Update: May 2018: Advocates Win! The RMS plans are changed to have a tunnel and no three signal crossings! Hooray!
MEDIA RELEASE from NUBUG (Dec 2016):
It is time for Newcastle motorists to join the rest of the community in getting the RMS to change its plans to have traffic lights slowing motorists from getting on/off the new highway.
The Roads and Maritime Services of NSW are building the final section of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass from Rankin Park to Jesmond. At the northern interchange, the current plans are to remove the shared cycle/foot path between Jesmond Park and Jesmond and replace it with with three signal crossings, over eight lanes of traffic to make car traffic slower.
Daniel Endicott, spokeperson of NUBUG said “The RMS continues to say they are helping all modes of transport but when they spend money they miss the bigger picture. Encouraging everyone into cars is not going to ease road congestion. Getting more people on public transport, bicycling and walking and to make main roads faster, and backstreets safer is how to stop Newcastle traffic becoming like Sydney’s. The Uni pushbike club launched it’s “Happy Travellers” campaign to get these bigger pictures out into the community and for us all to unite. So motorists need to call on the RMS to build more offroad pushbike paths for the good of the whole network”
The overwhelming desire of the community is that the existing path (which has been used since 1949 when the tramline was removed) be retained as a continuous off road route via an underpass, or combination of underpass and overhead bridges AND to not have more traffic lights impeding road traffic flow. The Roads and Maritime Services have received many submissions over the past few years relating to their plans but they have not made a serious attempt to solve the problem of retaining the path. There are plenty of alternative possibilities for retaining the shared path, but the RMS seem to be not interested in listening and are intent on destroying this community facility.
The final review process is underway and the Department of Planning and Environment is accepting submissions on this project until 16th December 2016. More info at http://kissyourpathgoodbye.com/