A few of us here in my city, would like to see our network of creeks (let’s face it, they’re drains), turned into a bike path, forming a big loop, that would gather up other bicycle routes coming in from the burbs precisely where they all start falling to pieces. The loop would connect sports fields, schools and shops, but most important of all, it would open up disused industrial sites for bicycle oriented development: affordable housing; water-based parks for fishing or bird watching or rowing; places to work; public amenities; shop kiosks, etc etc.. Developer infrastructure contributions from that redevelopment, could be spent on upgrading the bike paths, rather than being syphoned off to top up roads budgets.
Now, those of us sharing this vision, might wait for local authorities to include this bike loop in their glacial schedules of works. Or, we could wear a path with our own bike tires. I took a group of fellow bike nuts, visionaries and lefty do-gooders like my good self, on a loop of the loop, yesterday morning. A few of us took turns to say a few words, about development, birds, the harmlessness of stepping down into drains, and the 40 year history of Newcastle’s bicycling network. It would only take everyone who came, to lead their own ride, and for each of those people in turn to lead rides, for something like a dirt track to appear on the grass. We could leave that track, and perhaps some DIY signage, as a “hint”—you might say—for our city’s not-so-visionary planning officials. (Bless them, they’re just on a wage.)
Thanks to Bernard Hocking for all of these photos: