Albury on the trail of better bike paths

Cr David Thurley and Lauren Musil at Noreuil Park. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

Cr David Thurley and Lauren Musil at Noreuil Park. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

A NEW bike plan to improve safety, provide more scenic routes and better connect east and west Albury is on display.

And the city’s council is keen for bike-path users to have their say on the five-year draft plan before work costing more than $200,000 begins.

Councillor and cyclist David Thurley said there had been complaints after the Smollett Street bike path was built and the council wanted to avoid a repetition.

“It’s no good doing something and then finding out, ‘oh we don’t want that there’ or that it’s useless or it’s dangerous,” he said.

“We want to listen to the public and say this is where they’d like things and this is how they’d like them to be.”

EDITORIAL: Paths meant to be shared

The plan was developed after community consultation last year.

More than 2000 people answered a survey and some attended a series of workshops.

The council’s road safety officer, Lauren Musil, said many were concerned about Noreuil Park’s paths.

“This area was a particular concern for safety, so we got more funding to place stickers to alert people to ring their bell when passing people and to ride at a safe speed,” she said.

Cr Thurley said with Noreuil Park well used, high-visibility signs now warned cyclists instead of signs on poles that could obstruct people’s vision.

“It’s dangerous — there are kids and dogs and prams,” he said. “It’s sort of crazy on weekends.”

Cr Thurley said an awareness campaign would be designed to increase safety on paths.

“It’s a two-way thing. Cyclists need to understand that it’s shared and pedestrians need to understand that it’s shared too,” he said.

Last year’s survey also found residents wanted paths connecting the city’s east and west.

They asked for paths along scenic routes, including one extending the existing network to Lake Hume.

Cr Thurley said no one had asked for separate bike and pedestrian paths, with people happy to share.

Funding from the council and Roads and Maritime Services will extend the Albury-Thurgoona trail, connecting cyclists to the Jelbart Park sporting precinct, Lavington Swim Centre and the Mirambeena Community Centre.

The East Albury trail will also be extended, from Old St John’s Road to Table Top Road, linking cyclists to housing estates and the Thurgoona Community Centre.

Visit alburycity.nsw.gov.au/publicexhibition to view the plan.

Proposed works until 2019

- Construct 850 metres of off-road path on the Riverina Highway, connecting Old St John’s Road to Table Top Road.

- Widen the existing path on the northern side of Union Road between Yarramba Crescent and Dick Road to 2.5 metres.

- Widen the off-road path on Dick Road between Union Road and Nowland Avenue to 2.5 metres.

- Construct a 400-metre path on the northern side of Nowland Avenue from Dick Road to Moore Street.

- Widen the off-road path on the eastern side of Moore Street from Nowland Avenue to Kaylock Road to 2.5 metres.

- Complete an audit of bike parking areas to offer more secure options.

- Continue to create more on-line bicycle lanes in the city’s central area, similar to works constructed in Smollett Street.

- 2432 responses were received.

Key statistics from survey

- 75 per cent of the respondents indicated they were cyclists and, of those, 74 per cent cycle at least once a fortnight.

- 80 per cent of respondents said that they cycled for exercise and recreation.

- The distance travelled by most cyclists in any one trip was 11-20 kilometres (22.4 per cent) followed by 3-5 kilometres (21.8 per cent) and 6-10 kilometres (21.4 per cent).

- Cyclists said they felt safer than they had. More than two-thirds (70 per cent) of respondents considered Albury a safe place to ride. In the previous survey, in 2007, only 51 per cent of cyclists answered yes.

- 76 per cent of cyclists alter their routes specifically to use the bike path network.

Bike ownership in Albury has increased 13 per cent since the 2007 survey.

Albury’s most popular bike paths by usage

35.7 %  Albury-Thurgoona cycle path

28.3 %  Bungambrawatha Creek path

23.9 %  Murray River trail-Wagirra trail

11.9 %  Nail Can Hill tracks

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