When the Trust wrote in April on its lobbying for a family friendly, safe bike path between Pennant Hills and Epping we asked our community to give us their views on what they think should be the characteristics of such a bike path.
We were really excited by the range and number of responses we received. Clearly this is an important issue for many of us, and the range of responses shows our community wants to be involved with Hornsby Council in deciding the important characteristics of this project.
We will summarise all the responses and forward them to HSC and to our State MLA, Matt Kean. We need support from Matt to deal with Transport for NSW since the overwhelming opinion is that a family friendly path has to use part of the rail corridor especially between Pennant Hills and Beecroft.
One of our members drew our attention to the shared use of the rail corridor at Oatley, others pointed out the bicycle paths along some Motorways. All wondered why shared use of the rail corridor seems to be ruled out so quickly.
One of our members summed up the options very well “Basically it makes sense to plan any bike path parallel to the railway line because the homework has already been done when building the railway line to avoid excessive hills”.
Members also pointed out that access at the Epping end is difficult. The M2 underpass at the extreme Southern end of Sutherland Rd is only usable in dry weather, and remains a muddy debris-strewn mess for a length of time after significant rain.
A brief summary of the themes which occurred most often in the community responses is:
- The project should be for a multi user path-bicycling, walking, jogging.
- There needs to be several access points; not all users want to go from Pennant Hills to Epping.
- Many older members emphasised that a useable path must be suitable for all levels of fitness. Some are currently driving to Rydalmere, Parramatta Park, etc to find suitably graded paths.
- All the alternatives (other than the rail corridor itself) are essentially unusable for a cycleway due to the grades involved.
- If the rail corridor is ruled out a suggested alternative involves widening the existing footpath immediately East of the rail corridor, commencing at Pennant Hills Road, proceeding to Axela Grove then through crown land parallel to the rail line then through Beecroft Village and onto Cheltenham via The Crescent. Major work is required but the route is quite scenic and peaceful.
- To access the rail corridor at Hampden Road this route would need some effort in the crossing at Pennant Hills Rd. The footbridge is quite usable, but it does not provide the cyclist a safe or easy way to transition onto Yarrara Rd.
- Wongala crescent to Beecroft has been suggested as a solution however this route is not ultimately usable due to the extremely steep grades back to Pennant Hills Rd at the northern end of Wongala. Lilla Rd is even worse.
- There is not strong support for building a path on the assumption riders will eventually use electric bikes to compensate for hilly sections. Cost is an impediment to early adoption.
So, there we have it. The easy ride option is hard to build, while the easy to build option is a very hard ride.
Now it’s over to our Council to take these views on board and design a community centred solution to a “hilly “problem.
Once again, many thanks to all our members and readers who took the time to put their thoughts on paper.
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