Fixing the Great Western Highway for riders
Bicycle NSW lent a hand, and the Blue Mountains Cycle Safety Forum (BMCSF) campaign has led to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) securing $2M worth of Commonwealth Government funding to improve rider safety.
This work will relocate the roadside barrier and widen the 30cm road shoulder at a pinch point on the Great Western Highway. There is no alternative route for bike riders, and vehicles travel at 80km/h, so this upgrade is needed urgently. TfNSW said development work for the project will start in July this year with road work scheduled to begin in early 2022.
Plans are afoot to address a second pinch point on the Great Western Highway, where an off-road alternative is able to be provided, but this will depend on the Blue Mountains City Council winning active transport funding. The challenge all Councils face is in order to apply for funding, they need to spend money on designs but, if unsuccessful in their bid, that expenditure is wasted.
Bicycle NSW has advocated for change to this process as developing plans to bid for funding can cost councils most, if not all, of their annual active transport budget. One unsuccessful bid reduces the chances that Council will be allowed to apply again, as doing so is considered a ‘risky’ expenditure of ratepayer funds.
River To Mountains Cycling Network Plan
The BMCSF has also published the River to Mountains Cycling Network Plan. This proposes a 14 km cycleway network in the Lapstone and Glenbrook area that could be a draw-card for cycle tours and help build local economic resilience. Part of this plan includes remediating and opening the disused Glenbrook Rail Tunnel for active transport use. Thanks to local advocacy, a total of $4M has been secured to convert this tunnel.
“It’s great to see the Blue Mountains Cycling Safety Forum delivering for local riders, visitors and planning to create a network to help the community,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
“We’re particularly heartened to see the aligned political and government support, and we look forward to opportunities to ride in this area,” said Bastien.
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