Greetings, Any New Local Readers

Like any evil genius, I do so love hearing my voice on the airwaves, as happened this morning, thanks to the vision and wisdom of local public broadcaster, Jill Emberson. While I don’t expect more than a handful of Jill’s listeners will go to her blog, and follow the links here, I do want to make those of you who have made that journey, feel very welcome. This is not a local blog, for local people, about local issues, but a site of interest to a handful of visionaries scattered all over the globe. So go away.

Oh, you know I don’t mean that 😉

And to prove it, just for today, I am blogging about local issues. Furthermore, if any local reader can surprise me with a non-idiotic comment below, he will be treated to coffee and cake and a brief write up, here on Behooving Moving, the world’s only forum exploring the nexus between architecture and bikes. Ladies, your comment should be in response to this brilliant proposal:

I propose we build schools, shopping centers, commercial space and high density affordable housing, dotted around Islington Park. A similar broad mix of functions will fill the remaining land parcels at Honeysuckle. Next we should build a bicycle overpass at the Northern end of Hannell Street Wickham. None of the new buildings will have any car parking at all. Actually, they will be impossible to even find from the road. They are for cyclists, not drivers. Meanwhile, the bike path from Queens Wharf to the new development at Islington Park, will have an awning built over it, to protect cyclists from the sun and the rain. No more will weather protection be a privilege for petrol burners. What I am sketching out here for you, shall be the beginning of a separatist zone, where people can pursue a life of bicycle dependence, not car dependence, hidden from the green eyed gaze of those victims who drive.

It will prove such a success, that planners will start looking for bicycling tendrils that can be extended from the former docklands area, out into the suburbs. These are like wax lines on paper, left by the rail and water links to the harbour, that road engineers have been trying to erase for the past 60 years. Thankfully, that generation of traffic engineers are reaching the age when they start having their coronary ops, and all step aside. The new generation will be focused on cycling, and will use the banks of creeks and old skip lines to expand the separatist bicycling zone to new bike paths out along the sides of all our major rail lines, to The Junction via National Park… to quite a few places. I’ll share some more radical, former industrial routes, as this thing starts to snowball. That will happen when Chinese demand for dwindling oil reserves pushes petrol to $5 per liter, and nobody anywhere would dream of driving, when they could cycle. See you there! Where? In the future, my darlings.

Show yourself to be least block-headed in your attitudes, with a smart comment below, and you and I shall meet soon for coffee and cake. I’m loving your comments already.          


  1. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe you work at the university. What this city NEEDS desperately is more car parking. You can’t go anywhere without driving around the block five times looking for a park, only to have to park miles a way then have to walk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love this vision for cycling in Newcastle, so much better than mine which is to put bike gutters beside stairs people use with their bikes. The overhead cover to provide shelter from rain is especially appealing

    • Steven says:

      Oh Vicky, don’t be so harsh on yourself. Those channels beside stairs are an absolute must. In the future, archaeologists will use them to categorize advanced and primitive peoples.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Greetings, Any New Local Readers

    Seriously, just make Maitland Road a 4 lane bike path.

    • Steven says:

      Re: Greetings, Any New Local Readers

      ah, Mr. Bwendon, so nice you come here. Fank you for honorable bwog comment. I give coffee and cake to you Mr. Bwendon, to see if your tummy expwode, ah ha ha ha ha ha!

  4. Lukas Junker says:

    I am one of those new local readers & believers in bikes for ‘transport for the masses’, because that is how I grew up. Of course people can also use it for sport and recreation if they feel like it, but first and foremost it should be seen as a mode of transport (specially for the young ones, who somehow managed to rope the parents of an entire nation into becoming a part time Taxi service) To this end, the cycle paths need to link in with decent public transport hubs.
    I agree that our remaining green areas, as in Islington and Wickham Park etc, could do with more usage & patronage, but I hope this will happen automatically as the city becomes more densly developed (should our fellow aussies resist the tempation to continue growing horizontally, wide and fat rather than vertically, tight and tall…) I agree that we need to get more paths through the parks(specially Wickham Park), but think the commercial and residential developments should be built outside the parks and not in it. There is enough brown field land and underdeveloped residential and commercial land around to probably double the population density of Newcastle without touching a single park. I generally like the idea of getting some cycle ways re-claimed and linked up, though. The area around the various sport centres in Broadmeadow and linking up to Adamstown and Fernley Track is a joke.
    As for the awning, what is that about? Architecture? what is wrong with hats? we just need to get rid of the compulsory helmets and people can wear their own weather appropriate ‘awning’ strapped to their heads.

    • Steven says:

      Hi Lucas, thanks for dropping by, and I’m glad you can see merit in the brownfield-to-bikefield idea here in Newcastle. You may have guessed, my suggestion to build on some park space is an ambit claim — we architects do that. All we need to alleviate sprawl in this city (as well as 10 storey flats on those brownfields), is a rise in oil prices that will cause people in the burbs to default on their loans (shame about that), then council to abandon their grandparents’ ideas that all new residential develoipment in the city must provide parking. That will free up loads of small blocks for affordable housing redevelopments along Hunter and King Street. Then, of course, those street will need trees and bike paths, and tamed traffic, something shop keeper along there would relish. The other alternative, is we keep this city as a museum piece, for future generations to come see how people lived in the 1960s, with car crashes and congestion.

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