THE Mitchell Freeway extension presents “the good, the bad and the ugly” for active transport users, cycling advocate Chris Howard says. Dr Howard, who is the Northern Beaches Cycling Club director of facilities development, shares his views on this week’s opening of the freeway extension to Hester Avenue.
There is a new shared path alongside the freeway from Hester Avenue through to Joondalup, with easy access to the train stations. Hester Avenue and Neerabup Road both have wide shoulders for on-road cycling.
Adjacent, there are shared paths that will allow people to walk or ride from Clarkson, almost to the Neerabup Industrial Estate (in off-peak times). The paths will also ultimately allow access to the Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail, a fantastic bushland trail from Burns Beach Road to Yanchep National Park.
Those new roundabouts crossing the freeway at Hester Avenue and Neerabup Road are bad for cyclists, worse for pedestrians.
Unlike traffic lights, roundabouts have no capacity for controlled pedestrian crossings.
In peak periods it will become near impassable for pedestrians.
It is relatively safer for cyclists to stay on the road rather than use the shared path.
Confident riders are advised to indicate to merge into the middle of the lane prior to the roundabout.
If the aim of roundabouts is to reduce traffic congestion, it is a big ugly fail.
When people cannot safely make short trips by foot or bike, they get in their car.
For example, most parents will not allow their kids to ride or walk to school because the active network is not safe or is incomplete. This adds unnecessary congestion to peak periods.
Active commuting across the new freeway has been nearly severed by the use of roundabouts instead of traffic lights.