Residents and cyclists facing an uphill battle
EMERALD Beach residents, who hope road planners will bow to public pressure and build a roadside cycleway on the Pacific Hwy, have made a last-ditch stand as a new section of road opens to traffic.
After years of negotiations with Roads and Maritime Services (formerly the RTA), the United Residents Group of Emerald Beach (URGE) members say they are dissatisfied with the lack of cycleway progress and have called for more information.
The two-wheeled rally comes as a major traffic switch is planned on the highway on Sunday that will see vehicles diverted onto sections of the new southbound carriageway and local service road.
"Many Emerald Beach residents have been left wondering if they will ever see a Northern Beaches cycleway," said URGE spokeswoman Karla Gillies.
"The apparent lack of a dedicated cycleway on the service road at this late stage doesn't bode well for a hard-fought continuous shared pathway, which concerned residents hoped would be marked out and ready for use when the highway upgrade is completed next year.
"A precedent for this type of service road cycleway has already been set with the Taree bypass and is a relatively inexpensive and easy solution."
The residents claim the earlier RMS proposal for "a disjointed, costly, and largely developer-dependent" Sapphire to Woolgoolga cycleway seems even further out of reach.
The RMS has stated: "At this stage no decision has been made in regard to the provision of enhanced cyclist facilities for the project."
Ms Gillies said: "As any such decision is 'subject to available project funding' it is unlikely indeed that residents and visitors of the Northern Beaches will ever enjoy the type of top-notch cycling facilities seen in Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Sawtell."