Saddle Surveys Of Parramatta Bike Plan Routes 4, 9, 10, 14
Parramatta Bike Plan was well conceived in its original form but with new infrastructures like the NW Transitway, some routes may be superceded or require alterations. Much of the routes have been implemented but there is a lack of consistency in the provision of signage along the routes. I recommend council undertake a thorough audit of signage in both directions for each route. I've tried to indicate gaps where I have seen them but may have missed others.
Regional Route 4
In my opinion, Regional Route 4 remains poorly implemented and poorly planned. According to RTA guidelines, a regional route is designed for riders wishing to undertake inter-regional travel. Regional Route 4 is half of the regional route between Parramatta CBD and Blacktown CBD. Regional routes are designed for competent riders prepared to mix it with traffic and take the most direct route between 2 localities with a mind for gradient and traffic hazard. Page 7 of the RTA Guidelines 2005 defines regional and local routes and I believe that Parramatta bike plan currently displays a lack of understanding of these terms. A regional route is defined as "provide the quickest and most direct means of travelling between regional centres. These routes offer the highest priority bicycle travel through an area with few delays and a high level of consistency and quality of construction". A local route "links regional routes to local mixed traffic streets and provide a collector distributor function in the network. These routes also provide radial access to major sub-regional centres and parallel alternative access to regional routes".
Regional Route 4 is supposed to start at Pitt St, Parramatta. There is no indication heading west that such a route exists till we reach Wentworthville station. Council needs to clearly indicate how the route will be provided up Park Parade considering the significant changes currently being undertaken in regard to the bus transitway. It may be that Regional Route 4 needs to be directed through Parramatta Park, as per the parallel cycleway to be built with the bus transitway. The route might best be re-directed up Caroline St, Hawkesbury Rd and Darcy Rd and then be diverted up either Bridge Rd or preferably Lydbrook St, to meet with Wentworth Ave and the existing Regional Route 4. The council committee may however wish to further investigate the benefit of the regional route continuing along Darcy Rd to cross Hart Drive and continue up to Binalong Rd. This would be a more direct route and avoids the awful crossing facility that presently exists at the end of Wentworth Ave over Hart Drive.
If regional route 4 is to remain in the existing alignment, the steel railings at the pedestrian crossing at Hart Dve need to be removed as any bicycle non-standard eg trail-a-bikes, tandems etc will not be able to negotiate around the steel railings. Recommend railings be removed entirely and replaced with a warning sign about dangerous crossing.
Cyclists than have to make a tricky crossing over Wentworth Ave to a road shoulder when heading west. The shoulder/bike plan has LATM obstacles in the middle with arrow signs presumably designed to slow down traffic. They require cyclists to ride very close to the traffic lane. The shoulders also disappear whenever a side street appears to allow cars to pass on the insides of cars turning right. This forces cyclists to have to stop or potentially be squeezed off the road. Recommend that the shoulders remain consistent and not disappear like this. A regional route should mean that special considerations are given to providing for cyclists.
Instead of the logical route to Blacktown being to continue up Wentworth Ave following the railway corridor which provides the most direct route and best gradient, cyclists when travelling west are forced to turn right into Binalong Rd across the traffic. Binalong Rd has a cycle lane and should be deemed a local route. The route provides a link to a high school but has significant problems with gradient. The route is not direct and therefore should never have been considered for regional route 4. No commute cyclist would take this route to Toongabbie/ Blacktown. Recommend that Binalong Rd route be changed to a local route and the Regional route 4 continue along Wentworth Ave through to Toongabbie.
Regional Route 4 then travels along Fitzwilliam Rd which is safe enough for cycling on as a regional route through to the roundabout at Toongabbie. Instead Regional Route 2 requires the cyclist to dismount and then cross Fitzwilliam Rd to enter a service road for approximately 500m. This service road ends and the cyclist then has to proceed on a conventional footpath of no more than 1.5m width for a further 300m to get to the off-road cycleway that links to Greystanes creek cycleway and Blacktown. Recommend that Wentworth Ave be used through Pende Hill and Toongabbie where it enters Station St at the roundabout with Fitzwilliam Rd. Recommend a marked on-road cycleway be provided along Fitzwilliam Rd as it is regularly used by cyclists including the famous Universal Cycles ride every Saturday morning where up to 80 cyclists ride west along this road. Fitzwilliam Rd also links the local routes along Binalong Rd and Ballandella Rd.
Route 9 — Winston Hills to Wentworthville
Route 9 heading to Wentworthville starts at Oakes Rd. The crossing treatment at Old Windsor Rd needs clarification with the new transitway requiring crossing too. Cyclists will then have a choice of route to take either via Greenleaf St on the original route or the newer and I'd suggest preferred route via the transitway to Hammers Rd interaction where I'd recommend the route then proceed via Ferndale Cl to re-join the original Route 9 at the Harris Rd crossing. This alteration would avoid the dangerous steep descent of Constitution Rd and a very steep ascent if going in the opposite direction. Ferndale via the transitway is a steady gradient and more direct.
The rest of the route to Wentworthville station is well implemented except that at the end of Railway St there is no signage indicating that to turn left you can follow route 4 to Parramatta or turn right to follow route 4 to Toongabbie.
Route 9 heading to Winston Hills has not signage at Barnetts Rd indicating that cyclists can turn right to go to Parramatta.
Route 14 — Westmead
Recommend that planned section from Harris Rd under Old Windsor Rd bridge up to Hammers Rd be removed from plan as no longer required and sections are deemed undesirable and unsafe. Instead an easy connection of Route 9 could be made with Route 14 at Hammers Rd via Ferndale Cl where there will be provision for a crossing to Hammers Rd. There requires details of how Route 14 can safely cross the new transitway and Old Windsor Rd into Hammers Rd.
Hammers Rd has a new roundabout with Centenary Ave which is a dangerous squeeze point for cyclists in both directions. Recommend Watch for Cyclists signs and consideration for taking cyclists onto the footpaths on both sides to negotiate the roundabout.There has been no development of cycling facilities on the length of Route 14. I would suggest that the Hammers Rd, Glenn Ave and Redbank Rd section be maintained as a very useful and relatively safe access route to Westmead hospital and beyond. I would suggest a new section be considered to include upgrading an existing path across Hammers Rd from Hemsworth Ave that provides a safe short-cut to Route 2 heading towards Winston Hills. The path links to Allambie Ave. It would need signage to indicate the small entry to the path.
Route 10 — Toongabbie
Route 10 is mostly implemented but lacks consistency with signage. If going on Route 9 to Winston Hills on Emma Cres, there is nothing to indicate that Route 10 starts at Hollis St. Likewise if coming in the opposite direction on Hollis St, there is no signage indicating the merge with Route 9. I noted no signage from Bulli Rd to turn right into Ballandella Rd and then no signage from Ballandella to Barangaroo Rd. Coming from Toongabbie there is also missing signage. From Barangaroo to Ballandella the sign is on the right side of the road obscured by trees. The sugn would be better placed across Ballandella Rd on an available telegraph pole.
At the Binalong Rd crossing there is no signage indicating that this is now the designated regional route 4 with signage to Parramatta or Toongabbie.[an error occurred while processing this directive]