The City of Hobart has decided to defer the extension of the Intercity Cycleway to the Macquarie Point boundary, following a decision by the Macquarie Point Corporation to pull out its temporary cycleway to Evans Street and restrict access on the remaining path and new road.
The corporation still has plans for a cycleway on its site but its completion is now not expected for a number of years. While people riding can use the remaining path and road, which is currently closed to vehicles, these will be closed on and off over the coming years while the site is remediated and construction occurs.
The council has decided it is not worth spending the money now to extend the cycleway if it is going to lead to a dead end and it would be preferable to defer the project until there is more certainty about the Macquarie Point path.
The City of Hobart had received a $658,000 Commonwealth Government grant towards a $1.25 million project that involved building a new Regatta Grounds car park, fixing stormwater and extending the Intercity Cycleway to the Macquarie Point Boundary. It had also previously received $80,000 from the federal government for the extension of the Intercity Cycleway in a deal brokered by Clark MP Andrew Wilkie.
Bicycle Network argued that if grant money was not going to the cycleway extension it should be spent on fixing the dangerous section of shared path on the Tasman Highway that runs past the road entrance to Macquarie Point. In particular:
- improving sight lines on the blind corner to the north of the road
- building a more direct, wider and easier to navigate crossing from the shared path over the road, preferably as a raised platform
- widening or moving the path where there is a large light pole in the middle of it to the south of the road.
The council acknowledged our concerns but has instead decided to use the grant money to continue with the car park and stormwater project and build a new more direct path from the McVilly Drive end of the cycleway across the Regatta Grounds to the Tasman Highway shared path, slightly shortening the distance for cyclists. The cycleway would also be extended on the edge of the new car park so people don’t have to ride among cars to get to the start of the cycleway.
In terms of the problems we outlined with the current shared path, a report to the council stated that the blind corner sightlines would be addressed when Macquarie Point Corporation builds a pedestrian staircase at the location and the corporation would also fix the road crossing problem.
The report said the council was investigating relocation of the light pole, rather than just widening the path as we had suggested.
Bicycle Network has supported the extension of the cycleway through Macquarie Point because of its potential to bypass this section of shared path where we are aware of several crashes occurring, including a very serious crash at the blind corner and another involving the light pole.
With completion of a Macquarie Point path now some years away it makes sense to improve the current path to a safer standard.