In November 2022, Transport for NSW (TfNSW) promised the Erskineville community that a temporary cycleway on the Swanson St rail bridge would be made permanent, and become a widened shared path for both pedestrians and cyclists. However in May 2023 this year, the path was removed instead.
The plans shared with the community in November 2022 had been especially welcome, as they proposed a wide shared path to replace the northernmost traffic lane. The footpath on the northern side of the bridge is an important access path for Erskineville Station but is barely wide enough for two people to pass each other, and locals have long been calling for it to be widened.
It was suspected that the change of state government in March 2023 may have lead to a change of leadership in TfNSW with less commitment to active transport. Thankfully, after further community pressure, Transport for NSW is holding a consultation to bring back a permanent solution, starting by reinstating the temporary cycleway on the northern traffic lane.
The permanent solution presented previously was a shared path, extending the current footpath and replacing the northern traffic lane. While we at WalkSydney generally support separate space for cyclists and pedestrians where possible, the space available on the bridge overall is limited. Building a shared path for this short segment will provide a more spacious environment for pedestrians and should not create major conflict with cyclists, as they will only be using it as a short connection between the intersection, Bridge Road, the Henderson Road cycleway and the Burren Road cycleway.
Building a widened footpath/shared path here does not preclude future solutions to make it safe enough for most cyclists to use the road, such as lowering the speed limit to 30, and potentially intersection changes supporting cyclists to turn right from Swanson St into the Bridge St cycleway.
Overall this would be a positive reallocation of street space that we strongly support.
Local resident group Friends of Erskineville supports the earlier promised shared path solution and has set up a submission template to make it easier for people to share their views.
Consider making a submission to support better and safer active transport options in Sydney.
Submissions close Sunday 15 October, 2023.