Council to spend $4.4 million on cycleways

Local cyclist Lee Barkas has commended Lismore City Councils $4.4 million cycleway strategy.

After 10 years of planning, Lismore City Council is ready to start work on its $4.4 million cycleway strategy.

Council voted unanimously last Tuesday night to skip a proposed 28-day public exhibition period and charge ahead with the proposed works.

I ride to town on the footpaths everyday, local cyclist Lee Barkas said. So if Council are going to turn those footpaths into shared cycleways thatll be great. People dont understand how dangerous it is on the road. Lismore City Council should be commended.

The plan will involve the building of 14.6km of off-road cycleways, 5.4km of on-road cycleways and the widening of another 13.1km of existing footpaths to meet cycleway standards.

The cycleway strategy, which has no concrete date for completion, will link Goonellabah with downtown Lismore and includes circuits around North Lismore, South Lismore, East Lismore and Goonellabah.

The plan includes the construction of 35 road crossings, 14 bike racks and two secure bike parking stations.

Avid local cyclist Nan Nicholson said she was pleased Lismore would have 33km of new cycleways. However, she sounded a note of warning that the strategy did not address cycling within the CBD. She said it would be interesting to see how Council dealt with giving cyclists further access to that area.

The cycleway strategy, produced by the Local Government Engineering Service, deferred any plans on the CBD until the completion of a traffic study. The first workshop for the study is in two weeks.

While the vote for works to proceed was unanimous, Cr John Hampton suggested the project was a complete waste of money and that Council should provide a $100 prize to anyone who even saw a bicyclist in town.

Thats how rare they are, Cr Hampton said.

Crs Jenny Dowell and Frank Swientek were keen to have the plan placed on exhibition.

We should open this up to the public, Cr Swientek said. There are a lot of good ideas out there and we should encourage people to give input.

However, general manager Paul OSullivan made it clear that money for the cycleway strategy had already been allocated as part of the budget.

So it would be wrong to place it on exhibition, Mr OSullivan said.

Council held two public meetings and consulted schools, Southern Cross University, police, and cycling groups on the cycle plan.

Work on the first two sections of the cycleway strategy, in Lismore Heights and Rotary Drive, is due to begin before the end of the financial year.

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