See comments at end for latest updates on this project. The project was “shelved” in March 2018, and reported to the Councils Internal Ombudsman by the Mayor for investigation in Nov,2018, but a new consultant looks like being sought in 2019.
The revised plan for the Lilyfield Rd Cycleway was released in October 2017, after a year since the previous plan attracted a fair amount of criticism from residents about loss of parking and from cyclists about the narrowness of the path and other shortcomings.
The Council budget had about $5 million dollars allocated to the project, most from the NSW Govt, and it is supposed to be a flag-ship “Regional Route”, attracting many new cyclists, and linking with Parramatta.
The new plan had some interesting changes. The comments made interesting reading. Residents are complaining as usual about cycleways taking precious parking, but Council has come up with some innovative thinking to minimise parking loss.
Parts of Lilyfield Rd have been made one way, and parking is to be removed only on the section from Gordon St to Justin St, east of Catherine St. This allows space for a two way bike path, their preferred design, or conventional bike lanes on both sides of the road, which many commuters might have preferred.
The path has been widened to 3m in the one way sections, but remains 2.4 m between Balmain Rd and Justin St, where parking on the non residential (railway) side is to be retained, for reasons which are hard to fathom.
We are saying the path needs to be 3 m consistently and that a two way path is too dangerous on the steep hill down to the Canal from James St. The existing uphill bike lane only treatment should be retained there.
Bike Leichhardt has worked with Leichhardt Council for many years to seek improvements for cyclists on Lilyfield Rd, so we are not opposed to the idea of a cycleway. But there are a number of problems with it as proposed and we are urging the new Inner West Council to address our criticisms.
Note added 26 March 2018: After some 1500 comments on the plan, mostly negative, and mostly from non cycling residents concerned about parking or the proposed one way restrictions, Council has decided to “not proceed to design stage”. Instead they are going to have another go at coming up with revised “concept” plan. A public meeting is to be held on May 29, at Leichhardt Secondary College, Balmain Rd, at 6.30 pm. IWBC has written to all Councilors asking them to consider other routes, such as Allen St, or Francis/Allen, as alternatives to Lilyfield Rd. Not as direct, but easier gradients and also links to Norton St and schools etc better. Lilyfield Rd can remain as a fast commuter route for the more experienced and fitter cyclist, but it doesn’t require a two way separated bike path along it for that demographic. We are however still calling for safety improvements on Lilyfield Rd, like a 40 K speed limit and some of the less contentious parts of the plan, like removing all parking including the boat and trailer parking on non residential parts of the road (Justin to Gordon Sts), so there is an extra 3.5 m for cyclists.