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.

City West Cycle Link

Inner West Council is supporting the construction of the City West Cycle Link. At a recent council meeting they resolved to seek talks with the State Government about including the CWCL in the Westconnex/Harbour Tunnel project, which has been given the go ahead.

The CWCL is a relatively flat bike path from Hawthorne Canal, alongside the railway, going under Norton St and through the deep cutting to the Rozelle/Lilyfield Railyard east of Balmain Rd and on via the proposed new parkland towards White Bay and the Anzac Bridge Cycleway, or the old Glebe Island Bridge if that is opened to foot and bicycle traffic in the future. It would run under Victoria Rd where the old rail tracks ran.

As originally proposed by Bike Sydney the CWCL would require temporary closure of the light rail or night working to cut a half tunnel into the side of the cutting for bicycles to travel in, next to the railway. An alternative idea is to bore a separate tunnel, which would not require any disruption to the rail operation, and give greater flexibility to the start and finish of the tunnel. A tunnel for bicycles would be just one of many tunnels under Leichhardt, Lilyfield and Rozelle/Balmain to be built as part of the Westconnex/Harbour West Tunnel project.

IWBC will be seeking talks with local MPs to get their support for the concept. The greatest benefit would be to the residents west of Leichhardt, in John Sidoti’s electorate, and to the southwest in Ashfield and Croydon area. They would have a flat bike path into the CBD, encouraging many more to cycle than currently do on the hilly Lilyfield Rd route. The CWCL is a logical extension of the Greenway towards the CBD.

Shelved Lilyfield Rd Cycleway project reported to Council watchdog

The Mayor, Darcy Byrne, has reported the shelved* cycleway project to the independent Council watchdog, to investigate if there was a proper oversight of the project by Leichhardt Council from 2015-2016, when it was in the hands of the Administrator prior to the recent amalgamations with Marrickville and Ashfield Councils. Around $500,000 was spent on the project.

The project was announced by Transport for NSW as part of its Regional Cycleway Network in late 2015 and more or less dumped on Leichhardt Council to do the tendering and supervision. Council selected GTA Woodhead as consultants to do the design. The first concept design ran into opposition from residents on the grounds of loss of parking, and cyclists on the grounds of narrowness of the cycleway and steepness of the route A revision, which took about 12 months to do, also met opposition, largely due to it requiring one way restrictions on parts of Lilyfield RD. Residents and cycling groups complained about the method of consultation and slowness of responses. The mayor announced the project would be “shelved” and “not proceed to detailed design stage” in early 2018.

A public meeting was held in May 2018 and it was decided to do a review of the project and produce a new design.

*At time of writing Council was  about to call for tenders for a new consultant to do a review and work on a new plan for a cycleway, with some alternative routes, as suggested by IWBC, and options to be considered.

At the same time Council has decided to seek talks with Transport for NSW about construction of the City West Cycle link, a tunnel or half tunnel under Lilyfield in or near the railway corridor. The CWCL would provide a flat route from Hawthorne canal to the Rozelle Goods Yard, with easy connection to White bay and Anzac bridge. If built it would largely replace the need for a Regional Cycleway on Lilyfield Rd.

UPDATE, June 2019: 

In May 2019 Council appointed Complete Urban ( to do a report on the shelved Lilyfield Rd cycleway project and come up with some new suggestions. IWBC met with Nathan Parish from Complete Urban and  Council officers in June. Stephen Joannidis is the Council officer in charge of the new project. Further meetings and consultations are scheduled.  Community management of the project will be important, considering the opposition to many aspects of the shelved plan.

Council has implemented a ban on trailers and heavy vehicles along the railway side of Lilyfield Rd. Cars can park there but lengthy sections are empty, and we continue to call for a ban on all parking to allow space for a wide high quality bike path or lanes.

Also affecting the project is the Rozelle Interchange (stage 3 of Westconnex) which will create a parkland on the adjacent Goods Yard east of the Light Rail stabling sheds. If a path through the new park (from about Justin St) is built to connect to Anzac Bridge the eastern section of Lilyfield Rd will be bypassed. The footbridge at Victoria Rd is to be demolished as part of a widening of Victoria Rd, so an alternative is needed in any case.

Big Bike Day Sunday 23 September

All three bike groups, plus Dulwich Hill BC, will be at the Inner West Council Big Bike Day in War Memorial Park, Catherine and Moore Sts, Lilyfield on Sunday.
bigbikeday So come down and have a chat about cycling at our stall.

Also on is Tour de Balmain, a ride put on by Bike Leichhardt, starting 830 am from bar Italia in Norton St, Leichhardt, riding around the Balmain Peninsular taking in historic sites and harbour parks, and ending at the Big Bike day around 1130 am in time for a free lunch.

Inner West Council Bicycle Working Group- BWG

After lobbying by IWBC during the recent Council elections the Council, through a motion by Cr Drury and other supportive Councillors, agreed to set up a Bicycle Working Group, to take the place of the Bicycle Advisory Committee on the old Leichhardt Council. It isn’t a Council Committee, that is it won’t report directly to Councillors at Council Meetings, but minutes will be taken and available to Councillors through a bi-monthly “Local Democracy” report. The Working group is open to anyone to attend, and relevant staff will provide reports and answer questions.

Terms of reference

“The Group is constituted as a Working Group and not a Committee of
Council, minutes of each meeting will not be presented to a Council
Meeting for formal adoption. Rather updates from Working Groups would be
provided to Council as part of a bi-monthly Local Democracy report.

The Group can request Councillors to bring matters before Council by way of
Councillor Notice of Motion process.

Working Group participants can request agenda items at meetings or through the
Group Manager Roads,Traffic & Stormwater.”

The first meeting was held on June 16,2018.
Reports were given on the status of bicycle projects including
LR03- Livingstone Rd
LR07 – St Peters Station to Tempe Station
LR16 – Addison Rd
LR18 – Dulwich Hill Station to Marrickville Station
RR02 – Parramatta Rd to Marrickville Park
RR07 – Longport St, Petersham to King St, Newtown
and Lilyfield Road cycleway
by Manager of Transport Infrastructure Predrag Gulelj, and an overview of transport planning and the aims of Council to promote Active Transport (walking, cycling, public transport) was given by Ken Welsh, Senior Transport Planner, worth a read, along with the Integrated transport Strategy 2016 for the former Leichhardt Council.

A worrying aspect of the amalgamation is the need for the new council to develop new Transport Plans, tying together plans from the three former councils. This will take 2 to 3 years (see Ken’s timeline in his presentation) and they said the new Inner West Bike Plan will have to wait until that is done. I am hoping it can be done in conjunction or some other means found to keep projects coming through for implementation. Ashfield Council never had a bike plan so one is urgently needed so that RMS will provide funding- a necessary condition.

Ken Welsh- presentation on Strategic Planning Context

Predrag Gulej- Projects Update -21.6.18

Minutes are available from the Council Working group web site link.

Hello From Neil

Improving key cycle facilities in a densely built environment is not as simple as it seems!

Take the case of the proposed two-way cycleway proposed for Lilyfield Rd. It is clear that AshBug, Bike Leichhardt and Bike Marrickville are all aiming to make things better for all cyclists in their former municipalities and all groups would support more state government money being put into making it easier for people to cycle to the city from the Inner west. Currently the improved Lilyfield Road cycle lanes work relatively well for the hardened commuter cyclists that use this route. These cyclists often come from areas beyond our new Inner West municipality and are happy to deal with the steep hill up from the Hawthorne Canal and brave vehicles entering Lilyfield Road from many cross streets at peak hours.

Ostensibly, the uphill/downhill lane re-alignments and green intersection treatments done by Leichhardt Council have been useful at providing for fast moving cycle commuters, largely male and fit. However the orientation of the Transport for NSW policy in Sydney’s Cycling Future (2013) is to substantially lift the numbers of people cycling from the currently low base of around 2% modal share to double this by June 2017. In other words they want to get people new to cycling onto their bikes, and, as the Lilyfield Rd cycle facility in a major part of the Inner West 5Km strategic links to the CBD it is fundamental to their aims of improving modal share for cycling in Sydney.

My personal reaction to this project was ‘what a waste of money, to muck up a perfectly good cycleway and replace it with a cramped, slow moving and potentially dangerous facility’! I would much prefer that if the state government wants more novice cyclists to take up cycling they should put a dedicated facility all the way through the light rail corridor using the old Rozelle Rails yards and incorporate the link to Anzac Bridge, utilizing more gentle grades and separation from busy cross streets and the difficult crossing of Victoria Rd at Rozelle.

I was looking at it from my perspective alone. However if our groups are true to our aims of improving cycling for all we need to consider ways of actually getting more people to cope with cycling in our congested, car dominated hilly Sydney.

There are many issues to be considered with this project such as dealing with residents’ parking issues, maintaining a reasonable quality of route for higher speed commuter cyclists and improving the cramped crossing of Victoria Rd. Getting access to the rail yards for a better quality off-road route also poses access issues across Lilyfield Rd and gradient issues for access ramps. The dream of using the Rozelle rail yards for an extension of the Greenway may be forced into the longer term due costs, State Rail intransigence and Westconnex route uncertainty concerning the Rozelle interchange.

These are some of the complex issues that show that although the state government is slowly moving on recognizing what we already know about the benefit of usable bicycle facilities, the path to success is difficult.

The actual design of the cycleway has been modified since the community engagement held in June 2016. This will be available for viewing  at a Drop In Session held at Leichhardt Town Hall on Tuesday 29 November between 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

As part of our democratic process I welcome all views on this project and I urge Inner West Bicycle Coalition members to attend the session if they wish.

Neil Tonkin

IWBC Advocacy Co-ordinator

Mobile 0409 313 008



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