Cycleway backers urge rethink on road project
AS TRAFFIC moved onto a new section of the Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade this week, the fight for a roadside cycleway stretching the length of the Northern Beaches continued.
Emerald Beach residents pushing for a cycleway along the upgrade made a last-ditch stand late last week in the hope road planners will bow to public pressure.
After years of negotiations with Roads and Maritime Services (formerly the RTA), the United Residents Group of Emerald Beach (URGE) members say they are dissatisfied with the lack of cycleway progress and have called for more information on the work.
"Many Emerald Beach residents have been left wondering if they will ever see a Northern Beaches cycleway," said URGE spokeswoman Karla Gillies.
"The apparent lack of a dedicated cycleway on the service road at this late stage doesn't bode well for a hard-fought continuous shared pathway, which concerned residents hoped would be marked out and ready for use when the highway upgrade is completed next year.
"A precedent for this type of service road cycleway has already been set with the Taree bypass and is a relatively inexpensive and easy solution.
"Many feel it would be shameful to omit this important piece of infrastructure at this time when presented with such ready opportunity to include it in the highway upgrade."
The residents claim the earlier RMS proposal for "a disjointed, costly, and largely developer-dependent" Sapphire to Woolgoolga cycleway seems even further out of reach.
The RMS has stated: "At this stage no decision has been made in regard to the provision of enhanced cyclist facilities for the project."
Ms Gillies said: "As any such decision is 'subject to available project funding' it is unlikely indeed that residents and visitors of the Northern Beaches will ever enjoy the type of top-notch cycling facilities seen in Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Sawtell.