Coffs Coast’s first on-road bike lane to be trialed at Woolgoolga

A shared on-road bike lane like this one will be trialed in the Woolgoolga town centre to provide residents with a safe space to walk and cycle into the town. Photo: Coffs Harbour City Council.

 

WORK is set to get underway on the region’s first on-road bike lane later this month.

The township of Woolgoolga will be the lucky recipient of the trial bike lane, and it’s permanence in the town will be determined by the local community.

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Coffs Harbour City Council’s Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Mick Raby described the project as “exciting” and said it was a Government response to last year’s COVID-19 lockdown.

“It came out of the first COVID lockdown,” Mr Raby explained.

“We all discovered walking and bike riding and it became apparent very quickly there wasn’t enough places to do that.

“The majority of shared space is actually roads and carparks in most towns and cities; this is about stealing a bit of that back.”

The new Woolgoolga protected on-road bike lane is one of 59 bike lanes being created across NSW.

Mr Raby said the recent Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan already had a cycleway designated within the plan.

“This gives us the opportunity to say ‘well this is what it’s going to look like’,” Mr Raby said.

“A bike path network that offers a pleasurable, easy and safe route for people to enjoy the seaside village atmosphere of Woolgoolga – and simply to get to the beach, shops or work – is a major feature of the Woolgoolga Town Centre Masterplan.

“Not only will it offer an alternative way of moving around, but it will help improve overall road safety in the town centre by encouraging safer speeds along Beach Street – another need identified in the Masterplan.”

The new three-metre wide cycleway will commence 50 metres past the busy roundabout at Solitary Islands Way and Clarence Street and will continue along Beach Street into the Woolgoolga town centre.

The bike lane will be separated from cars utilising the road with physical protection from parking or traffic lanes.

It will be installed between the existing pedestrian pathway and on-street parking spaces on the northern side of the roads.

“Some parking spaces will be realigned to accommodate the bike path and some intersections will also be altered to improve safety for people who ride bikes, drive and walk,” Mr Raby said.

At this stage, it is a pilot project and the works are temporary in nature.

Council will ask the local community to help evaluate its success at the end of the year, with a view to making the arrangements permanent, or removing the works undertaken if required.

“We’ve been working with the community to develop a draft Woolgoolga Place and Movement Plan which identifies priority walking and cycling improvements around Woolgoolga,” added Mr Raby.

“This pilot project forms part of a key cycling link between West Woolgoolga and the town centre and will help us see how well this type of bike lane can help both children and adults cycle to school, to work, to the beach and town centre.”

Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the Woolgoolga Bike Lane was funded through the Streets as Shared Spaces program, which received an overwhelming amount of interest, with more than 145 applications from 99 councils.

“It’s great to see so many councils keen to provide more public open space for their communities, while revitalising their local economies and beautifying their streetscapes,” Mr Stokes said.

“These temporary projects demonstrate how innovative thinking can transform neighbourhoods, allow people to move around more freely while maintaining social distancing, and create more liveable, accessible and healthy public spaces.”

The NSW Government’s ‘Streets as Shared Spaces Program’ aims to deliver temporary demonstration and pilot projects to support the community and test ideas for more permanent improvements to local streets, paths and public spaces.

Council is also currently working with Transport for NSW and the wider community to look at ways to improve walking and cycling throughout the whole local government area with safer and more direct path networks.

The new Woolgoolga on-road bike lane is anticipated to take around three weeks to complete.

Further information about the pilot can be found on Council’s Have Your Say website at https://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/.

 

By Emma DARBIN

 

The region’s first on-road bike lane will be built on the northern side of Beach Street, Woolgoolga later this month. Photo: Emma Darbin.

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