Sydney Cycleways has launched a new campaign urging people who ride bikes to “ride graciously”. The video presents scenarios, quite common to cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers, which often cause a lack of mutual respect and can sometimes escalate into the sort of road rage which most cyclists try to avoid. It then gives instances of how cyclists can change their behaviour to prevent the road rage incidents from happening. The targeted audience of the video is cyclists, urging them to change their behaviours so that people using other forms of transport will respond with like-minded politeness. It will be interesting to see whether this video is a success, and how Sydney Cycleways will measure that success, as most instances of lack of courteous behaviour between cyclists and other road users are not reported. However, the road rage phenomenon is widespread and highly alarming to cyclists so it is great to see Sydney acknowledging and acting on this in a positive way. To view this cute and entertaining video, click here.
There is a new shared path being constructed in Adamstown, on Glebe Road, where the footpath used to be. This will make bike travel between Fernleigh track and the city or the university much simpler, especially around the problematic area of the Adamstown rail gates. Updates on this work and how it fits into the current infrastructure will be posted here when the work is completed.
Fernleigh Track is reopened after it was closed due to the recent Gateshead fires. The fires have certainly changed the atmosphere of the track for that section, but we all know the Aussie bush regenerates after such an ordeal. I’m looking forward to watching the regrowth happen over the next few months as I ride the track.
Clearing the undergrowth as has happened has highlighted the number of existing mountain bike tracks. I have ridden some of them in that area, but had no idea just how many there are.
New bike lanes are planned for Hunter Street. This is an initiative of Newcastle City Council and will ease traffic congestion along Hunter Street, provide an important link in the Newcastle Cycleways Network and make cycling in the city centre much safer. Tim Askew (NCC City Centre Programs Manager) will make a presentation at the September NCM meeting at the Adamstown Club on Tuesday (10th) night. To see the Herald article, click on the link in the first sentence above to read The Herald’s coverage.
We now have maps of the best riding Newcastle has to offer, available on our maps page.
Please note that Newcastle Cycleways Movement does not recommend that cyclists cycle where there are bike pictures in the car door opening lane. These road markings do not indicate a legal bike lane and it is NCMs understanding that they are gradually being removed from the infrastructure.
There is a new cycle path near Elizabeth Street in Carrington. The shared pathway connects Carrington Foreshore along Elizabeth Drive taking cyclists off the main road and linking up to an existing shared pathway along Linwood/Throsby Creek to Islington Park. The work will improve safety for recreational cyclists as this is a busy street commonly used by trucks to access local industry. This new path will also improve safety for commuters and other utility cyclists. Carrington has consistently had the highest rate of cycling as a journey to work in the Newcastle in the census data and it provides a vital link for cyclists to the cycleway network.
There is a new bike path under construction on the Pacific Highway near Scenic Drive. This path will connect Fernleigh Track to Merewether via Fernleigh Loop and Faul Street.
Here are some more photos from 16th August. This will be an excellent link and RMS are to be congratulated for building this so quickly. Its a bit unfortunate to have the light poles in the path, and we hope this does not make it difficult to get a road sweeping machine along it occasionally. The crash barrier between cyclists and cars will make this section much safer, and the retaining wall is wide enough that there shouldn’t be debris falling onto the path. Lets hope the light poles are decorated with reflective tape, and have a line marking to direct unobservant cyclists away from them.
Today over forty riders slowly cycled their way from Islington Park, along the Throsby Creek track to the Newcastle Foreshore near Nobbys Beach to take part in the inaugural Newcastle Tweed Ride. Vintage bikes were celebrated and revered as everyone swapped stories about how they came to possess their treasured antique or classic bikes.
Newcastle Cycleways Movement would like to thank all those who took part and who helped promote the ride in the leadup to the event. See more coverage on The Herald website.
There is a plan to extend the Fernleigh shared path into Dudley along a corridor that once was the rail line into the Dudley mine. This branch line into Dudley was built in 1892 extending from the Fernleigh rail line in order to service the coal mine which was located at the site of the sports fields. After the rail line closed in 1939 it became an access route for Dudley residents who would walk down the track to get passenger trains which ran till 1967 on the Fernleigh line.
In 1977 a Newcastle residents group (NCM) was formed with the aim of ensuring that these rail lines would not be submerged by urban development. Work commenced on the Fernleigh cycleway as a joint venture between Newcastle and Lake Macquarie City councils. In 1999 a draft plan was completed which detailed all the routes, including the one into Dudley along the rail corridor. The Fernleigh track is now considered to be one of the best 10 Cycleways in the world, largely due to the almost unspoilt natural environment of the track which isolates it from the urban surroundings. Its popularity amongst residents and tourists shows that there is a great need for more of this type of facility, especially if it services schools and connects community facilities.
After the Dudley branch line closed part of it became Foxdale Ave. and the cutting at Burwood road was filled in as a replacement for the bridge that used to take car traffic over the rail line. The path from Burwood Rd to the Fernleigh Track and the Railway to Ocean St. cuttings have became overgrown with weeds and choked by debris. Pedestrian traffic is now small and those that do walk through use rough walking tracks on top of the cuttings.
LMCC conducted a survey in 2012 that overwhelmingly showed support for extending the track along the old railway line into Dudley. There was also a belief by council that there should be a path into Charlestown and to accommodate this the pathway group submitted a modified plan that meet this requirement. See the attached Maps. The new plan uses all of the proposed Dudley to Fernleigh path but extends this by using existing pathways from Whitebridge school and safe streets along the Flaggy creek reserve. This amended plan as shown now connects with 3 schools, the Charlestown swimming pool and shopping center. For the more serious bike rider it would provide an alternative loop that could take in Dudley and Redhead with visits to the Awabakal Nature area for the nature lovers or a choice between the pubs in Dudley or the Churches in Redhead.
The benefits that would result from this path are numerous: it would provide a safe path for students to the schools, encourage healthy activities of walking or cycling, decrease car usage and road congestion, and with continued landcare work will convert what was once a waste land into an attractive natural bushland setting. The actual pathway will be the old rail line which will only occupy about 3m of the corridor owned by council. This corridor ranges from 15 to 25m in width which means that the planned regeneration program will see a 5 to 10m buffer zone between residents and track users. Within the cuttings the track will be up to 5m lower than the adjacent houses and residents will be unable to see people on the track .
Principals at the schools have been supportive of the plan as were the Cycleways movement and most residents. There are some issues to be resolved, everyone wants a cycleway and council does not see this one as important as others. We have suggested that LMCC should use a low impact approach to the construction, minimizing fencing and using compressed gravel rather than tar or concrete for the path. However some would prefer a harder surface, which is more suitable for prams and wheel chair use. Opinions on this approach and to other issues differ so please let us know your thoughts.