Rozelle Parklands

After opening to much fanfare in December 2023 the Parklands have been unfortunately closed much of the time since January due to the discovery of bonded asbestos in the mulch in the garden and landscape beds.

The much if briefly appreciated through links for cyclists to the Anzac Bridge and to Annandale are currently still closed.

What was obvious before the asbestos debacle was that there has been little to no work done on the connections to the Park, such as Whites Ck path, Lilyfield Rd, Gordon St, Robert St, Victoria Rd, and Johnston St. Many of these necessary Active Transport links were identified in the Westconnex EIS (Appendix N) and in the Rozelle Interchange UDLP, (Ch 11 on Active Transport), but were left to ”others” to do, presumably Council and TfNSW. After 6 years the ”others” have failed to act.

IWBC has put in a submission on these missing links and on some defects of the Rozelle Parklands cycling infrastucture as constructed.

See a photo compilation by Bike Leichhardt, identifying defects or missing connections.

We also suggest that surrounding streets be declared 30 K zones or Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, in order to promote walking and cycling to the new Parklands. This would be consistent with Councils new policy on lowering speed limits, where 30 K is now an option on selected streets. 30 K is much safer than 40 K, and is used extensively in other countries.

Paramatta to Opera House Foreshore Path

The State Government has released a plan for a foreshore bike and walking path from Parramatta to the Opera House. Total length is 91 km, so not meant as a direct route, but a path you could use bits of to explore the foreshores or complete the whole route over time. They have started with 12 projects that they say are feasible now and are also useful as part of other routes. One is a path next to Massey Park Golf Course in Concord. Another is upgrading Foreshore Rd in Callan Park to remove car parking, although this has already been announced as part of a Bay Run upgrade. 

Future progress will depend on a steady roll out of funding, which could be problematic. Any business case might well decide that other more transport-oriented bike routes might be better value. However, more foreshore paths would be great for Bike Leichhardt recreational rides.

Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes Press Release.

(Includes a link to a download of an animated loop of the route)

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.

Note added December 2023:

The latest CSP has an important policy in it that says Council will prioritise walking and cycling over private cars. See section 2.6.2 . If only they put this in to practice!

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.