09 FEB 10 @ 03:44AM BY BRENTON CHERRY
WARRINGAH will become a haven for cyclists under a major bike plan soon to be available for public comment.
The council’s draft bike plan 2010-2015 aims to reduce the number of cars on local roads by turning Warringah into a bicycle-friendly environment where the preferred choice for a short to medium trip is riding or walking.
To achieve this, Warringah would become connected by a coherent, direct and safe cycling network.
The network would provide bicycle access to shopping centres, schools, beaches, parks and reserves, major bus stops and neighbouring council areas.
The entire proposed bicycle network would cost approximately $22 million but a realistic, prioritised network would cost about $4 million and would be jointly funded through the RTA’s Bike Plan program, which supports councils on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
To further encourage cycling as a means of commuting, the bike plan also proposes the provision of clear directional signage for the network as well as end-of-trip facilities including showers, parking and lockers.
Education and promotional programs in schools and the workplace are also a crucial part of the plan.
An example of the work that would be carried out includes directional signage at Berry Reserve as well as the provision of a dividing line in the centre of the path to encourage safe use.
There is also the possibility of lighting along the shared path to minimise collisions between pedestrians and cyclists at night.
Overall the draft bike plan has been strongly endorsed by the local cycling community, who have to deal with piecemeal cycling infrastructure which can leave them at the mercy of motorists.
Dee Why Bike Hub owner Larry Dwyer said the more the better when it comes to provisions for cyclists. “This area is not well covered by cycling paths at all so anything that council can do to improve it for cyclists is great,” he said.
Cyclist Oliver Renz, from Collaroy, said safety needed to be a major part of the plan. “I ride to Palm Beach and it can get a bit dicey,” he said.
Warringah mayor Michael Regan said one of the most important aspects was the links to schools. “Having spoken to mums and dads, they would love nothing more than to have a safe bicycle route to school,” he said. “I will be writing to school principals to encourage them to get kids and their parents to comment on the plan.”
Warringah Council will tonight vote on whether to put the draft plan up for public exhibition.