Balmain Road is a useful bike route between Leichhardt and Rozelle because it is fairly flat and direct, but it is narrow in parts, is one-way in the southern section from Parramatta Rd and crosses the busy City West Link. It is identified as a bike route in the Bike Strategy and has some bicycle facilities, like the bike lane between Parramatta Rd and Leichhardt St, bike logos on the road, a bike path now between Moore St and the CWL, and a bike shoulder lane between Lilyfield Rd and Perry St.
The main problems are the narrow section past the High School, where motorists often overtake, even though there are double centre lines, and the crossing of the CWL, where there are no lanes or places for cyclists to store while waiting for the lights to change. Also the lack of a continuation of the bike path across the rail bridge to Lilyfield Rd means cyclists have to share the road and jockey for position as motorists try to change lanes when held up by right turning vehicles at Lilyfield Rd.
Other problems are a squeeze point near Edwards St when travelling south, and the narrow shoulders on the section along the Callan Park frontage, shown below near Grove St. The refuge narrows the road and parked car creates a squeeze point.
All these problems could be addressed by one means or another. Efforts in the past have been piecemeal and not always consistent, although the Moore St T-intersection has been greatly improved by allowing bicycle access from Moore St to the opposite footpath and the connection through to Derbyshire Rd. The RTA has been unwilling to do anything at the CWL, such as lights for a bike crossing. Even the new bike path has faults, such as power poles in the middle of the path, and no bike lights on the bus depot driveway crossings.
LBUG is hopeful though that there is a growing push for improvements and that there will be progress. The Callan Park Masterplan may provide an opportunity to put a bike path along the frontage of Callan Park between Wharf Rd and Cecily St. Existing roads through Callan Park could also be used, with some minor connecting links only needed.
Letters to the Council and RTA would assist to maintain pressure. What is needed is a proper consultant’s study on an overall treatment of Balmain Road for safer cycling.