More info will be added here as the proposal by Transport for NSW in early 2016 to put a separated cycleway along the 2 km length of Lilyfield Rd develops.
A plan was exhibited in November 2016 for comment. After a year’s delay a revised concept plan has been put on yoursayinnerwest.com.au and a final plan is expected to go to the InnerWest Council Traffic Committee and Council in February 2018. This approval is needed before detailed design can proceed.
[Note added March 6/2018: the Council decided that the “project not proceed to design stage at this point” and that further work be carried out on the concept. More details at end of this page.]
There was opposition to the first plan from cyclists concerned with several aspects, and residents affected by loss of parking. Some changes have been made in the latest (December, 2017) plan, widening the cycleway in places and proposing to make sections of the road one way. The latter is to provide extra road space so parking can be retained, and also to reduce traffic on the road.
The stated aim of encouraging higher use by cyclists from the “interested but concerned” category remains questionable, given that the hilly nature of the road may be a more significant barrier to cycling use than perceived safety.
IWBC position is that there are some good aspects to the proposal, such as banning left turning traffic into Lilyfield Rd at Victoria Rd. This would lessen overall traffic on the road and make it much safer to access the footbridge. The footbridge is however a narrow and steep climb for cyclists and should be replaced with a wider and less steep bridge suitable for cyclists. So far RMS have not committed to doing this, which leads us to push for an alternative route through the Rail Yards, which bypasses the eastern end of Lilyfield Rd and the footbridge and is more direct. The Council is pressuring RMS to update the bridge, based on predicted growth in pedestrian traffic. [Note added in September 2017: plans in the EIS released for the M4-M5 Extension show the footbridge being removed, to allow for an extra lane of traffic on Victoria Rd. Also a path through the railyard from near Justin St to join the Anzac Bridge approach east of Victoria Rd.]
There is a good chance there will be bike paths through and across the Goods Yard, with Westconnex showing it on concept plans, and we have it in writing from them too. Urban Growth (responsible for the redevelopment of the Bays Precinct) and TfNSW have also been looking at the options for direct links to White Bay and a repurposed Glebe Island Bridge. Cyclists could access the Goods Yard area at or near Catherine St or Denison St.
Previous calls by Bike Sydneyfor a bicycle link (City West Cycle Link) through the railway cutting under Balmain Rd and Norton St were rejected when the light rail was approved, but there are still hopes a tunnel (semi circular profile, chewed out from the rock wall of the cutting) next to the railway is feasible, or even a tunnel that does not involve the light rail cutting, which could start anywhere convenient, say near the foot of Lilyfield Rd. A local engineer said it was feasible technically, but would involve closing the light rail for a time. There will be a large amount of tunnelling equipment at the “dive site” at Darley Rd for the M4East-M5 tunnel. Also not known is if a way past the new light rail stabling and maintenance sidings at the eastern end of the cutting is possible.
IWBC has written a letter to TfNSW about the use of the rail yard and the need for the CWCL.
IWBC is opposed to the use of a narrow two way cycle path down the steep hill from James St to Hawthorne Canal, and believes the present layout is the best option there (uphill bike lane, downhill share with traffic). The section between James St and Balmain Rd could have bike lanes on either side. Elsewhere a cycleway on one side (the south, where there are few side streets and is non-residential) may be acceptable, but needs to be wider.
The proposal does not fully take into account the wide unused footpath east of Balmain Rd next to the rail yard and only has a 2.4 m wide path, where 3 m would seem easily achievable. 3 m is the desirable width according to the Standards in Austroads publications. The revised plan shows they will need to relocate the kerb about 600mm anyway, plus move some power poles, so we have asked that a full 3 m or more path is provided from Balmain Rd to Justin St, where parking is to be retained, although we question this, since it is non residential. Council claims they have to provide parking for light rail patrons.
East of Justin St, to Gordon St, the proposal is to remove parking, so there is scope for a wider bike path at 3.0 m.
To see the plans and comment until February 2, go to yoursayinnerwest.com.au.
Note added 2/3/18: after considering some 1500 comments on the cycleway Council staff are now recommending that the project “not proceed to design stage at this point in time” due to resident backlash on the one way street restrictions. They will recommend that further work be done on the concept, but they wish to retain the bi directional path along Lilyfield Rd. They now favour a one way west set up from Victoria Rd to Gordon St, but still wish to retain the one way east between Norton St and Balmain Rd. See Traffic Committee Agenda (Supplementary) for 6/3/18 on the council website under Meetings.
23/3/18. We have written to all Councillors asking that they try to salvage the less contentious parts of the Lilyfield Rd project, but also recognise that other routes could be better in terms of getting new cyclists riding and also better at connecting to Main Streets and schools. We have suggested Lyall/Allen St from Darley Rd as an alternative east west route, and also Canal Rd and Francis St to Allen St. This latter has a good gradient and connects back to Lilyfield Rd via Catherine St, or the Anzac Bridge via Brenan St and The Crescent.
No response yet from Council, but the Mayor has called a public meeting on the Cycleway on May 29 at Leichhardt Secondary College (Balmain Rd, Leichhardt). Without some agreed plan to put forward this is likely to be counterproductive.
The other news is that the M4East-M5 link has been approved (March 2018) and the proposed pathway for cyclists in the Rozelle Railyards also has approval. This means the eastern end of Lilyfield Rd would be bypassed by commuter cyclists after completion of the railyard link to Anzac Bridge under Victoria Rd.