[ Note added in 2022: the article below was written in 2012. Ten years on and no progress. However Inner West Council has indicated it would like to include Johnston St in its new Bicycle Strategy. We recently did a saddle survey and not much has changed, except for the far north end at The Crescent, which has been dug up by Westconnex constructing the Rozelle Interchange. We obtained the old plan from2012 for a bi-directional bike path and it mostly seems still achievable.]
There have been several attempts by Leichhardt Council to have Johnston St in Annandale converted from a 6 lane State road to a more pedestrian and cycle friendly street. There have been a number of expensive consultant’s reports into how this could be achieved but all have been rejected by the RTA, which controls the road.
It would seem easy to close one or two lanes and convert them to cycle lanes or garden beds and plant some trees etc, but the RTA insists it needs the road that wide “in case there is a major accident/incident on the Anzac Bridge and there is a need for a detour via Parramatta Rd”. Solutions which would still enable this in an emergency have been suggested but so far there has been no movement by the RTA.
LBUG has suggested that most of Johnston St is OK for cycling, there are only a few “critical points”, such as at intersections and places where angle parking sticks out into the traffic lane, where some relatively minor work or changes could greatly improve safety for cyclists. See some photos of Johnston St on Picasa.
If the RTA won’t countenance major road remodelling then perhaps some cheaper and easier solutions might be possible, such as installing bike lanes where there is parallel parking, reinstating parallel parking where demand is light (in North Johnston St) and indenting angle parking to allow more room for bicycles in the traffic lane. In some sections, the footpath could be declared a shared path.
Please write or email to the Council or speak to your local councillors in Gadigal ward (Crs. Kogoy, Plate or Howison) and ask for some immediate action to make Johnston St a safer place to cycle – we dont need millions spent. It can’t be that hard to convert such a wide boulevarde to accommodate cyclists.
Added in April 2013- Council is considering a motion on Johnston St tonight at the Council Meeting. see http://www.leichhardt.nsw.gov.au/ArticleDocuments/1478/itemf05-apr2013-ord.pdf.aspx