Saddle Survey of Liverpool to Parramatta Rail Trail and Other Cycleways
Conducted Thursday, 15 September 2005 by Ian Macindoe (CAMWEST)
Due to construction in the area of Parramatta Railway Station, the following survey begins at the Elizabeth St bridge and follows the cycling route shown on the ‘Sydney and Parramatta’ RTA map (December 2003) of Phillip St/Charles St/George St/Alfred St/Alice St/Good St/M4 viaduct before joining the Rail Trail proper.
The saddle survey was recorded on tape and the main points transcribed as below. The numbers preceding the comments indicate the point on the tape counter that each comment commences.
The ‘naïve cyclist’ principle:
A most important feature of this survey is that it ‘assumes a naïve cyclist’ which is a principle that should be observed by all planners and implementers of cycle routes. By a ‘naïve cyclist’ I mean a rider who may or may not have a map but who, in any case, must rely on signage to know whether she/he is on a cycle route leading to the intended destination. No assumption should be made that ‘of course, the cyclist will understand that the route now leads X, Y and Z’. At each choice point the assumption must be that the naïve cyclist, having never ridden on this route previously, will be asking ‘do I turn left, right or go straight ahead?’
Saddle survey heading south
25 — Between Phillip St (Elizabeth St bridge) and Alfred St (Parramatta City Council):
- There need to be a number of large (PS-2 1800 * 1100) bicycle logos marked on the road surface immediately to the left of the unbroken edge line, so they are not covered by parked cars.
- At the corner of George St and Alfred St there needs to be some indication (both pavement logo and upright signage) to indicate that there is a cycleway that, at this point, goes to the south along Alfred St and continues east along George Street.
- Signage on Alfred St is totally inadequate. There is one small blue-and-white bicycle sign on the southeast corner of Alfred and Hassall Sts, a sign that would likely be missed by most cyclists as they pause at this crossing of Hassall St. Need large pavement logos and much larger signage indicating the direction of the cycle route.
76 — Alfred St (Parramatta City Council):
- Lack of pavement logos to reassure cyclists that they are on a cycle route. Such logos as there may be (I saw one) are placed so they are covered by parked cars. Worse, no indication as to which road to the right is to be taken to reach Good St. Since I saw no signage of any kind to tell me which right turn I should make, I continued on Alfred St and eventually turned right on Virginia St (all the while asking myself: Should I turn on Alice St? Weston St? Prospect St?).
100 — Good St (Parramatta City Council):
- On reaching the corner of Good St and Virginia St there was no indication of a cycleway on Good St (I knew it should be there only because the map showed it so). This illustrates the importance of large painted bicycle logos that should be on the road surface before and after each cross street. At this particular corner, pavement logos on Good St, on each side of Virginia St, would leave no doubt that a cycle route followed Good St at this point.
- Heading south on Good St (from Virginia) there are no pavement logos until one reaches Ritchie St where, appropriately, there is a bike logo on pavement just before Ritchie St and another one just after Ritchie St. That is ideal! However, this pattern needs to exist at all cross streets. And, in this case at Ritchie St, the logos are placed in such a position that they can be covered by parked cars.
- When one arrives at the cycleway under the elevated M4 there is no signage observable from Good St to indicate that the M4 cycleway exists and can be accessed from Good St. A naïve cyclist could easily ride past without knowing it is there.
170 — M4 Cycleway (RTA):
- Heading west on the cycleway one comes to the concrete pathway to the right leading to the southern end of High St (where it ends at Junction St). It is this short piece of walking/cycling path that one needs to take to access the shared walking/cycling path on Junction St that is an alternative to the new route of the Parramatta to Liverpool Rail Trail at this point (rail trail is now via Church Street underpass and the path access to the western side of Woodville Road, Wallace Street, Union Street, Boomerang Street and Railway Terrace). At the place where this short path to the north leaves the main M4 cycleway there is no signage to indicate that a route to Parramatta (or to the east side of Woodstock Rd) is at hand. Even upon consulting the map it is not at all clear what one should do at this point. At the point where High St and Junction St meet there is a sign pointing west to indicate the route to Merrylands and Fairfield, but it can only be read from the High St side --- the back of the sign, visible from the M4 cycleway, is blank. No help at all.
- In addition, there should be a pavement logo and upright sign within a couple of metres of the break in the fence which gives access from the M4 cycleway to High St. Such signage would indicate that the cyclist heading west on Junction St can use the shared walking/cycling path.
- To return now to the short path that leads from the M4 cycleway to the south end of High St: At this junction there should be a signage map that explains to the naïve cyclist how to negotiate the new route of the Parramatta to Liverpool Rail Trail at this point. That is, the map would show that the rail trail is now via the Church Street underpass and the path access to the western side of Woodville Road, Wallace Street, Union Street, Boomerang Street and Railway Terrace.
215 — Woodville Rd between Parramatta Rd and Randle St (Parramatta City Council/RTA):
- Quite a few of the pavement logos on the shared walking/cycling pavement on the eastern side of Woodville are badly worn, as is the pavement logo on the corner of Woodville Rd and Randle St. All need to be re-painted. Ditto for those on Randle.
230 — Randle St (Parramatta City Council/RTA):
- Heading west on Randle St to corner of Boomerang St and Randle St (southern side of latter) one needs to cross Boomerang St, then (within 3 or 4 metres) access a dropped curb to cross Randle St to its opposite side (i.e. north side of Randle St). At point where there is an upright sign saying ‘Merrylands/Fairfield’ and another sign indicating End Cycleway, I strongly recommend pavement logos directing cyclists and walkers where to cross, ideally with a curved arrow. Cyclists typically watch the road pavement and traffic, not upright signs.
- Having crossed Randle St, via the pedestrian refuge, cyclists heading towards Merrylands/Liverpool need to be able to see a clear pavement logo with arrow to show that this is the cycleway route. There is a small sign on a lamp post at corner of Boomerang and Randle, but a cyclist would not normally look in that direction. There is a pavement logo on the north side of Randle, but it is so badly worn that it cannot be discerned from the south side of Randle St and is barely discernable when right on top of it.
298 — Railway Terrace, Merrylands (RTA):
- On either side of Merrylands Station—a couple of hundred metres north and south of Merrylands Station—on the cycling surface of the cycleway there need to be logos painted to indicate that it is a shared walking/cycling pathway. This is also true for some stretches between Randle St and Guildford Railway Station where new concrete has been laid but no painted logos have been supplied. Nor is there a dashed line in the centre of the pathway.
- At Guildford Railway Station it appears that riders are expected to leave the shared path and to ride on the road for several metres, but there is no clear signage for southbound riders to indicate this.
- South of Guildford Station there are several stretches of concrete pathway that lack broken white line in centre; also lack of painted logos.
340 — Military Rd, Guildford/Yennora (RTA):
- Some of the logos south of the Guildford pipeline cross-over bridge could do with either a touch up or replacement.
- Need pavement logos at Yennora Railway Station.
353 — Fairfield St/Dale St, Fairfield (RTA):
- It would be good to have, on the black tarred surface of the car parks either side of Fairfield Station, white logos indicating shared cycling/walking. Nothing there now.
- Other nearby logos need to be either replaced or replenished.
370 — Dale St/Wilga St, Fairfield (RTA):
- It is not clear, as one leaves the car park at Fairfield Station and heading south, if one is supposed to ride on the road. The signage for southbound riders at this point is inadequate. There is a pavement logo (quite worn) on the east side of Dale St and there is an upright sign (badly bent) saying ‘Canley Vale and Liverpool’, but nothing on the west side of Dale St to alert cyclists to the need for crossing from the car park to the east side of Dale St. It is my firm opinion and experience, that most cyclists will not be looking in the correct direction for the signs that do exist. I was looking for signs and could not see them until I stopped cycling and searched around. Something better needs to be installed here.
- Dale St/Wilga St pavement logos badly worn. Need replacement or replenishment.
- At the corner of Wilga St and Fairlight Ave there is a sign indicating ‘end of cycleway’, but nothing to indicate that riders need to cross Wilga St and access the shared walking/cycling path on the northern side of Fairlight Ave. This ‘cycleway ends’ sign is confusing to the naïve cyclist, particularly in the absence of any further clear direction sign as to where to go next, as it seems to suggest that this is ‘the end of the line’ for cycling. On the opposite corner there is a large green and white upright sign saying ‘Pedestrian Subway’ with an arrow pointing towards the railway line. Ideally there would be a similar sign (either immediately above or below it) saying ‘Cycling/walking path to Canley Vale / Liverpool’. There is an almost unnoticeable small ‘shared walking/cycling’ sign on a lamppost about 5 or 6 metres up Fairlight. But it is quite inadequate for alerting the naïve rider to the need to make a right-hand turn across Wilga St and to mount the pathway on the corner with Fairlight Ave. There needs to a sign underneath the sign on Wilga St that says ‘bicycle lane ends’ (on the lamppost that has the street sign saying ‘Fairlight Avenue’)—under that ‘lane ends’ sign there is a sign saying ‘Kitchen Renovations: For free quotes …’. If the latter sign were to replaced with a sign saying ‘Cyclists cross here to shared cycling/walking path on Fairlight Ave’ it would do the trick for the naïve cyclist.
444 — Canley Vale Railway Station (RTA):
- Road and concrete pavement logos in vicinity of station worn away; need to be replenished.
- At the southern-most end of First Avenue there is a T-junction with Pevensey St. At this junction cyclists are expected to make a left turn across First Ave, taking advantage of a refuge island, in order to access the zebra crossing some 10 metres to the east on Pevensey St to cross Pevensey and continue on the rail trail. However, as cyclists arrive at the junction of First and Pevensey there is no signage of any kind to indicate where the rail trail goes. There is no signage to indicate that cyclists should cross from the western corner of First and Pevensey to the eastern corner of First and Pevensey; nor is there any signage at the zebra crossing to tell cyclists that they should cross to the southern side of Pevensey and turn to the east to follow the rail trail. Suggest that there should be a sign on the lamppost on the northwest corner of First Avenue and Pevensey St to indicate that cyclists cross to eastern side of First Ave. On the footpath, at the zebra crossing, there needs to be a bicycle logo and an arrow to indicate that cyclists cross on the zebra crossing. On the pavement on the southern side of the zebra crossing a bicycle logo with arrow pointing east will tell the naïve cyclist the direction to follow.
- At the point where Pevensey St joins Bareena St there is a need for a large pavement logo to indicate the rail trail. [The first logo at present does not occur for about 100 metres after the junction, a situation that could leave the naïve cyclist in some doubt as to the direction of the rail trail.]
515 — Cabramatta Station (RTA):
- As cyclists reach the parked cars just to the north of Cabramatta Railway Station there needs to be plenty of tar- surface logos (if there were ever any there they are now worn away). Such logos will make it clear to everyone, motorists as well as cyclists, that this is the rail trail route.
- As cyclists reach to pedestrian crossing at the station (just a few metres before the Cabramatta East Public Toilets) there needs to be a pavement logo to indicate that at this point cyclists mount the footpath and access the car park immediately to the south of the public toilets. Logos on the blacktop of the car park will alert both motorists and cyclists to the rail trail through the car park.
560 — Dangerous crossing—Corner of Broomfield St and Sussex St (RTA):
- On the entire rail trail this is, without doubt, the most dangerous point for cyclists. As cyclists approach the southern end of the shared pathway on Bloomfield St there is the temptation to ride straight across Sussex St to the off-road cycleway visible on the southern side of Sussex. This corner, adjacent to the railway line, has very poor sight lines in either direction. To the right (west) Sussex St comes through a low rail bridge, while to the left (east) Bloomfield (and to a less extent Sussex) are behind the rider. This creates a very dangerous situation. A large warning sign is needed to alert cyclists to the danger of this ‘blind corner’. Cyclists should stop at this corner and carefully examine for traffic from either direction. A sign to this effect could easily be put on the reverse side of the existing upright sign that say ‘Cabramatta / Fairfield’ and shows the usual symbols for the shared pathway. [The existing sign faces south. The warning sign needs to face north]. A sign much closer to the corner would be better. There is a holding rail near to low plants on the corner; so a suitable position for the warning sign would either be on the holding rail or an upright sign among the plants. In addition, I urge that there be pavement logos on either side of Sussex St at this point, for cyclists heading south and for cyclists heading north, saying ‘Caution! Cyclists look both ways before crossing’.
609 — Roadway through Warwick Farm Recreation Reserve (Liverpool City Council):
- The stretch of rail trail between Cabramatta Creek and the corner of Lawrence Hargrave Road and Station St is sub-standard. Ideally the road should be re-surfaced to smooth out the bumps and irregularities. If there were bicycle logos on this stretch they have long gone.
622 — Lachlan St at Liverpool Boys High School (Liverpool City Council):
- On the footpath alongside the Boys’ High School on Lachlan St there is a need for some additional pavement logos beyond just one at each end.
Saddle survey heading north
626 — Footbridge over rail line at pipeline, Guildford (RTA):
- Better signage at each end of bridge would be desirable.?
635 — M4 Cycleway at Good St (Parramatta City Council/RTA):
- As cyclists ride east on M4 viaduct cycleway and reach Good St there is no signage whatsoever to indicate that there is a cycle route on Good St. Naïve cyclists wishing to reach Harris Park or Parramatta at this point need to know, via a clear sign, that they turn left on Good St and head north up the hill.
642 — Good St, Harris Park (Parramatta City Council):
- On the corner of Good St and Bowden St there is an ‘End Shared Path’ sign and, nearby (but not easily seen) is a roadway bicycle logo. This could be confusing to the naïve cyclist, suggesting that this is the end of any cycle route. Both upright and pavement signage is needed at this point to make clear that a cycle route proceeds up the hill (north) on Good St.
- Until cyclists reach the corner of Good St and Crown St there are no signs to let naïve cyclists know that they are on a cycling route. Ideally there should be pavement logos on each corner, particularly at the very start of the next block. Even at Crown St the signage does not indicate whether one should proceed straight ahead or make either a left or right turn. A large pavement logo on the north west corner of Good and Crown Sts would let the cyclists know that, for one more block at least, the cycle route continues on Good St.
- Finally, at the corner of Good St and Weston St there are two indications that one is on the cycle route: a partial bicycle logo on the road surface, but partially covered up with road patching; and on the north-west corner an upright sign with a bicycle and an arrow saying ‘Parramatta City’ pointing down Good St towards the T-junction with Alice St.
- At the T-junction of Good St and Alice St there are some small signs, none of them very adequate, nor appropriately located so they can be easily seen by cyclists. There should be a largish sign on the lamppost that has the name of Alice St on it (directly mid-way across the T-junction).
712 — Corner of Alice St and Alfred St, Harris Park (Parramatta City Council):
- A cyclist riding east on Alice St and arriving at Alfred St would have no indication that there is a designated cycle route on Alfred St and that it turns onto Alice St. There is no visible signage, except for a small sign on the north-east corner of Alice and Alfred with an arrow pointing up the hill on Alfred St and saying ‘Harris Park / Bankstown’, so it is pointing in the wrong direction. It should be pointing up Alice St so cyclists can access the Good St cycle route to Harris Park and Bankstown. No bicycle logos on the road pavement anywhere to be seen. Quite inadequate.
734 — Alfred St, Harris Park (Parramatta City Council):
- On Alfred St, just to the north of the crossing with Hassall St, there needs to be a large road surface bicycle logos, well out from the kerb so it is not obscured by parked cars, to indicate that the cycle route continues north on Alfred St. At present there is no signage of any kind.
- As cyclists arrive at the corner of Alfred St and George St, the only way they might judge that the cycle route continues north on Alfred is by realising that George St is one way (opposite to the direction they want to pursue). There is no signage.
- Nor is there any adequate signage at the corner of Alfred St and Noller Pde.
750 — Between Alfred St and Elizabeth St bridge, Parramatta (Parramatta City Council):
- There needs to be an on-site review of this stretch of the cycle route. Lack of signage, cycling against the traffic, off-road and footpath options all need to be considered. Noller Pde, Purchase St, (off-road) Hassall St, (off-road) Robin Thomas Reserve, Macquarie St. Possible future route via Parramatta River foreshore?