Because it grew out of a process, not drunken bar talk, the waterway bicycle loop I have identified as a potential big project for my city, Newcastle, is starting to gather some interest. I’ve been having behind the scenes meetings about technical matters, and it scares me to learn, there are no real impediments, other than those you could expect, that are just bureaucratic in nature. Moreover, there is genuine interest from people, with informed views. Better than those, are commoner responses, such as my dear mother’s. She dreams of the day she has an excuse to own a mobility scooter, with which to complete the loop stopping at craft stalls [sigh].
On Sunday the 4th of March, I plan to lead anyone interested in a visionary bike ride, on a loop of the loop. We’ll leave from Market Town at 10am, and follow Cottage Creek to Jenner Parade, turn South onto Beaumont, West onto Darling, continuing North/West along Melville Rd until we reach the rail line. From there we will detour over the Lambton Road bridge, to connect with Styx Creek beside Broadmeadow High School. North then along the creek with District park to our left, shimmy past the Wespac Base Heliport, then the wider part of Styx Creek in the direction of Hamilton North. We detour around the old gasworks (hold your nose) then reconnect with more salubrious shores next to the TAFE. We finish with a more leisurely ride along Stage 1 of the loop, that has already been built, that which follows Throsby Creek, back to the Newcastle Yacht Club, where you can all tell me how clever I am. Have your own bike, your own means of fixing your flat, and no expectation that you will get anything trying to sue me, if you tumble into the drink.
Along the way I plan to bother you all with brief commentary, explaining why this particular route deserves more attention than old chestnuts like heavy rail to the city. Almost anyone in the city can see themselves reflected in it, even if for some reason they can’t ride a bike. It will be good for public health, mobility (especially of school kids), users of mobility scooters, our greenhouse credentials, sustainable development, air quality, reducing urban sprawl, the health of our waterways, affordable housing, tourism, recreation, and maybe even the birds.