Why build a cycle route / shared pathway linking Charlestown to Whitebridge?

    • The project will create a safe and accessible active transport route between Charlestown and Whitebridge, providing connections to key destinations such as schools and shops and intersecting with the existing Fernleigh Track at Whitebridge.
    • A shared pathway will provide better, safer links for people of all abilities moving between Charlestown and Whitebridge and help meet the growing demand for active transport in the area. Council’s Cycling Strategy 2021 identified the need for this infrastructure and will form part of the Richmond Vale to Fernleigh Tack (via Charlestown) regional route.

    What is a feasibility study?

    • A feasibility study helps determine the most viable route. It considers a multitude of factors, including cost, safety, accessibility, directness, scenery, proximity to key services and locations, user experience and environmental impact.
    • It aims to highlight options that are practical and effective, and that minimise negative impacts.

    What are the route options?

    • Council is seeking feedback on two main route options as part of this feasibility study.
    • One route includes a shared pathway from Fernleigh Track, up Lonus Avenue and Flora Avenue to Kaleen Street. The path then connects into Milson Street and Frederick Street before terminating at the Traffic Control Signals on The Pacific Highway. This route passes Whitebridge High School, Charlestown Pool and Charlestown Public School.
    • The second route includes a shared pathway from Fernleigh track down Lonus Avenue onto Dudley Road and then continues on Bula Street to Tiral Street, where cyclists transition to a bicycle boulevard until continuing on Dickinson Street and Frederick Street. The shared path facility then terminates at the Traffic Control Signals on The Pacific Highway. This route passes Whitebridge shops, Whitebridge sporting fields, Charlestown East Public School, Charlestown Pool and Charlestown Public School.
    • Small alternative section leading into these two overall route alignments are also being assessed.

    How have the proposed route options been selected?

    There were a number of potential routes which were assessed internally, in accordance with Councils Walking, Cycling and Better Streets Strategy.

    Criteria used for assessment included elements such as directness and convenience, safety and minimal impacts on environment and heritage.

    A list of routes that were assessed can be seen here.

    Will cyclists and pedestrians be separated?

    We will consider a separated path for cyclists and pedestrians where possible, although this would be contingent on available land/space and funding.

    What are the timeframes for assessment and construction?

    • The feasibility assessment is being undertaken in the 2021-22 financial year and is expected to continue into the 2022-23 financial year.  Following the determination of a preferred route, council officers will undertake the planning phase of the project which includes further investigations such as (but not limited to) survey, geotechnical investigations and environmental impact assessments.
    • Design and construction will be subject to funding and inclusion in future Council Operational Plans. If you would like to receive future updates about this, please enter your details at the end of our online survey.

    How will the cycle route / shared pathway be funded?

    • The assessment will highlight a preferred route. However, the project will be a major financial undertaking. Council will likely require input from external sources, such as State and/or Federal government grant funding.
    • Allocation of funds for this project must be weighed against all other roads and transport projects across Lake Macquarie. Each of these projects is assessed in terms of cost-benefit and prioritised accordingly.

    What’s happening with the Whitebridge – Dudley cycle route?

    Council is taking a staged approach to undertaking a feasibility and planning process for the Charlestown to Dudley cycle route / shared pathway.

    Stage one – current stage.

    Council is in the process of undertaking a feasibility and planning process between Charlestown to Whitebridge, as outlined in the 2021/2022 Operational Plan.

    Council officers have identified and assessed the potential route options, analysing each route in accordance with planning and design principles outlined in our Walking, Cycling and Better Street Strategy.

    We also identified opportunities, constraints and risks for each option, and provide a high-order cost estimate for each option.

    These assessments allowed Council to determine the most viable route options to take to the community as part of this consultation. 

    Further development of the preferred route, including more detailed planning investigations, will be undertaken following community engagement. 

    Stage two

    Stage two will involve investigating cycling connections between Whitebridge and Dudley. These investigations are likely to occur following completion of planning activities for the Charlestown to Whitebridge section.

    Has connection to the Fernleigh Track been considered over the Burwood Dam?

    Yes. Council has considered route. Investigations into this route have shown;

    • The dam and adjacent land is not under Council ownership
    • Steep topography presenting accessibility and safety concerns
    • Significant delays to project completion
    • Significant environmental impacts, including loss of vegetation. 

    While this option could be investigated at a future time, it is Council’s priority to deliver infrastructure to the community in the short-term.

    Will the northern route option one follow/go along the Yuelarbah Track (Great North Walk)?

    Route option one sits separately to Yuelarbah Track as shown in the Segment One route map. The route section between Milson Street and Kaleen St will run behind properties with a new bridge structure over Flaggy Creek. It will continue east along the side of Kaleen St.

    Will trees be removed as part of the proposed route options?

    Assessing impacts to trees and vegetation is a key consideration for all shared pathway projects. Council endeavours to maintain trees when possible and minimise any impacts to them. Once the feasibility study is complete, Council officers will start planning on a preferred route including environmental impact assessments to determine if any removals are required. Consideration will be given to offset any loses in other areas.  

     

    What’s happening with the Kaleen Street Reserve project?

    Council is in the process of acquiring the properties along Cowper Street necessary to facilitate the Kaleen Street Reserve project. This is being achieved through voluntary acquisition and may take a number of years until construction can formally commence. As part of the Kaleen Street Reserve project, the pathway along the Yuelarbah Track proposed in the Charlestown Recreation and Land Plan would provide a connection to the Fernleigh Track and further north towards Newcastle. Please note, that the Kaleen Street Reserve project and the path proposed in the Charlestown Recreation and Land Plan sits outside of the scope of the feasibility study we are now conducting. 

    The Kaleen Street pathway which is currently proposed (option 1 – blue route) will provide a direct connection to Whitebridge and could potentially facilitate a connection to the Kaleen Street Reserve project in the future.