HUNTER Street will be reduced to one traffic lane in each direction between National Park Street and Worth Place to make way for under-construction bike lanes.
City of Newcastle has commenced work on its Hunter Street west end cycleway project, which includes creating single-direction bike lanes on either side of the street, shifting on-street parking, reducing the speed limit to 40 km/h and relocating multiple bus stops.
The council received $525,000 from the NSW government last year for the works under the Streets as Shared Spaces program.
Other projects funded under the program include a 150-metre long bi-directional path on Honeysuckle Drive and a similar path on Wharf Road offering a detour from the existing harbourside shared path around the Queens Wharf buildings.
The Hunter Street bike lanes are being created on the proviso of a year-long trial, which the council says will help inform a permanent position for a cycleway along Hunter Street and boarder public domain upgrades in the west end.
Previously the council unveiled plans for a bi-directional cycleway that was proposed to run along only the southern edge of Hunter Street between Wickham Park and Union Street.
That proposal, part of the west end streetscape plan, will likely be revised should the trial be a success.
Newcastle Cycleways Movement president Sam Reich commended the move to the two single-direction lanes, which he described as "Copenhagen-style" bike lanes, saying they were a safer options for cyclists.
"For people that are at intersections coming onto the road, they only have to look in the one direction.
"When you have bi-directional, people are looking at the direction traffic is coming from and not necessarily looking for cyclists coming the other way."
IN THE NEWS:
- Newcastle council releases report into Cr Allan Robinson code of conduct breaches
- Living a nightmare after a high-risk person exposed their business to COVID-19
- Allan Robinson, Newcastle Independents split for 2021 election after council report on 'Robbo' comments made public
- COVID NSW numbers rise to 239 as Premier Gladys Berejiklian announces tighter restrictions
- Maitland City Council objects to lodge formal objection about Martins Creek Quarry expansion
Mr Reich said the cycleway's popularity would not be fully realised until it had a western extension.
"Cycleways are never successful if they are isolated," he said.
"That stretch of Hunter Street is very lightly used by cyclists because there are better options, to date, but that doesn't mean to say that it wouldn't be an important cycling corridor if the options were better, and that means connecting from Mayfield into town.
"The way to go would not be along the Throsby Creek cycleway, which is a recreational path, but for commuter traffic and university traffic - people would prefer to come down Hunter Street.
"Once it gets connected to Islington Park ... you'll find it will get heavily utilised."
No on-street parking spaces will be lost through the area despite the reduction in vehicle traffic lanes.
A council spokeswoman said the road reconfiguration would "continue the single lane driving environment that exists on Hunter Street east of Worth Place".
"This configuration allows for the conservation of trees and parking along the street and results in the creation of two additional car parking spaces," she said.
A buffer zone will be created between the bike lanes and on-street parking spaces to ensure car doors do not open into the riding area.
The project also includes the installation of artworks in Kuwumi Place Plaza. The works are expected to be completed by September.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: