Need to Reinstate deleted PBN Bicycle Routes, Perth, Western Australia

Firstly, the group of routes that were deleted at not the Perth Bicycle Network (PBN). They form one component of the PBN, specifically the Local Bicycle Routes (LBR’s). Other components of the PBN include Principal Shared Paths (PSP’s - along railways and major roads) and Regional Recreational Routes (along the coast and rivers, etc).

The intent of the Local Bicycle Routes was to provide an approximate grid of defined routes covering the majority of the Perth metropolitan area such that places where people lived, worked, shopped, etc. would be within easy reach of a bicycle route. The idea was to use existing relatively low-traffic streets where possible, together with minor improvements such as short connecting paths through a park or road closure, to enable the entire network to be constructed in a short time-frame at modest cost. In most cases, dedicated cycling infrastructure was not required for the majority of these routes as existing local roads provided a pretty good cycling environment for cyclists of at least moderate experience.

The Local Bicycle Routes also act as feeders to the more major routes - PSP’s, etc., recognising that most people will not have a PSP or major shared path running past their front door or workplace.

Yes, signage of the Local Bicycle Routes is an issue at Local Governments did not live up to their agreement to be responsible for any ongoing maintenance. Some signage problems are due to installation of underground power which was foreseen and planned for in some areas, but still the replacement of affected signs did not take place (the suburb of Woodlands being a prime example). To some extent, the signage deficiencies has becomes less of an issue with the advent of online maps like Open Cycle Map and the use of route plannings software and apps on mobile phones and GPS devices. Planning a route to an unfamiliar part of the city can be done ahead of time and the route can be followed using a phone or GPS on the bike.

Some of the routes do appear to be circuitous but that is inevitable when planning routes through existing suburbs making use of existing infrastructure as much as possible. Not all of Perth is flat so some routes detour to avoid steep hills or other natural features such as lakes. For the same reasons, it would often not be possible to provide a more direct purpose-built cycling route even with generous funding available. Also, it is very difficult to provide high quality cycling off-road cycle paths through existing suburbs as there are frequent, unavoidable conflicts with residential driveways, cross streets. etc.

One of the routes which has been deleted is the City to Sea Greenway (known as C2C on the OCM), almost all of which does consist of purpose-built shared paths from Perth CBD through Subiaco, Jolimont and Floreat to City Beach. This route features an obvious large detour in Floreat which was due to concerted opposition from local resident to an on-road portion along Salvado Rd. So, ironically, the portion which was supposed to be on-road ended up a much longer, hillier and more expensive detour via shared paths, although cyclists are welcome to take the shortcut via Salvado Rd as it is a public road.

I, for one, am still updating the Local Bicycle Routes on OCM. Around November 2021, I did a lot of edits to fix gaps in the routes caused by a previous deletion of data derived from Nearmaps.

It is not true that Department of Transport has abandoned the Local Bicycle Routes. Looking at the Long Term Cycling Network (ArcGIS Web Application) which is part of the current WA Bicycle Network plan, there is still a fine-grained grid of routes across the whole metro area. I haven’t compared the two km by km, but it is obvious many of the routes in the Long Term Cycling Network are still the same old Local Bicycle Routes, except that have now been prioritised in terms of their intended function and degrees of treatments needed. According to the DoT Route Hierarchy document (https://www.transport.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/active-transport/AT_P_WA_CycleNetwork_Hierarchy.pdf) there is still a category for local on-road routes with no or minimal enhancements other than signage.

So, depending on the category to which they are assigned, some of the Local Bicycle Routes will be retained largely as is and others will be developed in various ways, for example, following the (very expensive) Safe Active Streets model. In fact, most of the existing and currently planned Safe Active Streets project are being done on portions of existing Local Bicycle Routes. Given the very “long term” nature of DoT planning an implementation, it is likely that many of the current Local Bicycle Routes will remain as is for many years, if not decades, before substantional improvements are carried out and, rather than deleting the Local Bicycle Routes from official DoT planning, there will be a gradual conversion to a newer, hopefully improved network.

It is also worth noting that the Safe Active Streets projects which I have checked out have zero route signage, so they are worse that the existing Local Bicycle Routes in that regard. I live very close to the Nedlands SAS and there simply is no route signage. It seems DoT assume you will be so thrilled to enjoy riding on this shiny new facility you will just go whereevet it takes you and be delighted when you get there. Also, unlike the Local Bicycle Routes which were designed to be seamless across different local government areas, the Nedlands SAS simply stops at the boundaries with Claremont and Perth and Dot admitted there was no prior planning undertaking as to how the route might be extended in the future beyond City of Nedlands.

I think it is vital that the Open Cycle Maps are used to highlight the best bicycle routes that exist in various parts of the city, even though some may not be up to the gold plated standard that the DoT beurocrats are aiming for in 30 years time. Personally, I can’t affort to wait that long as I have been cycling around Perth for work and recreation for over 40 years already.

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/need-to-reinstate-deleted-pbn-bicycle-routes-perth-western-australia/1873