CAMWEST: Cyclists’ Action Movement West

News — March 2005

Remembering Bill Brewer (1946 – 2004)

[5.3.05] Bill, a long serving member of CAMWEST and many other cycling groups, was lost to the cycling community in February 2004. A year on, we remember him with this obituary by Ian Macindoe.

We feel that it would be an appropriate gesture on the part of Parramatta City Council to acknowledge Bill’s contribution to the area’s planning and provision for cycling if some form of small memorial could be provided. One idea is that a suitable small tree be planted in one of the parks of the Parramatta Valley Cycleway, with a small brass plaque attached on a low concrete post at the base of the tree, with wording along the following lines:

In memory of Bill Brewer (1946 – 2004)
cyclist and volunteer valued by the community.

Full Article

Holroyd Happenings

[5.3.05] The gates are finally open from Walpole St Park to the new Holroyd Gardens.By leaving the rail trail at Merrylands Rail underpass, following the Pitt St footpath, going through Walpole St Park and Holroyd Gardens there is now smooth safe path all the way to Fox St and onwards under the M4 toward Homebush Bay. This route bypasses the narrow footpath route under the railway bridge beside Woodville Road near Granville. The off-road path has been extended through Auburn beside Adderley Street, so a good safe route now exists all the way to Olympic Park. Travel to the Easter Show by bike, it's now quite easy.

Council maintenence on the Lower Prospect Canal area has been improved to include removing grass clippings after mowing and doing the edges. That's 12 kilometres of edges. Bottles in the long grass can be invisible from the mowing tractor so watch out for shattered glass if the grass is freshly cut.

Duck River Valley - The Cycleway with Missing Links

[5.3.05, by Mark Robson] The Duck River rises in the gutters and drains of Bankstown and flows north, entering the Parramatta River at Silverwater. It has long been recognised as an important feeder to the ecological health of the upper Parramatta River. At first glance on a cycleway map it's hard to follow, but if you are prepared to ride on quiet back roads across a couple of short missing links the entire valley can be followed. Being a river valley the steepest gradient is the rail bridge at Clyde. It's an easy beginners ride with a quiet introduction to on-road traffic situations.

We start at Silverwater Park and head through the industrial area, empty of life on a weekend, soon there should be cycleway from Parramatta River to M4. After passing over the M4, we return to and cross Duck River on the cycleway bridge, and head to Martha St. The first major missing link is from here to Clyde rail station, but after crossing Parramatta Rd at the James Ruse Drive lights the railway station provides a quiet track crossing. Heading down Factory Street brings us to Mona St and the best part of the cycleway.

It follows the river for some lovely riding. Watch out for the ducks crossing the path and make sure you take a peek at the Japanese gardens just south of the baseball fields. After skirting the golf course the cycleway section comes to an end, just north of Norford Park. The best route south from here is across the river, and near the termination of Boundary Rd there is a small causeway that allows us to cross. (See photo ) Be very careful at the narrow bridge crossing the Pipeline in Hector St, resist the temptation of ale in Helen St, and find the railway underpass in Woods Rd. From here the canal is best followed beside Jim Ring Reserve, but stop for a drink and perhaps a picnic at Maluga Passive Reserve. There is an uninterrupted green space all the way to here from the causeway; one day this will carry cycleway, if we continue to dream and to work towards it.

The last major obstacle is the Hume Highway; and the small linear reserve at the end of Gascoigne Rd gives access to a set of traffic lights. A few metres down the next side street brings us to the Bankstown to Parramatta regional bike route which is a well signposted route to Bankstown or the Veledorome.

The Parramatta to Bankstown regional route was originally all on road, and for confident road riders still is a good option. However now that Auburn section of the Duck River cycleway and the M4/Fox St project are complete a trip between these two regional centres can now be enjoyed via this more scenic and relaxed route.

There's only 7 kilometres of cycleway to go to link Clyde to the 'end of the track' at Bankstown Velodrome.
Write to your local member asking to get it finished. A completed loop from Clyde to Fairfield will be a
real boost to cycling in this area.

Bay to Mountains Development

Adderley St now has an off-road path all the way from Duck River to Sydney Olympic Park, but the awful Silverwater Rd crossing remains. This means it is now possible to get from Cecil Hills to Meadowbank WITHOUT PUTTING A FOOT DOWN except for comfort breaks, i.e. no traffic interuption whatsoever! Not one. The route is: Western Sydney Regional Park, Prospect Reserviour, Prospect Creek, Rail Trail, M4, Stubbs St, Silverwater industrial area, riverside path, Olympic park, Bicentennial Park then across old rail bridge. Truly amazing. It is now possible to do a century, 100 km, ride in Western Sydney on cycleways nearly all the way, and only threehalts at traffic lights, Silverwater Rd, Hume Hwy and Horsely Drive. A truly awesome network is now available for us to enjoy!

News in Brief

Blacktown council are looking at installing some bicycle racks outside their new library which is currently being constructed. CAMWEST has been asked to comment/recommend some.

Postcard from the Future - Great Cycleway Design

Here in the future, the design of cycleways has become an artform, with engineers putting their creative skills into action (and even laughing at the bad old days when a stenciled bicycle on a road, most often invisible under a parked car, was standard practice). Above is a wonderful example of a shared path beside a road. Instead of having the path right up against the fences, there's a gap so that any cars reversing out of driveways have the opportunity to see cyclists, and the cyclists can see the cars. See Also Cycle Lane Design.

In the Media Lately

Oil debate revving up (3.2.05, The Australian)

The Good Oil (14.2.05, ABC's Counterpoint)
Is the world running out of oil, and if so what does it mean? Meet Kenneth S. Deffeyes, author of Hubbert's Peak, and Peter R. Odell, author of Why Carbon Fuels Will Dominate the 21st Century's Global Energy Economy.

Bogota: a city transformed (15.2.05, ABC's PM)
Bogota in Colombia may seem an unlikely place for an experiment in urban renewal, but that's exactly what took place when Enrique Penalosa ran the city. His three-year reign as mayor transformed the congested city of seven million citizens. His mayoralty was based on a principle of equal rights for all people to transport, education and public spaces. Cars were out. Bicycles, buses, schools, parks, plazas and pedestrians were in.

Peak oil and our government: what energy crisis? (6.2.05, SMH's Webdiary)

On Yer Bike! (25.12.05, ABC's The Buzz)

Why the West is riding for a fall (15.1.05, SMH - Paul Sheehan Opinion)
Today, instead of responding intelligently to the dangerous dependence on oil from the hair-trigger Middle East, consumers in the US and Australia, with the encouragement of government, have reacted with a historic boom in sales of four-wheel-drives and other heavyweight, fuel-guzzling urban combat vehicles that have become symbols of this era. If ever there was a metaphor for complacency... Jane Jacobs regards the cultural addiction to the motor vehicle as the single biggest contributor to civic decline: Not TV or illegal drugs, but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities ... One can drive today for miles through American suburbs and never glimpse a human being on foot in a public space, a human being outside a car or a truck ... While people possess a community, they usually understand that they can't afford to lose it; but after it is lost, gradually even the memory of what was lost is lost. In miniature, this is the malady of Dark Ages.""

Staring down the barrel of a crisis (15.1.05, Australian Financial Review)
The world's oil production may be about to reach its peak - forever. Such apocalyptic prophecies often surface in the middle of the northern hemisphere winter. What is unusual is that this time the doomsday scenario has gained serious credibility among respected analysts and commentators.

The road to nowhere fast (10.1.04, SMH)
Soaring car sales and ever more unreliable public transport create a vicious circle, writes Joseph Kerr.

China and India's thirst for oil brings new dynamics to the market (16.12.04, ABC's PM)

"The huge economic growth in the world's two most populous nations has already started to put extra strains on the oil market. Could the newly voracious Chinese and Indian thirst for oil also have dangerous strategic implications?"

Finite fuels threaten life as we know it (27.11.04, ABC's Lateline)
If predictions are correct, no future generation will forget 2005 - the year the world began eating into the second half of its oil reserves.

Urban sprawl makes you fat (9.12.04, SMH)

In the shoes of the pedestrian (10.12.04, SMH's Heckler)
As a pedestrian, David Gunter asks drivers to give him a brake


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