Garry Robinson riding his bike where the Queens Park Pedestrian and Cycle Path will be built. Photo: Vanessa Lim

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BY VANESSA LIM

A pathway link between Randwick and Waverley will soon provide a safe pathway for people who cycle or walk in the Centennial Parklands.

Centennial Parklands addressed the need for the original pathway back in the 2016 Queens Park Master Plan, but the potentially high costs were not being covered at the time.

The collaborative Queens Park Pedestrian & Cycle Pathway project with Randwick City Council and Waverley Council has now progressed after receiving a grant from Roads & Maritime Services.

The project is set to commence in early 2020, meaning the public will soon have access to the much needed pathway link.

BIKEast President and Waverley local Mark Worthington was happy with the progression on the project so far.

“It’s always good to know that the project planners have both a design plan and a way to receive the funds.”

A more accessible route

Mr Worthington said cyclists travelling through Queens Park would have a more accessible route to both Randwick and Waverley.

“There’s another path in Queens Park which runs north up to Bondi Junction or south to Randwick. However, this new pathway will provide a good connection from Centennial Park to Bronte or other parts of Waverley and Randwick.”

Clovelly resident Garry Robinson, who owns the website biketrail.blog, has produced bike trail maps all over Sydney and was keen for a new shared pathway next to Darley Road.

“I would never ride on Darley Road as it is right now. I don’t like traffic and the road is too narrow for both cyclists and cars. Clovelly people usually go on the backroads and then onto Clovelly Road, but a lot of them will switch to this new path when it comes.”

A Centennial Parklands spokesperson said that this link would reach further locations in Sydney, and “would also complete a network of perimeter paths around Queens Park by linking with the existing shared pathways along the northern and western park boundaries”. The need for a “safe and accessible” pathway next to Darley Road, Queens Park has been addressed in this new project.

Mr Robinson commented on the current accessibility of Darley Road for cyclists.

“Travelling on the road is fine for the good and fast cyclists, but for the average mum and kid, it’s too scary to cycle up Darley Road.”

A Centennial Parklands spokesperson said, “The pathway will significantly improve safety for children, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists along Darley Road between Carrington and York Roads.”

Another issue addressed was the steepness of Darley Road. This could be a safety issue for pedestrians using the current narrow pathway, or for cyclists who aren’t comfortable with using the busy road.

Mr Worthington said, “It’s quite a bit of a climb and riding on the road can be dangerous because there is a lot of traffic, especially if you’re riding downhill. It would often be a preference by many average cyclists to use a path instead of the road”.

Mr Robinson also commented on the dangers of cycling on the road.

“The primary reason that we needed this was because cyclists around 4pm are riding up the hill and struggling with the traffic.”

While the project has been positive for the most part, Mr Worthington notes that some sections of the shared pathway are narrower than the standard width of 3 metres.

“There are constraints on the site due to the slopes, but we have asked if that can possibly be changed. We think that the medium that separates the footpath, for example, can be narrowed so cyclists and pedestrians have more space.”

Better track for walkers

Mr Robinson, on the other hand, didn’t mind the proposed width of the sharepath.

“I don’t think the path being slightly narrower will matter that much. The main thing is the pathway is there. Most cyclists that I notice just adjust to whatever the conditions are. People walking are going to love it. Right now they’ve just got a dirt track and some wet grass that they’ve got to walk on.”

The project would also deliver an upgrade to the area.

A Centennial Parklands spokesperson said, “It would also provide an opportunity to significantly enhance the quality of the landscape in a highly visible but slightly degraded part of the park We are currently in the process of reviewing the submissions and an update on next steps for the project will be made public in the near future”.

Public consultation for the project was held from 6-24 May 2019.