Ashfield and other former councils.

3. Update on latest cycle facility diversions (good and bad) around Rozelle Interchange.

4. Discussion on pothole repairs, confirmation that Snap Send Solve system is still working within IWC.

5. Discussion on ways forward to get central lane logo placements progressed around former Ashfield municipality.

6. Discussion and tips on how Bike Marrickville/Massbug achieved many small improvements by compiling a ‘Bike Works programme’ that was gradually diligently worked through by Marrickville council engineers with little knowledge of bicycle infrastructure provision. A good lesson in detail, diligence and persistence.

7. Discussion on ways to stimulate and facilitate cyclist requests, queries to council (and Councillors), including easy standard e-mails and ways of reaching and empowering more cyclists in the municipality.

8. Review of successes and setbacks in implementation of Pop-Up cycleways in City of Sydney and surrounding councils. Tips on how IWBC can get more action from IWC on Pop-Ups.

9. Discussion on the rationale behind cycle route planning in IWC municipality with regards to desire lines, trip generators, delivery riders routes and links to external council bike routes. The group agreed to look at routes that would capitalise on the emerging popularity of bikes during Covid for families, workers, e-bike riders, cargo bike riders and delivery riders.

10. The group started proposing cycle routes on a large map of the community. There were many suggestions in the former Ashfield which historically has had no bike plan. Other routes in the former Leichhardt and Marrickville were also proposed. Further work on this will be undertaken by the group taking into account current conditions, opportunities, previous bike plan routes and group members detailed knowledge of their areas.

The meeting was well attended and evenly represented by persons from all three former municipalities. New members contributions were appreciated.


Neil Tonkin
Advocacy Coordinator
Inner West Bicycle Coalition

Year in Review -2019

IWBC Coordinator Neil Tonkin and other IWBC members have been to around 45 meetings during the year, on a wide range of topics. Meetings were held with Inner West Council staff, Inner West Council Bicycle Working Group, Council Planning Sessions and Reference Groups, RMS, Westconnex (John Holland), a Parliamentary Forum, and local member BUG meetings, plus meetings with Canada Bay BUG. IWBC member Col Jones went to 10 Traffic Committee meetings.

It is apparent and gratifying that we are being accepted as the voice for cyclists in the Inner West.

Some of the issues discussed were:

Lilyfield Rd Cycleway.

The project initiated by RMS and Transport for NSW to develop Lilyfield Rd as a Regional Cycleway began in 2016 but was shelved in May 2018 due to strong resident and cyclist opposition. A new attempt was approved later in 2018 and a Concept Plan was put on exhibition in mid 2019, with two options. One option was to install bidirectional paths as before, the other to do a more “minimalist” less controversial makeover. We met with the new Consultant, Nathan Parish, from Complete Urban, and Stephen Joannidis, Project Manager from Inner West Council.

We made a submission supporting the minimalist option, but said that some of the better parts of the previous plan shoukd be included if they were non-controversial.

The minimalist option was also the preferred option based on community feedback. There seemed to be a more positive response from residents to the idea of a Cycleway.

A detailed design is now being prepared, maintaining (we think, without being involved) in general the existing design philosophy of uphill bike lanes only but making it more consistent and making safety improvements.

Although we opposed a bi-directional cyclepath on the steep hill west of James St we were not opposed to a path along the south side of Lilyfield Rd between Balmain Rd and Gordon St, which is non-residential, and where loss of parking to fit a bike path in would be less controversial. however there may well be an off-road path next to Lilyfield Rd in the Railyard park when it is finished, starting near Lamb St, as part of the Westconnex Active Transport Enhancement Plan.

Inner West Bike Plan

We have attended a number of meetings with council staff to discuss IWBC member groups’ “wish lists” of desired bike routes and safety improvements, for inclusion in a new Inner West Bike Plan, which will be prepared in 2020-21 we hope. Council has also selected some items for attention now.

Parramatta Rd Urban Access Improvement Project, or PRUAIP.

IW Council received $120m from Greater Sydney Commission to do Active Transport projects along the Parramatta Rd corridor. We have been consulted on the particular improvements we would like at key points, such as putting in bicycle crossings, new bike lanes, connecting an East West route from Flood St St to Nelson St via Dot Lane and a path between Balmain Rd and Hay St.

IWC Integrated Transport Plan

IWBC attended meetings on the ITP and had input into cycling strategy and desirable improvements to the cycling infrastructure. One interesting outcome was a recommendation for a bicycle path on one side of Parramatta Rd.

Westconnex and Rozelle Interchange.

We have attended a number of meetings with Council staff and also with the contractor John Holland on bicycle related matters, as part of a Bicycle NSW team. Cyclist detours during construction are a hot topic, as cyclists face several years of disruption to regular routes. We have been keen to find out the route of new paths promised through the Rozelle Railyards to Anzac Bridge. Final details won’t be released until 2020.

We made a submission on the proposed modification to the EIS for The Crescent, where a new motor ramp over the City West Link has been proposed, reducing bike and pedestrian access at Johnston St. There was strong community opposition to the changes and it appears that RMS may back down on parts of their plan.

City West Cycle Link

IWBC has sought to progress the idea of a level route between Hawthorne Canal and Pyrmont, via the railway corridor to White Bay, then via the Glebe Island Bridge. IW Council has passed resolutions supporting the CWCL, but little has been done to push the idea with the State Government.

A promised letter to the Minister Constance apparently never went. IWBC has written to the Govt but as yet no reply. We are currently exploring the idea of a route behind the sound wall of the City West Link road, from Canal Rd to Balmain Rd as an alternative.

We, with Bike Marrickville, met with Council staff on a proposed bike route from Tempe Station to Sydenham Station.

To be continued…

Rozelle Interchange and Bicycle Links.

Rozelle Interchange is stage 3b of the Westconnex project. It is a spaghetti of road tunnels under Lilyfield and Rozelle to link the M4East-M5 tunnels (Stage 3a, now being built) to the proposed stage 4 (yet to be approved, but how could it be refused if stage 3b is finished?) under-Harbour tunnel from Birchgrove to North Sydney and Artarmon. There is also a tunnel from the east end of the Iron Cove Bridge to the Rozelle Goods Yard. The Goods Yard, or what is left of it after the Light rail depot swallowed the western end, will become a park, complete with tunnel smoke stacks and ventilation pumps, and will extend east under the Victoria Rd bridge at White Bay.

There are associated bicycle works as part of the project (the Active Transport component, unkindly referred as “greenwash” by some, but not us). A bike path is to be built through the Goods Yard to link with Anzac Bridge. A foot and bike bridge will be built over the City West Link from Brenan St near Whites Creek into the Goods Yard park. Another foot and bike bridge will pass over the City West Link at The Crescent, again linking into the Goods Yard park.

An interesting part of the EIS approval for the project was a requirement for the builder (John Holland Joint Venture got the contract) to build a separated cycleway along Victoria Rd (or in the corridor) from the tunnel portal, near Terry St, to Robert St. This requirement by the Department of Planning is some sort of recognition that if motorists get a nice new tunnel to bypass Victoria Rd the community should get a nice new cycleway in the same corridor, even if we still have to pedal up the hill to Darling St.

A big impact of the project will be the removal of the two foot and bike bridges near the Victoria Rd and The Crescent intersection, starting in early 2020, to allow an extra road lane onto the Anzac Bridge. A complex method of maintaining access for cyclists to the Anzac Bridge will need to be worked out. John Holland JV have promised details will be released in August 2019. They have already released plans for detours around the tunnel portal work site on Victoria Rd, between Byrne St and Springside St. This will affect cyclists using the new Iron Cove Bridge cycleway heading to Rozelle from Drummoyne- they will be detoured down Byrne St.

A further impact on cyclists will be at the tunnel dive site in Camperdown, which fronts onto Pyrmont Bridge Rd. Construction activities may affect the cycle route along Pyrmont Bridge Rd between Mallett St and Parramatta Rd. After construction has finished a separated cycleway will (we think, after talks with Inner West Council) get installed, as part of the Parramatta Rd Improvement Scheme..

Rozelle Interchange is currently in site preparation, and construction is to start in early 2020. The Lilyfield Rd footbridge is to be demolished in early 2020.

IWBC has had meetings with John Holland on proposed cycleway detours during construction. John Holland has a site office in Lilyfield Rd at Gordon St, if you want to drop in and discuss detours and the Active Transport component.

Note added in September 2020 :

The long awaited Landscape Plan for the new Railyard Park was released for comment in August. It shows the new bike paths through and across the park, which is due for completion in about 2023. Mostly good in terms of connecting to Anzac Bridge via an east-west main link from Lilyfield Rd near Ryan St, although we have some concerns about the details. North-south routes are also included. Main disappointment is that there is no easy link from Robert St to The Crescent, now that the footbridges at Victoria Rd have been demolished. We did a lengthy submission.