THE first stage of work widening bitumen sections of the shared bicycle and pedestrian pathways at Bulli is set to start this summer.
After a push from Greens councillor Mithra Cox, Wollongong City Council, has decided to have the popular pathway widened at Sandon Point and Waniora Point.
Work to widen the path to 3m north of Sandon Point will begin in December, where it will continue to be a shared route, while at Waniora Point, near the children’s playground, work is scheduled to rebuild a 4.5m separated pedestrian and cycle path in the Winter of 2022.
A spokesperson for Council said it manages and looks after a significant length of roadways, footpaths and cycling routes across the local government area, including those located in Bulli.
“We recognise that a number of shared paths in Bulli are due for renewal,” a spokesperson said.
“This year we’ve scheduled works to upgrade the shared path north of the Sandon Point carpark. This work will see the existing shared path widened to 3m and will help meet the current and future needs of our community.
“We’ll start work on this project by the end of December 2021.”
The spokesperson said Council has a long-term vision for improving infrastructure at Bulli.
“Next year, (winter 2022) we’ve scheduled works to upgrade the existing shared path between Slacky Creek and Whartons Creek at Waniora Point with a new 4.5m wide shared path,” the spokesperson said.
“This upgrade will help improve access and will make it safer and easier for pedestrians and cyclists to share the space. This widening also provides us the opportunity in the future to separate pedestrian and cyclists between Slacky Creek and Whartons Creek, similar to Squires Way in Wollongong.”
The spokesperson said currently, there are no plans to upgrade the section of path between Sandon Point carpark and Slack Creek bridge.
“We’ll continue to monitor how pedestrians and cyclists use this space as we exit COVID-19 lockdown and return to normal.
“Council plans to install a permanent pedestrian and cyclist counter at the Slacky Creek shared path bridge to capture better data that can be used to inform our future plans for the area.”
Cr Cox said the shared pathway had become dangerously overcrowded.
“I think we should be planning to widen the entire coastal shared pathway,” Cr Cox said.
“It is one of our most loved and most used pieces of public infrastructure, but it is becoming increasingly overcrowded, and daunting for our more vulnerable users.
“Obviously we can’t upgrade the entire path in a single financial year, but as scheduled upgrades and reconstructions are done, the path should be widened at that time,” she said.
“There was a missed opportunity last year when the section near Towradgi playground was completely reconstructed – but not made wider.
“Ideally, we should move to separating pedestrians and cyclists wherever possible, because they naturally move at different speeds, and when the path is busy this inevitably leads to conflicts.”
Meanwhile with warmer weather ahead, the popularity of the cycleway is expected to be tested this summer.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Council is asking that people using the pathways are considerate.
“For people using our shared paths, we also ask that you be mindful of others as you enjoy these assets. Our shared paths are for both pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy and as we enter summer, these share paths will get busier,” he said.
“When moving around others make sure you slow down, be aware of your surroundings and share the space.”
Cr Bradbery said infrastructure to support on-road and off-road cycling is a real benefit as it allows bike riders of different abilities to enjoy and access their community.
“At the same time, decreasing our reliance on cars for shorter trips and outdoor recreation is a positive way we can make our city more sustainable into the future,” he said.
“As lockdown restrictions ease over the coming months, there will be more people using our shared pathways and on-road cycleways. For some people who haven’t visited the CBD or left home in a while, some of these changes might be a bit of a surprise.”
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