22 June 2023

Council plans changes to walking, cycling and driving around coastal hot spots

| Jen White
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Wollongong's coast from Stuart Park to the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Wollongong City Council is proposing changes to pedestrian, cycling and vehicle access along the foreshore. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Wollongong City Council wants to introduce a 30km/h speed limit from the WIN Entertainment Centre, along Marine Drive and Cliff Road to the Novotel Northbeach.

It is also considering timed parking near its busiest beaches and foreshore areas from Stanwell Park to Port Kembla to manage traffic congestion in busy summer months.

Council is calling on the community to provide feedback on two plans that will impact pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in foreshore areas along the coastline.

The first plan, Improving pedestrian and cycling safety in the Wollongong foreshore area, proposes to install raised pedestrian crossings along the popular strip and designated bike lanes on sections of Cliff Rd.

The second plan, Foreshore parking management during summer, outlines several temporary measures proposed for next summer to target parking congestion in popular beach areas.

Council wants to hear feedback from the community on both plans and will hold a drop-in information stand on Wednesday (21 June) as well as an online information session next Monday (26 June).

READ ALSO Illawarra Festival of Cycling saddles up to recapture the ‘magic’ of the UCI Road World Championship

Improving pedestrian and cycling safety in the Wollongong foreshore area proposes changes at 10 locations in Stuart Park and along Cliff Rd and Marine Dr. As well as the proposed 30km/h speed limit, council wants to introduce a 10km/h speed limit from Cliff Rd at Bourke St along the length of the roadway to Stuart Park.

“While previously this area was designed as a road, its current use is as a very popular shared zone, with very high pedestrian and cycling traffic, and parking spaces. The lower speed limit supports this by prioritising pedestrian and cyclists’ safety,” council’s website says.

Council General Manager Greg Doyle said it was proposing a range of long-term changes that included raised priority pedestrian crossings on Bourke Street, George Hanley Drive, Cliff Road near Osborne Park, Endeavour Drive, Marine Drive and Crown Street next to Parkside Avenue.

“The Blue Mile is popular for pedestrians and cyclists, and the community has asked us to review alternatives to reduce cyclist speeds within this precinct,” Mr Doyle said.

“We are looking at how we can improve on-road safety for cyclists including dedicated climbing lanes, which would be painted green, on Cliff Road. These lanes will encourage confident cyclists to move from the Blue Mile and provide separation from vehicles on the uphill sections of Cliff Road.

“Other proposals include raised shared pedestrian and cycle crossings at Cliff Road near Stuart Park, at the Belmore Basin car park intersection, at Cliff Road adjacent to the Marine Drive roundabout and at Marine Drive next to Lang Park.’’

The proposed works are part of council’s commitment to build on the changes made to the foreshore roads for cyclists’ safety ahead of the UCI Road World Championships last year.

“Last year we made changes to the foreshore area to allow the world’s top cyclists the chance to compete safely and on roads that met international race standards. We made a commitment to our community at the time that we would look at opportunities to build on the legacy of this event. This is that opportunity,” Mr Doyle said.

Wollongong's breakwall around the harbour and the escarpment in the distance.

Wollongong’s beaches and coastal areas are popular tourist attractions in summer. Photo: Jen White.

Under the Foreshore parking management during summer plan, council is proposing several temporary measures for next summer, including timed four-hour parking at Austinmer Beach, Wollongong’s Flagstaff Hill and in the pool car park at Port Kembla Beach; timed two-hour parking at Bald Hill and at Bellambi Beach; and variable messaging signs at Stanwell Park, Wombarra and Austinmer highlighting the number of free car spaces in the car parks.

Deputy Mayor Councillor Tania Brown said the plan looked at ways council might address parking demand at these locations, while also allowing people to go to the beach and foreshore parks to relax and enjoy a swim.

“We know our beaches can get very busy in summer, but we also know that there are some particular locations that can be more congested than others,’’ Cr Brown said.

“I encourage everyone to take a look at the detailed plans on council’s website for both engagements and provide their feedback. It’s important we have as many views as possible from our community captured as part of this consultation so that we’re able to consider everyone’s thoughts and opinions before any decisions are made on the next steps for these locations.”

To read more about the proposed changes, click here.

Wednesday’s information session with council staff will be held from 9 am until 11 am, at the Cliff Rd and Harbour St intersection. Monday’s online information session will be from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, click here to register.

Feedback closes on 10 July.

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