New plans have been released for the Curl Curl to Freshwater Connectivity and Streetscape Upgrade project, a bold never-before-tried plan on the Northern Beaches to slow traffic and make the streets more bike, kid and ambler friendly.
The project was put on pause when overnight works took residents by surprise earlier this year. There were significant lane changes and narrow carriageways which made the Bennett Street into Oliver bend particularly difficult for buses to navigate and was generally confusing for drivers.
The big-picture thinking, explains council, is to provide safer walkways to school for thousands of children, and a generally more bike- and pedestrian- friendly calmer streets through the Curl Curl and Freshwater suburbs.
But for scores of residents directly affected by the changes, concerns have been raised that the project changed very little following extended consultation, and issues over reduced parking, unsafe driveway exits and narrow lanes persist, instigating a community meeting on Wednesday night (tonight) at the Harbord Scout Hall on Stirgess Avenue at 6pm.
The new proposal, on display until 10 December, has significantly more detail and illustrations than first provided; those affected by the changes are advised to read through the information available on the Council’s Your Say page.
The biggest changes as MO understands it, is a total of 18 lost car parking spaces along the full stretch of Oliver and Bennett, about a 10cm increase in the lane width (from 2.9 to 3 metres, it is currently 3.1) and the exclusion of trailers and boats on the major bend. Due to the geometry of the bend, the travel lanes will be 3.5m on the corner of Bennett and Oliver Streets.
More streetscape works and greenery has also been added to the project.
The project projects a significantly safer walk to school for 1800 students; currently this is available to 200. Below marked in red are the homes that could have kids safely walk to the two local schools (via a pedestrian crossing or traffic light).
Overall the project proposes:
- On-road two way separated cycleway on the northern side of Bennett Street and eastern side of Oliver Street
- 20km/h ‘quiet safe street environment’ on Park Street
- Eight new and upgraded crossings for people walking and bike riding
- One zebra crossing upgraded to a raised pedestrian crossing
- Street landscaping including new garden beds and trees
- Two new bus stop platforms that will be disability compliant
- More pavement space for children and families during pick-up and drop off time outside Harbord Public School on Oliver Street.
The project, which is federally funded and tied to school safety, includes a two lane bike lane along Oliver; if passed it will be the first road project of this kind attempted on the Northern Beaches.
This article will be updated with stakeholder quotes as the issue progresses.