There are two ways for cyclists to travel from Victoria Rd,White Bay, via The Crescent to Sydney University or RPA/Newtown. One is via the City West Link shared path and then onroad on The Crescent, the other via the paths along Johnston’s Ck and Orphans Ck or Booth St to Pyrmont Bridge Rd, then maybe Junction St to Arundel St and Ross St.
The road route is direct but The Crescent is narrow and bendy between Johnston St and Nelson St and again at Ross St. There is a lot of traffic on this State Road, but often it isn’t moving very fast, despite the 60 K speed limit, due to congestion. Experienced and confident cyclists use this route, but some are now turning left at Chapman Rd and using the paths through the park to get onto the Johnstons Ck path, which leads to Taylor St and Booth St, Annandale, then crossing Pyrmont Bridge Rd to Mallet St in Camperdown, or possibly heading through the old Childrens Hospital redevelopment (City Quarter/Trio) on Alexandra Dr to get to Forest Lodge.
City of Sydney Council is planning an upgrade of the Johnstons Ck path network, which may make this route more appealing. LBUG made a submission to CoS, suggesting they include the Chapman Rd link to Johnston’s Ck, behind the Crescent Timber Yard and under the rail viaduct. This link already exists but needs some signposting and critical ramps put in etc.[Edit June 2013: CoS has improved access with better ramps but has not signed the route]
CoS also intends to construct a new path on the east side of Johnston’s Ck from the timber bridge near Taylor St to join Wigram Rd. This would link with an old bike route on local streets through Forest Lodge, coming out on Pymont Bridge Rd along Cross St. It is rather steep through here and the Taylor St/Booth St route is probably better, even if there is more traffic.
There was some resident opposition to this section of path, as it crosses land at the foot of their gardens that they tend to see as their own, or at least for locals only, although it is a public access way next to the canal. Surprisingly, at the last CoS Council meeting, opposition was muted, their main concern being the effects of path lighting at night.
LBUG also submitted that a bike path up to the City Quarter from Wigram Rd would be useful, next to the steep flight of steps from Orphan’s Ck (see photo on slide show), but so far only a “wheeling ramp” has been promised. This would enable the hundreds of residents there to more readily access the foreshore and other places by bicycle.
CoS also proposes a pedestrian crossing on the The Crescent where the Johnston’s Ck path goes under the roadway, for cases where flooding blocks the underpass. This would be useful for cyclists at other times too, because they could use it to go from The Crescent to the local path network. This crossing would also mean that The Crescent could be narrowed to two lanes with the extra lanes converted to bike lanes between about Wigram Rd and Nelson St, which would make The Crescent that much more attractive to cyclists. However there is the usual stiff resistance to this from the RTA.
Other measures to make The Crescent safer for cyclists would be to reduce the speed limit to 50 K, or even 40 K through the narrow bendy section, indent the parking in places to give room for a bike lane between Johnston St and Nelson St, install through bike lanes at the Wigram St intersection (as in RTA Guidelines for Bicycles, fig 7.15b!), install an uphill bike lane between Wigram Rd and Ross St, and so on.