Monday, October 22, 2007

Green Way

I'm very excited! The other day I read in the paper about this old freight line that runs through the inner west. I know the line well because I ride over it every day in Summer Hill.

The line runs all the way from the Cooks River to the Anzac Bridge. Can you imagine what a fantastic bike path it would make? A safe, flat, off road path lined with trees that runs all the way into the city! Imagine! The path could be linked to what many say is the only really useful bike path in the city which is the one that runs along Cooks River. The Cooks River path is great but unless you're going to Botany or the airport it's not really that useful for commuting. If it linked to the CBD it would become hugely popular and could change the nature of the whole area.
The rail line is being shut down because the old flour mill you can see in the picture is being shut down and is going to be redeveloped into residential accommodation. Naturally the developers want to put in some sort of transport link for the people who will live there. Of course the focus is on light rail or something similar because cycling isn't seen as a valid form of transport in this town and anyway you can't make any money out of it.
If you don't live in Sydney you might be surprised at how horribly under resourced the cycling commuters are here. You might assume that a rich, modern international metropolis like Sydney would have at least a couple of decent bike routes into the centre of town but sadly that's not the case. In Sydney the "proper" way to get to work is to ride alone in a car, usually in the middle of a massive traffic jam. Cycling is still seen as something people do only for recreation. Those of us who drive bikes do it on the road, mixing it up with the cars and trucks. Sydney has a lot of hills too which tends to put people off. That's why old disused railway lines get me so excited, they are built with little or no gradient. No traffic and no hills means no excuses for lazy Sydney commuters not to get a little exercise twice a day.
Right at the tail of the article that I have linked above I found a reference to a man named Bruce Ashley and an organisation called Friends of the Greenway they are lobbying for a cycle path to be considered. Bruce is quoted as saying "There's huge demand for a cycle way from the Cooks River to the Anzac Bridge. That needs to be considered as a higher priority than just light rail." Bruce is SO right. I don't even mind sharing the space with light rail if necessary but the cycle path needs to be a top priority. Sydney is desperate for some decent bicycle infrastructure.
It took me a fair bit of googling to find the Friends of the Greenway but they sound like a great group and have already achieved a lot through community based grass roots action. You should check them out and give them your support.

1 comment:

pedaller said...

You are absolutely right, this would make a great bike route.We had a number of biycle commuters in the Croydon Park area who would find this a very useful connection to the city actually. From Croydon Park the bicycle commuter options are so-called quiet back streets that are actually car commuter rat runs that are very dangerous, or, my own personal favourite, Parramatta Rd, which is a quick trip once it turns into a Bus Lane. The "quiet back streets" approach can take about 40 minutes, Parramatta Rd route takes about 20 minutes.