When riding the Fernleigh Track in Newcastle, it is advisable to ride at a speed that will allow you to safely negotiate pedestrians and other cyclists on the Track. While much of the Track will be unoccupied, allowing for faster safe travel by bike, there will inevitably be sections where there are pedestrians and multiple bike riders competing for space on the Track. When you are confronted with a situation where you may end up 3 abreast, it is best to slow down so you can safely pass other users of the Track. Also, use your bell as a warning to those in front of you who may not be aware of your presence.
Newcastle Cycleways Movement is supportive of the recently announced plan to install separated bike lanes along Hunter Street. This will link the major bike tracks such as Route 6 which goes from the centre of Newcastle to the Callaghan University campus and the designated onroad route to Fernleigh Track. The current onroad connection to Fernleigh Track will also be further upgraded by Newcastle City Council with improved signage and infrastructure as part of this initiative, making Fernleigh track more accessible from the city centre. Plans for this upgrade include lights at the crossing of Brunker Road and Melville Road, although the problem of a safe crossing of Glebe Road near Teralba Rd has not yet been solved. This will make it possible to ride from the centre of Newcastle to Fernleigh Track in about 20 minutes.
Newcastle Cycleways Movement is a bicycle advocacy group based in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs, and has the vision of cycling as a safe and attractive form of transport that has widespread health, social and environmental benefits. The urban renewal strategy has been discussed by our members and views are summarised in this submission.
* NCM applauds the inclusion of cycleways as a prominent part of the renewal process. A “dedicated” cycleway along the length of Newcastle will be a great community asset, however it should be built to a standard that primary school age children could be safely let ride along it unaccompanied, ie physically separated from vehicular traffic. Bidirectional cycleways are not as safe as two unidirectional ones
* The proposal for cycleways to be implemented promptly on a trial or temporary basis is somewhat alarming, as if a cycleway does not have to be properly planned.
* Connections are required: to Hamilton, to the Corlette St coastal cycleway route, to the East-West cycleway at the sports stadium, and to the Throsby Creek cycleway near the marina. The construction of a cycleway along Hunter St without these connections is not going to entice people out of their cars.
* The NCC Cycling Strategy and Action Plan is referenced and needs to be implemented in this Strategy: especially that cycleways shared with car parking is no longer regarded as acceptable.
* The proposal for Newcastle City Council to build a cycle parking centre similar to that at King George Square in Brisbane is not supported. Funds would be better spent on cycleways.
* Removal of the rail line is not supported as it does not encourage use of public transport.
* Civic Rail Station needs to be retained to transport students to the proposed City University hub.
* The illustration on Page XVIII portrays a cyclist cycling in an unprotected bike lane. Design faults like this should be excluded early in the planning process. Regulations that enforced that all parking was provided on a full cost recovery basis, even at supermarkets, would encourage alternate forms of transport.
The revitalisation of Newcastle CBD is welcome and needed. Revitalisation can be achieved with the rail service remaining, which would allow the money for a Wickham interchange to be spent more productively. Rail services at least as far as Civic should be a key element of the urban renewal.
There is sufficient space on Hunter St for the proposed cycleway to be built to world’s best practice, with space protected from vehicles, on both sides of the road. This will only be successful if it is connected to adjacent elements of the cycleway network, which lie outside the urban renewal planning area.
The recent Newcastle Now initiative has confirmed that separated unidirectional bike lanes will be installed along Hunter Street as part of a move to introduce new vibrant places into Newcastle’s city centre.
Newcastle Now last night hosted an exciting evening of speakers who are all contributing to the future of Newcastle. Jan Gehl was the keynote speaker and he has been contracted by Newcastle Now to design new separated bike lanes along Hunter Street, Newcastle. This, along with other initiatives, is designed to revamp Newcastle, making it a more liveable city. Gehl, in his modest, urbane European manner, gave a brief overview of the history of city planning, and how cities had grown to accommodate cars, especially since the 1950s. But cars are not friendly to the concept of a liveable city, and soon the piazzas of Europe became car parks. Over the past five decades, city planners gradually reduced the parking available for car parking and encouraged the use of public transport and bikes to create the more pleasant urban spaces now evident in all major European cities. Mr Gehl highlighted that this could also become a reality in Newcastle, with the promise of new bicycle lanes in our city centre to realise this wonderful vision for our city.
At the latest NCM meeting the topic of roundabouts attracted a great deal of lively and informed discussion. The above photo shows the large roundabout in Wickham at Cowper St, with its quite expensive (so we were informed at the meeting) bike markings. It looks quite good in terms of providing a safe place for cyclists to ride, but appearances can be deceptive. The solid green areas designate where cyclists can ride, hopefully with safety, and the honeycombed area is where they need to be aware that they do not have right of way while alerting drivers that riders may be on the roundabout. As this is a roundabout where traffic speeds are high and there are two lanes of traffic, it would be difficult for all but the most experienced and fit vehicular cyclists to navigate safely.
This one is outside the Crowne Plaza on Wharf Road, where there is only one lane of traffic and much slower traffic. The cyclists share the space with cars and the sharrows are there to let everyone know that. This solution also costs substantially less than the green lanes in the first photo.
This one is near Marketown, the expensive green lane that feels quite safe to ride in as it appears to clearly designate a place for cyclists to ride. However, due to the small diameter of the roundabout and the fact that it is only a three way roundabout, cars which enter from two of the arms, then exit in the direction of the lane shown, will encroach into the green lane area, possibly side-swiping any cyclists there! And the bike lane is not very wide as you can see from the second photo.
This one is on Dumaresq Street and Beaumont Street and, as you can see, the roadway narrows as it approaches the intersection,greatly diminishing the area for cyclists to ride, and taking away the possibility of bypassing the roundabout altogether, which would be the safest option for those turning left.
It was agreed at the meeting that roundabouts are not cycle friendly and that traffic lights or stop signs or giveway signs are preferable. Every roundabout needs to be treated differently, depending on its nature and surroundings. Do you know of any roundabout treatments that are cycle friendly?
The proposed Richmond Vale Rail Trail will follow the disused Richmond Vale Railway from Hexham near Newcastle to Kurri Kurri. It will be approximately 28km in length and travel through three brick lined tunnels built in the early 1900’s and cross two trestle bridges. It is early days in the development process but Cessnock City Council has previously had a couple of studies done looking at the opportunities etc. I will post further details as they develop together with maps etc.
Here are a few pics from an excursions on the RVRT
At the entrance to one of the tunnels
Here’s the lobbying video made by NCM members in 2005 in support of the Wallsend -Glendale idea.