Urgent Advocacy Action: Pacific Highway North Sydney WFU debacle still unresolved

Three months ago, the many riders coming from the south,  approaching the Pacific Highway from the Arthur Street tunnel using the official bike route were shocked, if not terrified, to see fast vehicles hurtling directly towards them on what had always been a quiet lane. While there is a shared path between Arthur and Blue Streets, it is narrow, obstructed by trees, broken pavement and signs and at commute time congested with pedestrians. Heading north, most riders chose to use the quiet traffic lane at least till Blue Street or Miller Street where other route options were available.

The Warringah Freeway Upgrade  (WFU) team, though, had other plans for that road space. Not that they shared this with Bike North and Bicycle New South Wales, the official cycling stakeholders. They decided to take out a lane for construction works while they widen High Street with an extra traffic lane and a widened footpath to become shared path, which is clearly going to take a very long time, realigning the Pacific Highway traffic directly against that congested shared path. Not only did they remove a comparatively safer space for riders, but created a significant threat to pedestrians and riders sharing an inadequate path, in very close proximity to fast moving traffic.

Our complaints to TfNSW with requests to ‘fix the problem ASAP’ and in the meantime ‘slow the speed’ met with acknowledgement, apologies for not informing earlier and the confusion over plans, some sympathy from immediate contacts but absolutely no action on speed limits or appearance of any fix. Finally we were told, we’re arranging for you to meet with the ‘technical people’ and that finally eventuated. The result:

  • TfNSW refuse to reduce the speed limit as it ‘doesn’t meet the criteria’ – pedestrian and bicycle riders safety doesn’t count – only the safety of construction workers. Note that the lane splitting off from the Highway itself to High Street is reduced to 40kph
  • TfNSW is looking into possible, minor, inadequate but at least potential improvements to the route, but it clearly needs support.

We need your help. Please contact your local member All Members (nsw.gov.au)  and ask them to advocate on your behalf to the Roads Minister to ameliorate the dangerous conditions created by the WFU project :

  1. Immediately reduce the speed limit on the Pacific Highway from the exit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to at least Blue Street, for the safety of many pedestrians and bike riders
  2. Support and fund short term improvements to this section of bicycle route by early next year
  3. Ensure that a separate bike path along the Pacific Highway is planned, designed, funded and constructed as soon as WFU construction in this space is complete. This path is recommended in the Active Transport Network Review: North Sydney and Surrounds Have your say – Cycling and walking in North Sydney and beyond | Warringah Freeway Upgrade | Transport for NSW (RMS) (caportal.com.au)

You can also contact:

Roads Minister, John Graham through the on-line form at Contact the Special Minister of State, and Minister for Roads, Arts, Music, Night-time Economy, Jobs and Tourism | NSW Government

Transport Minister (includes Active Transport), Jo Haylen to ask for her support, through the on-line form at Contact the Minister for Transport | NSW Government

Carolyn New