[CAMWEST-discuss] Amy Gillett Parra Pedal

John Holstein jonhol2 at netscape.net
Wed Feb 16 06:35:25 UTC 2011

Dr Mr Borger,
                   I participated in the Amy Gillett Foundation Parra Pedal last Sunday 13 February 2011 & found it to be a pleasant experience on the whole. The event highlighted some of the excellent cycling facilities available in Western Sydney. Congratulations must go to the organisers, volunteers and RTA workers who made the event safe for all concerned.

Unfortunately I cannot stop at those comments. The event also highlighted some of the worst of the cycling infrastructure in Western Sydney as well. I refer in particular a section of cycle path along The Cumberland Highway( Betts Rd) in the Smithfield area. This section of path was obviously built as a shared path as it was a wide concrete path and road crossings were fitted with bicycle lanterns. Unfortunately, there were no markings of any kind on the path or any signage erected to indicate this was in fact a shred path. I can only assume it was built at quite a cost. It also appeared that there had been little or no maintenance carried out on the path in a very long time, possibly since its construction. It was overgrown with weeds and littered with all sorts of rubbish rendering it almost unusable as either a pedestrian or cycle path. 

The areas of the ride route that were off main road through parklands fared slightly better. They were marked as such & obviously carried a reasonable amount of cycle & pedestrian traffic. They too, however, were also blighted by the amount of maintenance that was needed to make the journey a pleasant one. Broken glass was present in many areas. I appreciate glass can become a problem over a large area as a result of the actions of one individual at times, but this debris had obviously been around for some time. Areas of the paths required maintenance work to repair storm damage, normal wear and tear and also to prune growth away from the edges of the paths.

One consistent theme throughout the whole event was the number of punctures suffered by the riders. One colleague reported fixing 5 punctures amongst his group of five riders during the 55 km event and it was difficult to ride more than a few hundred metres, often less, before encountering another cyclist stopped to repair a puncture.

It was also extremely disappointing to ride the section of the Prospect Canal Reserve Path through what used to be the Boral Quarry. This path occupies a similar area in size as that occupied by Parramatta Park, yet it has been rendered almost worthless by the refusal of the Government and RTA to require a bridge to be built as part of the road construction. Could you imagine the outcry if you tried to do the same thing with Parramatta Park, or any other similarly sized recreation area in Western Sydney?

In closing, it is disappointing to say the very least, to see infrastructure built and then neglected or vandalised in the name of business, to the point that it becomes worthless.

I look forward to your response.

John Holstein 
Chairman, of CAMWEST Bicycle User Group Inc. 
(http://camwest.pps.com.au) advocating for better cycling infrastructure for Sydney's West. 
54 Pye Avenue,
Northmead NSW 2152
Ph 0296862391 (H) 0410662390 (M)

"if we don't change direction, we will end up where we are headed" (Professor Irwin Corey 
American vaudeville comic and actor (1914 - ) )
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