Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway Projects

Roads and Maritime Services

PO Box 973

Parramatta CBD NSW 2124

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Sydney Harbour Bridge Northern Cycle Ramp

Submission from Bike North


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on your preferred option proposal for the Sydney Harbour Bridge Northern Cycle Ramp.  Bike North supports the recommendations of this Options Report, in particular we support preferred option 2 and urges the Roads and Maritime to adequately resource and fund this project so that it can be delivered by 2020 as promised by the then Roads Minister in 2016. We consider that delaying the release of the REF for this project till late 2018 places this delivery date at great risk.

Bike North is a volunteer run bicycle user group, affiliated with Bicycle New South Wales and Cycling New South Wales, with a membership of over 500 members. We work with many councils in northern Sydney, towards creating a bicycling friendly environment for all who want to use a bike for transport or recreation in northern Sydney. As well as actively working with those councils, Roads and Maritime Services / Transport NSW and other government authorities, we run a diverse, popular and quality program of social rides which is free and open to the public as well as an education program of cycling skills called ‘Bike for Life’ to encourage more skilled and confident bike riders in Sydney.

The options outlined in this document address this long term embarrassing deficiency in Sydney’s most high profile and iconic cycleway, the 55 steps at the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway. More importantly these address this barrier to a significantly increasing group of people who ride bikes; older people, family groups, people on heavy e-bikes and cargo bikes and others who have difficulty navigating the steps with their bike.

Options 1 and 2, being ramps running north, parallel to the railway line and descending towards the high point of Bradfield Park are both entirely consistent with what Bike North has previously advocated. We see this as the best option not just for bike riders heading towards North Sydney, but also for pedestrians as this also eliminates a significant conflict point between bike riders and people walking to and from Milsons Point station entrance. We also see the merit of Option 2 as that ensures the existing Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway and steps remain open for the entire build until the final connection must be made.

Bike North has long advocated for completion of the North Shore Cycleway between the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway and the Naremburn to North Ryde cycleway. We have consulted with roads and transport authorities, now termed Roads and Maritime Services and Transport for NSW, on various options that have been proposed over the last ten years. This Options Document proposes a ramp from the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway which addresses the very first section of that North Shore Cycleway. It is critical that the design of this ramp provides a smooth and safe interface with North Sydney route 1 (Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway to Cammeray). Most people exiting the bridge cycleway ride along the road carriageway of Alfred Street South and then traverse the Lavender Street roundabout into Middlemiss Street. A smaller number of people - the less experienced and more risk averse - ride on the shared path alongside Alfred Street South and then negotiate a convoluted and inadequate set of refuges around the roundabout to Middlemiss Street. This later route works only because it is used by a much smaller group of bike riders. It could not possibly cater for the numbers of existing bike riders using the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway, let alone the increases we will see once the ramp is complete. Yet the ramp exit design only shows a connection to the Alfred Street South shared path.

The excellence of the design of the exit of this proposed ramp in Bradfield Park is paramount and this must either provide a safe and effective connection to Alfred Street South roadway and shared path or it must significantly upgrade the shared path and crossing of the Lavender Street roundabout for a more direct and prioritised route. The proposals for this connection to the North Sydney route 1 (Sydney Harbour Bridge to Cammeray) are necessary as part of the development of the ramp proposal and Bike North requests that we be consulted as soon as possible on possible connections.

A significant minority of bike riders use the Burton Street tunnel and ride to the east of the railway, either to destinations in the Kirribilli area or on other priority routes, in particular using North Sydney Route 3: Sydney Harbour Bridge to Neutral Bay. This ramp design does not cater so well for these bike riders and the Options report does not detail how they expect bike riders to access areas east of the railway line. Bike Route 3 is a demanding route that caters for more experienced commuter cyclists.  While North Sydney Council has plans to progressively improve this route to make it safer, it is unlikely that it will be felt attractive to any other than confident bike riders. When these riders exit the ramp, infrastructure connecting to the Burton Street tunnel which minimises conflict with pedestrians is necessary.  Once again Bike North request that we be consulted on options to connect North Sydney Council’s Bike Route 3.

Bike North also suggests that consideration, for this initial stage of the North Shore Cycleway, should be given to extending the ramp, beyond where it separately descends into Bradfield Park, over the Lavender Street roundabout and towards the Pacific Highway shared path. Without consideration of solutions to this barrier to cycling, the proposed ramp fails to provide a discrete useful stage for the North Shore Cycleway, which would be provided by a route from the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway to the Strategic Centre destination at North Sydney.

Bike North also suggests you consider a wider design criteria than 3 metres. 4 metres is a more appropriate width for the volumes of bike riders.  While we appreciate that the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway itself is much narrower, a new ramp should not be similarly constrained, particularly taking into consideration the gradient which will result in varying uphill and down speeds by each rider. Consideration should also be given to widening out the entrance of the ramp from Bradfield to cater for riders entering and exiting from various directions.

Yours sincerely


Tom Rubin



    * Rides in Red have been cancelled