Saturday, 14 January 2012

Kingston Bypass

I thought I'd head out and ride the Kaoota Tramway Circuit today so I could check out the new cycleway section that have been put in as part of the Kingston Bypass (See here) and also try out the Kaoota Tramway section which I haven't ridden since they've upgraded the bridges.

New Kingston Bypass includes new sections of bike path.
Well, that didn't happen.

It was a good case of expectations ruining a ride:  You see I had 'assumed' that this new section would be the cycling alternative to the road (with the associated assumption that it would start and finish near the start and finish of the road) and that it would be geared up for both road and recreational cyclists looking for an alternative to  a major highway section.

Well it isn't - I cycled up from Kingston and was wrong on both points.  The new cycle way is actually more like a gravel road along a pretty boring section of rivulet running between houses and the highway on one side and the rivulet on the other.  Now I can forigve 'pretty boring' in a cycleway if the purpose of a cycleway is to get from point A to B (eg. the Intercty Cycleway) but what completely flumoxed me was that the route came to a junction and I thought it would continue under the roadway on my left, but it doesn't it just ends at a highway where your only option is to jump onto the road and go back the way you've come from.

The end of the cycleway?

I then realised that I was supposed to go right and do a dog leg to get down onto the overpass and then cycle over the highway and drop back out onto the old highway and from there head to the Fork in the Road roundabout.

So, my initial verdict was that this new section of cycleway appears to be one of those cycleway 'after-thoughts' thrown in by the road planners to be able to point to and say "See, we've catered for cyclists".  In reality for me it doesn't seem to offer much to cyclists:  As a road cyclist I wouldn't use it because it isn't paved; As a commuter cyclist I wouldn't use it because it adds too much distance and climb to the old route; and as a recreational / local cyclist I wouldn't use it unless I lived right on the route - it just doesn't have any real drawcards.

Not exactly a scenic trip

and surprisingly steep given it is sold as a "flat path"

After then finding the new pedestrian/cyclist underpass under Algona Road to the Peter Murrell Reserve still closed, I just got exasperated and cycled back to my car via the old road route which I think I will leave as the preferred option in the Kingston - Kaoota Track Notes.

It occured to me on my ride back into Kingston that maybe the road planners had envisaged that most cyclists would actually continue to use this existing cycle route as the alternative to the new bypass which is why they haven't paved or signed the new route.  This made some sense.

Unfortunately this musing was interrupted by four cars zooming past me way too close for comfort.  The fourth cars mirror missed my right arm by less than 10cm ... Maybe I would use the cycle-way after all.

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