Sutherland to Cronulla cycle-walk link: more than half will be in rail corridor

On your bike: The proposed route of the Sutherland-Cronulla shared cycle-walk path is released by Transport Minister Andrew Constance (second from right) and project manager Dean Boston (far right), with MPs (from left) Melanie Gibbons, Lee Evans, Eleni Petinos and Mark Speakman. Picture: John Veage.
On your bike: The proposed route of the Sutherland-Cronulla shared cycle-walk path is released by Transport Minister Andrew Constance (second from right) and project manager Dean Boston (far right), with MPs (from left) Melanie Gibbons, Lee Evans, Eleni Petinos and Mark Speakman. Picture: John Veage.

More than half of the proposed 9km long shared cycle-walk link from Sutherland to Cronulla would be within the rail corridor.

The remainder, including the 1.5km long Sutherland-Kirrawee section would be on, or next to, roads.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance, with shire MPs Mark Speakman, Eleni Petnos, Lee Evans and Melanie Gibbons,  unveiled the route after the government called for design tenders.

Mr Constance said initial investigations supported starting the link on President Avenue, rather than in the in rail corridor, because it would ‘‘provide a shorter and more direct connection into Sutherland’’.

He said the question of whether the cycleway on this stretch would be on the road or part of a widened footpath was among details of the route that needed to be investigated.

Mr Constance said, at Kirrawee, the path would move into the rail corridor and continue mainly within it for the next 5km to Caringbah.

Between Caringbah and Woolooware, a distance of about 2km, the path would be on Denman Avenue, where an existing verge next to the rail line fence was ideal.

Mr Constance said the final section of the route, from Woolooware to Cronulla, would be on the southern side of the rail line, with details to be worked out.

Deviations from the corridor would occur ‘‘to improve accessibility, provide a better connection and avoid constraints or conflicts with existing infrastructure’’.

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The proposed route of the Sutherland-Cronulla shared cycle-walk path.

The proposed route of the Sutherland-Cronulla shared cycle-walk path.

Mr Constance said the design was expected to be completed by the end of this year, ‘‘which, hopefully, will give us something to work with in [obtaining funds for construction] in next year’s budget’’.

He would not commit to a time frame.

‘‘But, I can assure you we wouldn’t be putting this out to tender  and we wouldn’t be here today if we weren’t big believers in the projects and the benefits it will bring to the Sutherland community,’’ he said.

Project manager Dean Boston said the two-way cycleway would be about two metres wide, and the pedestrian path 1.5 metres wide.

There were several ‘‘challenging’’ sections, he said.

Environment Minister and Cronulla MP Mark Speakmans said pedestrian and cycling zones would be line marked and, where possible, physically separated.

Within the rail corridor, fences would separate the path from train tracks.

Mr Speakman said the project would make cycling in the shire much safer.

"There is a lot of obvious angst on main roads between motorists and cyclists,’’ he said.

‘‘Often you see episodes of road rage on Taren Point Road and along the Kingsway between cyclists and motorists.’’

Mr Speakman said getting the project to this point was ‘‘a quantum leap’’ because of previous bureaucratic resistance to using the rail corridor due to safety considerations.

Miranda MP Eleni Petinos said the community, Sutherland Shire Council, and walking and cycling groups would be consulted in coming months.

LINKED UP

The proposed path would link with several existing cycleways.

Mr Speakman said existing routes included Cronulla-Kurnell and Woolooware Bay to Botany Bay, where only ‘‘a few hundred metres’’ needed to be completed to make a fully off-road path.

Heathcote MP Lee Evans said it would be ‘‘a great link’’ for cyclists doing the City-Waterfall ride.

Holsworthy MP Melanie Gibbons said, when completed, there would be a dedicated path from The Ridge sporting complex at Barden Ridge to Cronulla.

What do you think of the route?

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