News — December 2003
Feature: Fitting Bicycles to People
Sore bum, numb hands, or stiff neck? In this article, long serving CAMWEST member Danny Hannan shares his views on how to fit bicycles to people.
Date of ride: 15/2/04
Day of week: Sunday
Name of ride: Parra-Homebush Bay Loop
Contact: Rob Catford
Phone H: 9633 9185
Starts at: Station St entrance, Parramatta station, 9am
Description of ride: Ride the new M4 viaduct cycleway to Homebush Bay then return along Parramatta Valley Cycleway. Cafeþ stop at Olympic Park.
Date of ride: 14/3/04
Day of week: Sunday
Name of ride: Quack Quack
Contact: Mark Robson
Phone H: 9604 2110
W: 9827 0738
Starts at: East side of Guildford station 9am
Description of ride: Rail trail then M4 viaduct cycleway to Duck river and back to Guildford via quiet streets
Central - SBS TV Show
Sunday the 14. December for 8 weeks at 5.30pm.
After some discussion and planning, we have committed ourselves to run at least one ride every month - so make sure you join us. We will continue running big, popular rides such as Tizzana, but we will also do smaller, regular ones. You can see all our 2004 rides in our Rides page.
We've had a quick look at the easement through Reynolds Park and McCoy Park recently. The Girraween Creek cycleway can easily be connected to the North-West Transitway through here, it's a beautiful linear park all the way. Only cost for infrastructure will be a single bridge across Pendle Creek and of course the concrete for the path itself. It's possible to loop under Old Winsdor Rd here and get into Winston Hills without crossing any major roads.
Nominations for Bicycle Steering Committee have been called by Council.
Connection through to Prospect Creek will be completed by Christmas when Busway Crossing is completed. Concrete is already laid. The RTA will not put lights here, cyclists will get stop signs. Representations to the RTA from Mr. Scully have resulted in removal of some screens to increase sight lines. The connection through the bush to Wetherill Park is delayed by an environmental issue as Prospect Creek is in this bushland, however the RTA advises they are committed to completing this vital short link early next year. The road crossings close to Guildford need “wombat” treatment or speed humps either side to slow down cars, particularly Guildford Rd which is an angled crossing. We hope to do a proper audit over Christmas and present it to Holroyd Council.
Dangerous on-road sections, in particular in
Wetherill Park and parallel to Great Western
Highway, are being addressed. The section alongside the M4
through Mays Hill will need a major upgrade
to get it to Austroads standard. Construction on the Canal to
Parramatta section is under way. The footpath based path
alongside Cumberland Hwy between M4 and the Canal is a death
trap and should be subjected to a safety audit by CAMWEST.
The sight lines from cars reversing from driveways are
extremely dangerous and screened by trees and fences. Some
clearances around trees are less than one metre with cycle
speeds over 30 km/h
These two kilometers will become a physical example of the inherent problems with footpath based cycleways.
Holroyd Council have issued Draft Management Plan for this area, we have responded pointing out the coming intersection with the Parra-Liverpool Transitway project bringing increased cycle traffic to the area. Existing pathway will be retained, we have asked for connection North beyond the railway line, joining it to the Wentworthville-Winston Hills on-road route, and bike racks at all community facilities like basketball courts and scout halls.
Western Sydney Recreational Needs Study
Department of Infrastructure and Natural Resources (old Planning NSW et al) have released a draft study on recreational demand in Western Sydney. The 4 key areas of demand include: informal use of parks/reserves; getting close and cuddly with nature; access to water (ie rivers, lakes in Western Sydney); and last but not least access between sites ie especially walking and cycling trails. So it seems the off-road infrastructure is demanded—just need to demonstrate that people are using it.
Parramatta - Funding Awarded, Committee Announced
Parramatta City Council has received a $190,376 dollar
grant towards the construction of the Parramatta
Valley Cycleway (PVC), the second highest amount
awarded. However if we add the $115,000 for the PVC along the
UWS Rydalmere Campus we have 305,376 to be spent within the
Parramatta LGA. Well done to Council staff! More info:
Foreshore is all yours (Daily Telegraph, 6.11.03)
"THE State Government is to spend $10 million over the next five years creating some of the world's most scenic jogging and cycling tracks along Sydney Harbour's foreshores... In Sydney's west, Parramatta Council will get $190,000 to build a 400m long missing link" … "in its Parramatta Valley cycleway at Rydalmere, including a bridge across Subiaco Creek".
The new official committee has been announced, with at least two CAMWEST members sitting on it. Maureen Walsh, local councillor, will chair the committee. Eva Martinez left the council this month and Eva will be sorely missed by us. She has done a great job for cycling in this area. The first committee meeting is being held on 11th December.
On the Parramatta Station Precinct, planning seems to be taking into account room for bicycle lockers and rails. We are concerned, however, about the large amount of bus traffic planned, although this area will be a 40 Km/h zone. Thanks to Neil Tonkin from Bicycle NSW for the update.
Parramatta Council are calling for submissions from residents on the future of McCoy Park, Toongabbie. CAMWEST are proposing to use part of this corridor in conjunction with the existing Girraween Creek cycleway, and the new cycleway networks in the redevelopment sites of Boral and CSIRO at Greystanes to provide a continuous off-road cycleway link from the new Parramatta-Liverpool Transitway cycleway at Prospect to join the planned North-western Transitway cycleway at Old Windsor Rd. If successful, upon completion of the North-West Transitway and Winsdor Rd projects, this would provide off-road cycleway from Busby near Liverpool to Windsor. A detour via Parramatta will also be possible.
Hawkesbury - Cycleways Progressing
The North Richmond to Kurrajong Cycleway has now reached within 300m of Kurmond Road with the money for 2003/2004 exhausted for this section.Whilst the next grant will allow completion to Kurmond Road, construction cannot continue at the proposed crossing Bells Line of Road until a survey and investigation is carried out for the 1.9km section from Kurmond Road to Kurrajong turn off. The estimated cost is approximately $10,000.This will have to come out of the 2004/2005 budget. We have been trying to talk the Committee into transferring funds from another 2003 project to get the survey done now so that in July 2004 construction can begin and we can cross Bells Line of Road and continue to Kurrajong, but so far have been unsuccessful.
The Buttsworth Creek Bridge at Wilberforce on Singleton Road is back on the agenda with the RTA and local pollies all in the act but so far nothing happening. The proposed bridge across Rickaby Creek at Windsor from Howe Park to Deerubbun Park in the Lowlands estimated to cost $60,000 from section 94 funds has now blown out to $240,000 with no prospect of seeing it underway at this stage.The Mayor has promised to look into the matter.
The RTA off road path from McGraths Hill to Parramatta is well underway with the 3km section to Level Crossing Road at Vineyard expected to be open for Christmas. The section to Boundary Road completing the Hawkesbury section is due to start in the new year.
The proposed 690 lot housing development at Pitt Town is still before Council with a final decision being made on 2 December, in the meantime the developer has been advised that the HCC Bicycle Steering have requested an input into the design of the internal Cycleway.
CSIRO Site Development
At Greystanes the old CSIRO site development is up to Precinct Plan stage. We have made a submission to Holroyd Council, supporting the proposed development of this area as a welcome effort at reducing car dependence through provision of facilities for other modes of transport. We made the following comments:
- The most direct and nearest railway station to the development is Toongabbie or Pendle Hill, to the North. Public transport options such as bus routes need to focus in this direction and not take commuters to an already crowded Merrylands area. Interchange facilities at Toongabbie may need to be upgraded. Businesses in these centres should benefit.
- Greystanes Creek provides a fairly level grade for cyclists and much of this corridor already has a cycleway, of somewhat lower standard than Austroads 14 would require. The additions to cycleway infrastructure in this project need to take this into account.
- Cycleway intersections need to be radiused rather than at right angles, and have clear indications of which direction has right of way.
- There are 2 major cycleway projects under way in Western Sydney associated with the Bus Transitways. Parramatta-Liverpool is almost completed, and Parramatta-Rouse Hill is at the preferred activity report stage. Cyclists wishing to travel North-South from one of these routes to the other will undoubtedly try and take a more direct route from Wetherill Park to Winston Hills than via Parramatta. Once the Boral and CSIRO developments are complete, if the CSIRO cycleways are connected to the North past Fox Hills Golf Course to the existing cycleway beside Girraween Creek, there will off-road cycleway almost all the way from Busby to Rouse Hill. North of Station Road, Toongabbie a corridor exists (McCoy Park and Reynolds Park) for the RTA and Parramatta Council to complete the connection.
- A North-South cycleway through this area will greatly benefit the residents of Holroyd in the future. If and when predictions of global oil shortages and resultant major petrol price shocks occur, it will be the people of Western Sydney, those most dependent on the car and those on lower incomes, who will suffer first and most. The residents of this new development need to be given well developed car-free transport options since the area is well away from existing railway lines.
Canal Project - Healthy Interest
Our secretary has met recently, through the Western Sydney Area Health physical activity working group, with a number of stakeholders who may be interested in collaborating on promotional activities for the Lower Prospect Canal cycleway and the rest of the new regional off-road cycleway network extending through to Homebush Bay in the east and Liverpool in Sth-West. Western Sydney Area Health Health Promotion Unit are supportive and may bring expertise in promotional strategies and access to research in this area. Local councils and some other health groups may also get involved. RTA are very keen to get these infrastructures better promoted at a local and regional level and see bike groups and local government services being the key.
With the fantastic cycleways now in Western Sydney it's starting to become a mean task comminicating to people about where you are going, have been and so on. Should cycleways have names? Parramatta Valley cycleway seems to get wide use, as does Lower Prospect Canal. Should all the others get names rather than being referred to by where they go, like, oh, um, Parramatta-Liverpool Trasitway cycleway which is a bit of a mouthful.
Cycle Sydney Bigger than Ever
Early reports of the 2003 Cycle Sydney have been very positive, with lots of riders, good organisation. One of our members witnessed a cyclist running a red light and nearly get hit. The moral of the story is: stay alert and don't run red lights!
The ride seems to be attracting a lot of families, children and people new to cycling, which is what it is designed to do. This is great news
While on holidays near the beach at up the coast, a CAMWEST member fell into a great daydreaming session:
My wife, myself and all 4 kids in a great big tent, with fridge, microwave, frypans, hotplates and cold running water, and 5 bikes parked outside.
All daily transport was achieved by bicycle for entire family including 14 month old "baby" on the baby seat.
Shopping centre was 1.5 km away, as was the beach ( the daily ritual equivalent of work). Pizza shop was 2 km away.
I even got a slab of beer on the bike, would have been much easier with a little trailer.
For 12 days we lived totally WITHOUT the car. My furthest trip was 12 km away, and 12 km back, with I did (predictably) by bike, at night.
About the middle of the second week none of us wanted to pack up and come back to the city, and I realised that this type of living really IS sustainable.
Imagine a city of a million people built like a caravan park. Car speed limit is 10 km/h, so travel is faster by bike than by car. Instead of motorways there would be express cycleways, with some slow lanes for kids and some higher speed and unlimited lanes for commuters, similar to the European autobahns.
Instead of a 600 square metre block of land, we were on 100 square metres. If the blocks are one sixth of the size then the distance from the periphery to the centre is reduced by a factor of the square root of 6, being about 2.5, so its 16 km from the periphery to the centre, still achievable by bike in less than an hour.
Another wonderful benefit of this type if living is that we actually interacted with the people around us.
I'm not suggesting we live in tents, but each dwelling be limited to 100 square metres, including your garage/car space if you choose one.
It won't happen this millennium, but maybe in the next.
Transport Reports Released
December has seen the release of some important reports on our transport systems.
The Parry Inquiry's final report was released and made 45 recommendations, under these headings:
- Delivering better services
- Funding options
- Refocusing Countrylink
- Fair fares and efficient subsidies
- Concessions and community transport
- Charging for road use
- Decision criteria for transport projects
We found no mention of the risk of increasing oil prices from a production peak. This is a real shame give nthe increasing coverage of this important issue (see below), including the WA Government's addressing of it in its Sustainability Strategy and Transport Energy Strategy. Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan, in launching the Strategy, stated that "carbon-based fossil fuels produce environmentally harmful emissions, and oil will be in increasingly short supply in the coming 10 to 20 years. We therefore have a responsibility to diversify our sources of transport energy and move toward newer, sustainable energy sources, such as bio-fuels or hydrogen". There's a lead for Minister Costa to follow.
Meanwhile, the Labor Council has produced
a report titled
'Our Public Transport System', in anticipation of the
Parry Inquiry's findings, and has warned that "the
need for action is urgent if we are not to become
another California—a disconnected state with a
dysfunctional city". One of the key issues is
unsustainable dependence on fossil
"The current best estimate of the peak of global oil production is between five and ten years from now. Debate continues as to when production will peak then decline, but there remains little doubt that prices will rise significantly. This will affect Australians since we currently import 37% of our domestic oil supplies, and this reliance on imported oil is projected to rise to 51% by 2020.
"Understanding that our oil supplies are not infinitely secure or stable at current prices puts a new light on investment in public transport. What some describe as a subsidy, is in fact a strategy to manage risk. Australia’s increasing dependence on imported oil can be reduced by investing in energy efficient public transport, more efficient land use patterns and high quality pedestrian and cycling facilities to increase the use of nonmotorised modes of transport".
Media Release | Download Report (PDF, 360Kb)
Rich Lifestyles cannot go on, says EPA (SMH,
People are also using cars more. Over the past 10 years the number and length of trips taken in cars has increased by more than 25 per cent, more than twice as fast as the growth in population. Brooke Flanagan, executive director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, said the State Government needed to do more to help people live sustainably. Clearly, the Government needs to be increasing its efforts to improve, enhance and expand Sydney's public transport network to provide a viable transport alternative to the car," Ms Flanagan said.
Oil Coverage: The Economist, ABC, International Energy Agency, Labor Council, WA Government
There has been extensive coverage of the risks we face as we approach a peak in production of cheap to produce conventional oil.
the Future - The Western Australian State Sustainability
Strategy has been released:
"Since the first oil crisis in 1972 there has been increasing awareness that oil vulnerability is an issue of concern. The concentration of oil reserves in politically unstable areas means that there is a distinct possibility of political control of oil prices and oil availability. Apart from this the world is using oil at a much faster rate than it is being found–four barrels are used for every one found (some estimates suggest this could be as high as nine). Added to this are the problems of greenhouse emissions from oil use and the car dependence in cities. Global awareness of oil vulnerability has grown since September 11 and it was the basis of several key industry submissions to the Strategy. There is just one week’s supply of petrol in storage in Western Australia for emergency purposes and in the medium term the oil and gas industry is also suggesting a major global oil crisis could occur...
Australia’s oil vulnerability in particular is highlighted by the fact that it faces a $7.6 billion deficit on trade in liquid hydrocarbons by 2010 from a surplus of $1.2 billion in 2000".
Sustainability Network Newsletter - 9 September 2003
This newsletter has a couple of very interesting articles. 'The myth of the efficient car' looks at the vast inefficiencies of our car based cultures.
In 'What Is Sustainability?', David Holmgren, co-originator with Bill Mollison of the Permaculture concept, looks at the broader picture of sustainability in the context of 'energy descent': " With a global oil peak now unfolding all around us, the failure to recognise and understand its signs and symptoms pervades not only the anti-environmental reactionaries, but also much of the vanguard of sustainability".
The Economist marked the 30th anniversary
of the 1973 Oil Crisis in October with two
articles highlighting growing energy risks and problems,
including the the production peak of key non-OPEC
fields, the growing power of OPEC, the risks in our
over-dependence on a shaky Saudi regime, the huge and hidden
costs of oil in transport, and increasing costs and risks
over the next two decades. It recommends demand side
measures, such as energy/carbon taxes.
The end of the Oil Age (The Economist, 24.10.03)
The article stresses our risky addiction to Saudi oil, and considers the response: "Petro-addiction imposes mighty costs of its own...Oil still has a near-monopoly hold on transport. The best way to curb the demand for oil and promote innovation in oil alternatives is to tell the world's energy markets that the “externalities” of oil consumption—security considerations and environmental issues alike—really will influence policy from now on. And the way to do that is to impose a gradually rising gasoline tax."
OPEC - Still holding customers over a barrel (The Economist, 24.10.03)
It makes some very important points - OPEC is once again gaining power, as key non-OPEC fields pass their production peak: "Unfortunately for consumers, however, [non-OPEC fields in Alaska and North Sea] are about to enter a period of dramatic and irreversible decline. This poses an enormous challenge for the big oil companies, which must somehow replace their lost reserves or see their share prices punished by Wall Street...[The International Energy Agency] estimates that the oil industry needs to invest as much as $2.2 trillion over the next 30 years in exploration and production [three quarters of which is required] merely to replace production that is already in decline or soon to decline".
The International Energy Agency has released its World Energy Investment Outlook, which highlights the huge amounts of money they think is required to make up production for the increased future demands, a huge chunk needed just to maintain current production, due to depletion and old infrastructure (assuming that more money will equal more energy, of course, which it may not). In their words, "The total investment requirement for energy-supply infrastructure worldwide over the period 2001-2030 is $16 trillion...A substantial proportion of all this energy investment is required simply to maintain the present level of supply. Oil and gas wells are depleting, power stations are becoming obsolescent and transmission and distribution lines need replacing...The bulk of the $4 trillion of upstream investment [required] in the oil and gas sectors will be needed simply to maintain production capacity at current levels". Who will pay for this? How will this affect energy prices?
Pipeline Cowboys: Rustling for oil (New Internationalist, 10.03)
Futures (ABC The National Interest, 2.11.03)
Argument is intensifying about the future of oil and gas. The question is not when oil will run out, but when global production will peak and begin its long decline. An influential group of retired oil industry geologists who have formed the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) believe that the crisis is almost upon us.
The Dangerous Decade (ABC Radio National's The National
Former Democrat Senator Colin Mason says we should be worried about the decade 2030 because this is when our environmental chickens will come home to roost. Terry Lane speaks to former Australian Democrat Senator Colin Mason about his new book "The 2030 Spike", which predicts a catastrophic future for the globe through the convergence of six driving forces - depleted oil supplies, water shortages, population growth, climate change, nuclear proliferation and poverty. See the 2030 Spike site.
News in Brief
A big thank you to Eva Martinez, from Parramatta Council for all her very hard work for cycling in Parramatta. Eva is leaving council. She's been a great example of a good council staff member working for Parramatta, the council, and the community. Thank you! We hope Council replaces her position so we can continue to see progress for cycling in Parramatta.
CAMWEST has made a a submission to the North-West T-Way after viewing the Preferred Activity Report. Most of the route looks pretty direct and all off road but there are a lot of important crossings without much details given.
Bike for Sale
'Small' frame Apollo Kosciusko mountain bike bought new in
about 1996, ridden by lady 167cm (5ft6&quo; tall). Royal Blue and
green, oversize MTB forks, shimano brakes, 21 speed grip
shift gears, knobbly tyres. Good condition, from deceased
For more info or to arrange to see it please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Postcard from the Future - Cycle Tourism
Here we are, riding in one of the many cycling tours that are organised in the future. By now, Bicycle NSW's Big Ride is so popular that they do four tours per year. Many other commercial groups run tours, and thousands of tourists (including families and baby boomers) are setting out on their own.
Because cycle touring is an immediate mode of transport, people come to know the little towns which would be ignored by people speeding by on the highway. It is slow, and it encourages more stops at country towns to either have a meal and a rest, enjoy the locals, or stay the night. Tours are combined with trains to cover vast areas.
As a result, many understand better regional and rural Australia, and regional towns are thriving again with a welcome economic boost through tourism.
In the Media Lately
Experts say 'generational change' needed to reduce road deaths (ABC's AM, 3.12.03)%
Global energy prospects (Nature Journal, 29.11.03)
Reviews Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage by Kenneth S. Deffeyes
One child killed, another trapped as car hits tree (SMH, 1.12.03)
Bridge gridlock alert over cycle protest (SMH, 28.11.03)
Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl (Smart Growth America, 11.03)
I'd rather take the train (SMH, 17.11.03)
This Heckler shows us one more way in which our car obsession is making us nutty.
Fares to soar in buses shake-up (SMH, 17.11.03)
crashes into loungeroom (SMH, 17.11.03)
A truck driver who swerved to avoid a dog crashed into a two-storey house where five people were sleeping in western Sydney early today.æ
Attempted murder charge after woman held in car boot (SMH, 14.11.03)
Woman passenger killed as stolen car crashes (SMH, 12.11.03)
Text message driver who killed cyclist goes free (SMH, 10.11.03)
NRMA: $2.8bn needed for NSW road works (SMH, 7.11.03)
The US must follow Europe's lead and turn its back on oil
The world is moving into the sunset era of the great fossil-fuel culture... once global oil production does peak, two-thirds of the remaining oil reserves will be in the Middle East, the most politically unstable and volatile region of the world. What this means is that countries still dependent on oil will be locked into a fierce geopolitical struggle to maintain access to the remaining oil fields of the Middle East, with all of the grave risks and consequences that accompany that sober reality.
Energy at the Crossroads (The Guardian, 30.10.01)
picture painted for 2020 (BBC, Nov 03)
"All our lives in the year 2020 could be startlingly different from today, the UK's Environment Agency believes. Using a fictional family called the Dumills, the agency describes a Britain where solar power dominates and every loo has a robot to analyse excrement. We can look forward to cleaner air, better public transport and an end to infuriating traffic jams, it suggests. EA's Vision of Life in 2020:
- High oil prices mean imported foods are no longer affordable - local produce dominates
- A household windmill and solar panels generate surplus electricity which is pumped back to the grid, earning the family money
- Homes have their own purification plants"
Foreshore is all yours (Daily Telegraph, 6.11.03)
THE State Government is to spend $10 million over the next five years creating some of the world's most scenic jogging and cycling tracks along Sydney Harbour's foreshores... In Sydney's west, Parramatta Council will get $190,000 to build a 400m long missing link" in its Parramatta Valley cycleway at Rydalmere, including a bridge across Subiaco Creek".
Seven fatalities in 24 hours on NSW roads (SMH, 4.11.03)
welfare on wheels (SMH, 1.10.03)
Interview with Premier Bob Carr on Sydney.
Bass still cooking with gas (SMH, 22.10.03)
Esso and BHP Billiton have signalled they intend to stay in the gas market in south-eastern Australia. "The joint venture's enthusiasm for Bass Strait gas comes as oil production from the fields continues its natural decline". Australia's oil production is predicted to decline steeply over the next decade, after having peaked in 2000.
Sydney woman critical after being dragged by van (SMH, 22.10.03)
Let's Get Physical (ABC Health Matters, 1.5.03)
Confused about how much exercise you really need (or rather, how little you can get away with?) Health Matters sets the record straight. The first bit of advice in the National Physical Activity Guidelines for Australians (pdf document) is to "Think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience". Sounds like an excuse to have some fun cycling... http://www.health.gov.au/pubhlth/publicat/document/physguide.pdf
Ya Bike! (ABC Radio, 16.10.03)
Cyclists are not mad, but those who drive their cars to the gym maybe.
Electric Bicycle (ABC Radio National Science Show, 16.8.03)
Bus-only lanes on a road to nowhere (SMH, 13.10.03)
This war on terrorism is bogus (The Guardian, 6.9.03)
Too Many Cars on our Roads (ABC's Ockham's Razor,
Freelance Writer Belinda Keir talks about the detrimental impact of too many cars on our roads. She advocates the use of pushbikes and public transport where possible.
CAMWEST Needs You
We need more members to achieve better bike facilities in Western Sydney. There's a number of projects we'd like to get involved in. Join us and make a difference.
Email Transport Minister Michael Cost, and ask him to support cycling and public transport in view of increasing energy risks. Below is an example:
Dear Minister Costa,
There has recently been some very disappointing news about public transport. Please follow the example of your Labour colleague Alannah MacTiernan, WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister, who has recently acknowledged that "oil will be in increasingly short supply in the coming 10 to 20 years" and has as a result launched a Transport Energy Strategy (links below). This strategy will seek to shift Perth away from its high car dependence towards more sustainable modes, such as rail, cycling, and walking.
CAMWEST's Action Corner is where we include one or two suggestions of something simple and concrete that you can do: write an email, letter, representation, turn up for a ride, etc. Join us in making a difference! More advocacy info
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