Northern Beaches Residents Association oppose Woolgoolga cycleway

The start of Woolgoolga cycleway at the top of Beach Street sees a split in levels of the left hand lane.

WOOLGOOLGA residents continue to question the safety and sense of the trial cycleway installed in August 2022 along Beach Street.

“It seems the Mayor of Coffs Harbour is keen to salvage from the Woolgoolga cycleway ‘debikel’ a new footpath for the good ratepayers of Woolgoolga,” President of the Northern Beaches Residents Association (NBRA), Ray Willing, told News Of The Area.

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“The Mayor emailed Joe, a local: ‘We took the money for the trial so we have to complete the trial…Hoping we might be able to keep the good footpath at the end of it regardless of the outcome’.

Joe had earlier emailed the Mayor, writing, “You might have thought we’d get used to the new bike lane on Beach Street.

“Instead, it continues to elicit derision and anger.

“We once had a lovely wide, welcoming street called Beach Street.

“Now from River Street to Boundary Street we have an unlovely, narrow and sinuous street that is unsafe and unsightly.

“I believe I have seen about five cyclists using the new bike lane since its installation and two of them were me.

“Today I saw a cyclist using the footpath on the northern side rather than the adjacent bike lane.

“Swallow your pride and get rid of it – we’ll be grateful.”

According to Ray Willing, “The City Council’s survey on Have Your Say makes comment by community organisations like the NBRA impossible.”

The NBRA shares its key concerns with NOTA readers.

The Woolgoolga Town Centre Master Plan speaks of design excellence as an aspiration for the town in a document unanimously approved by Council and stakeholders.

“The cycle path is the antithesis of design excellence for a beach town’s main entry,” says the NBRA.

“The vista on Beach St should open up as you come into Woolgoolga; there should be lots of greenery and lots of trees with no clutter.”

Referring to the Mayor’s “good footpath”, the NBRA states there was nothing wrong with the original footpath.

“The old footpath that was removed was fully concrete; the new one has a section missing.

“Council has spent around $600,000 of State Government money to replace a good footpath for around $200,000.

“We could have fixed Hofmeier Close, instead.

“How ashamed we were to have ‘Bogmeier’ Street on display at our fantastic Summer of Surf at the end of October.

“Will it ever be fixed?”

Safety concerns have been an ongoing issue with residents and visitors to Woolgoolga.

Here it gets technical.

The plans the NBRA has from FOI set out the cycleway at 2.7 metres wide, i.e. 1.35m each side.

“The gutter makes the inside lane less than one metre, under the recommended minimum width.

“A cycle’s pedal would hit the gutter on the curb side.”

Gutters are 150mm high and a bicycle pedal is generally 80mm from the road surface.

The NBRA says a traffic report should be available, but they have been unable to access one.

A range of safety issues around the design and use of the pathway have been documented to Council.

Regarding dangers associated with traffic, there are several accident risks at the corners of Bultitude, Scarborough, Boundary, Ganderton and Beach Streets which have been exacerbated by the placement of hard posts.

NBRA says that the Clarence, River and Beach Street section is not compliant.

Summing up its concerns, the NBRA refers to wastefulness, decision making and better options.

“The community detests waste.

“Council had many better options for using the State Government’s money which include completing all or part of alternatives that give something the town actually wants.”

NBRA has written to Council with its suggested alternative cycleway routes.

“These options would go partway to create a safe, usable and used ‘cycle network’ and not just a cycle path on the side of a road network,” said Ray Willing.

“The community looks forward to discussing the good ideas with the City,” he closed.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, Woolgoolga resident and cyclist told NOTA, “Although the intent of the bike lane is admirable, it is my experience that there are sections that are unsafe at each of the intersections.

“Beach Street can be a busy road and traffic turning across the bike lane is being asked to give way to cyclists.

“I believe this is an accident waiting to happen.

“I also believe that cyclists would prefer the old wide lanes on Beach St which allow cars to pass them with a safe gap.”


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