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Category Archives: Perth Cycling Infrastructure

Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Bike Parking, Perth Arena

I went to the final of the Hopman Cup last night. Everyone seemed to be there to cheer Djockovic & Ivanovic at first, and Djokovic won his game against Verdasco, but Anabel Medina Garrigues fought gamely to defeat Ivanovic and the feeling in the Arena changed a little, with many many people supporting Spain. In fact the Anabel Medina Garrigues vs Ana Ivanovic match lasted for hours and pushed the end time of the match back to the wee hours of the morning.

djokovic at the Hopman Cup final (photo mine lol)

All of the players seemed impressed with the size of the crowd, Anabel and Novac both said they thought the crowd was like being at a Grand Slam. It was pretty much a sell out.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand, bike parking. As the Arena is pretty much brand-spanking-new it reflects some of the ‘newer’ philosophy that people need to be encouraged to walk, cycle and take public transport to big events. That means that there is bike parking provided in the underground car park.

Bike Parking underground Perth Arena

It’s pretty easy to get in there from the ‘old Entertainment Centre overpass’ – after you cross over the rail line, there’s now a little street that runs down the side of the Arena down to the car park.

There were only four bikes down there for a sell out crowd and we were responsible for two of them – though I think some of this is because it hasn’t been promoted!

There is space for about 4 or 5 bikes near Entrance B above ground, and that bike rack filled up as we were waiting in the queue to go in. There were also 4 or so bikes chained up to random objects. I suspect that these people didn’t know there was another bike rack available.

The racks themselves are the ‘corkscrew type’ which they already have in Northbridge. They do look kind of pretty but they are a bit awkward to use when compared to plain old U-racks which are still the most practical bike rack design that I have used.

When it was time to leave the underground car park, hundreds of other people were also leaving in their cars. One of the staff informed us that the ‘in’ ramp had been closed to traffic so we could use that without joining the queue of cars. This was great because my opposite number has a sore knee at the moment and has real trouble riding up inclines at any speed. After we rode up the ‘in’ ramp, we simply crossed the road to the overpass and home via the PSP, bypassing all the traffic jams and avoiding the train station at 2am on a Sunday morning.

I am going to see Pink at the Arena in the very near future so we will see if there are more patrons using the bike parking then.

It is certainly a great improvement on Burswood Dome (where we locked our bikes to the railing of a stairwell last time), and Subiaco Oval (where we usually find a random pole).

So next time you go to see something at Perth Arena, consider cycling there.

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Training for the Timid

This is a summary post of the training rides that I have been doing in order to get me ready for the Perth Ride to Conquer Cancer. Mostly I have done these rides solo, sometimes with a buddy. They are not routes for big groups as they mostly involve Principle Shared Paths.

South Perth/Freeway/Roe Highway/Railway Parade – LOOP

The map on Bikely is here, this variation includes the Tony Discerni pathway through Maylands.

I do this one fairly frequently if I am by myself as it is 90% principal shared path.

The diversions around Fiona Stanley Hospital are constantly in flux, so all of my Freeway South rides will have slightly different wiggly bits around that area.

My Bike at Bells

Bayswater/Bells Rapids via Middle Swan Road – OUT AND BACK

Middle Swan Road has a poorly maintained Principal Shared Path along it’s length. It has a lot of root damage, narrow parts, and power poles in the middle of it. Sometimes large groups of cyclists riding together to the wineries get in the way. This is the way to ride if you want to take your time and be as separated as possible from traffic.

Bayswater/Bells Rapids/Bells Lookout via Reid Highway & GREAT NORTHERN HIGHWAY – OUT AND BACK

Click for the GPS generated map of a ride I did out along Middle Swan Road/Railway Parade and then back via Great Northern Highway, crossing the river at Reid Highway.

I now prefer to ride Great Northern Highway, as it has a great, smooth, wide bike lane. There are multiple large trucks using the route so this can be off putting as they try to suck you in as they go past. The Reid Highway part is not actually on Reid Highway, there are a series of back roads with connecting bike paths running parallel to the highway which go past the Prison.

If you combine these two rides you can make a loop instead of an out and back ride. Obviously there are more climbs that you can ride around Campersic Road but I was battling a fierce headwind the time I went up there and so wasn’t up to much more than one climb!

Bayswater/City/Freeway North/Scarborough/North Fremantle/Bayswater – LOOP

This is an excellent summer ride. I ride down the Midland rail line Principle Shared Path, through the city, up the Freeway North path, then get off at Cedric Street and work through the back streets to the beach. Then you can follow the coast to Fremantle, then ride back via the Fremantle rail line.

Freeway South to Singleton – OUT AND BACK

My GPS generated map is here.

Patagoni Road has a wide sealed shoulder, the section of Mandurah Road has a rather rough sealed shoulder, and Singleton Beach Road is narrow and full of hoons, so I used the shared path.

Freeway South to Rockingham/Safety Bay Road and Wellard Road – OUT AND BACK/SMALL LOOP

GPS-generated map here on Bikely.

I found this loop on a Department of Transport website, but the Wellard Road route is by far the most pleasant way in to Rockingham. Safety Bay Road has a disappearing sealed shoulder and a couple of two lane and very busy roundabouts to negotiate. I want to try riding down the coast, as the area in between the Freeway and the coast in the vicinity of Rockingham is not very scenic!

So…

I hope that these rides give you some ideas. After you’ve done all these you might want to spend more time on the road or doing hills, or whatever else you want to do. The greatest thing about riding in Perth is that the number of cyclists on the road is constantly growing, and there is safety in numbers.

 

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User Review: Bike Route Planning – Google Maps & Ride the City

One of the main challenges of using a bicycle for transport in a city with limited bicycle infrastructure is route planning. These are the tools which are meant to help. Being a low-density city Perth has the advantage of having a good network of quiet backstreets. The problem with backstreets are that you have to zigzag often to go where you need to while cars get to drive straight to their destinations. If you are making a transition from driving to cycling, it may take a bit of getting used to, as you might take driving down Whatever Highway for granted.

I will have to admit, I was a little bit excited when I saw that Google has activated their bicycle direction function. It is still in beta mode though, so I expected some hiccups. I also discovered ‘Ride the City’ from someone who commented on my ‘About’ page on this blog, and I’ve used it a couple of times, with mixed results.

So for the purposes of this review I decided to issue a challenge to both websites – to get me from my neighbourhood, Bayswater, to a bar in Leederville to meet my friends for an after work dinner and drink (Kitsch Bar, which is on Oxford Street).

The challenge is that the area is filled with some fairly major roads that I didn’t want to use, as it was a wet evening and as I was heading out there would have still been a bit of traffic heading home from work.

Google Maps

The first thing I did was enter the from and to addresses and hope for a miracle when I pressed the little bike button.

This was Google’s suggestion.

Google as usual offered 3 alternative options. The best, and closest to the route I used was the third and most direction option, which Google had measured at 8.3 kilometres, and estimated it would take 35 minutes which was remarkably accurate.

I took some different streets around Walcott Street to avoid riding down it for any length but really the google route was very close to what I actually did.

Ride the City

I had problems with Ride the City this afternoon. It has a handy ‘print’ option but it kept hanging and wouldn’t print. It was also stalling when I wanted to zoom in. To be fair this could be because I have an outdated browser at work, but Google worked, so it wins in the reliability stakes.

Ride the City offers ‘Safe’, ‘Safer’ and ‘Direct Route’ options.

The ‘Direct Route’ was pretty much identical to google’s route. The ‘Safe’ and ‘Safer’ routes were remarkably similar, and were 11.1 km instead of 8.3 km as they stuck to the principle shared path network and took you right in to the city and out of the city again to Leederville. I think the Safe/Safer options are far too conservative when the route that Google chose was really quite pleasant to ride along and very quiet. They might even put people off riding when they are a few kilometres longer.


What I did

Here is the route I actually took on Bikely.

Chelmsford Ave has crazy double parking almost the entire length of the street, I guess the houses there don’t have enough parking spaces. It makes it a little narrow for cars to squeeze through, effectively making a two way road into a one way road. This is OK on a bike because cars go slowly and it’s pretty easy to duck out of the way if there happens to be an oncoming car.

The crossings over the main roads are a bit of a problem though as there are no pedestrian refuges, I am not sure I would be able to get across if it was busy. Fortunately it was not as busy as I expected on the way out, and on the way back at 9:40pm on a weeknight there was barely any traffic!

Also, Oxford Street Leederville has great bike parking, there are U-rails bolted into the sidewalks everywhere, so I got to park directly outside of Kitsch. Big props to Leedy!

Conclusion

Both Google Maps and Ride the City – Perth are really useful tools for plotting routes. I probably wouldn’t bother with the ‘safe’ options on Ride the City though.

Ride the City seems less reliable than Google, but that is to be expected, but I think I will always visit RtC first just to support the new guy.

 

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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: UPDATE on Bike Parking at St John of God Hospital Subiaco

After I wrote this post, I shot an email to SJOG Subiaco via their website about securing the bike racks near the main entrance of the hospital.

This was my e-mail:

Firstly I want to say, good on you for providing a bike rack right near the main entrance. I found it very valuable while visiting my partner during her stay with you.
 
I just wanted to provide some feedback, in that the bike rack, while a great rack, isnt secured to anything. During my time at Murdoch University a similar rack was stolen complete with 5 bicycles by some people in a ute who simply drove up, loaded it on and drove away. The rack that you have is also quite lightweight itself and tends to slide around a bit on the pavers, as its location had changed slightly the few times I visited it. As this is the main pickup/dropoff area for the hospital vehicle access is very easy in this location, so I would suggest securing the rack is important.
 
I noticed there were other bikes in the vicinity which were chained to drain pipes and signage. It could be that the riders of these bikes didn’t feel secure using the unanchored bike rack.

I received a follow up response  from them today as follows:

Thank you for your email of 5 July 2012 regarding your recent visit to St John of God Subiaco Hospital.

Your feedback regarding the securing of the bicycle rack has been forwarded to the Manager of Security & Grounds who has completed his review of the issues you raised.

Please be assured that the Engineering Department has confirmed that they are arranging for the bicycle rack to be secured in the next couple of weeks.

I again thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Feedback is a valuable way for us to review our processes and procedures to identify areas for improvement and therefore always very welcome.

This is excellent stuff and even though it seemed to take a long time for the information and action to flow through, I am very happy with the outcome.

This contrasts wildly with the response that I had from Coles Supermarkets regarding my emails to get a bike rack installed at their stand-alone store in Maylands. I understand that Coles is a behemoth, and getting something to happen with them is like trying to turn the Titanic, but after being referred to the ‘National Property Team’ my email went nowhere. The SJOG experience has encouraged me to try again with Coles. Stay tuned for developments!

 

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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Bike Parking, St John of God Hospital Subiaco

I recently had reason to visit the St John of God Hospital in Subiaco. It is conveniently located near a bike path, so I assumed that there was going to be bike parking. Just in case, I took my biggest U-lock which would fit comfortably around the light poles I saw last time I was there.

Bike racks near the front entrance of SJOG Subiaco

It turns out there are bike racks right at the entrance. There are 3 U-rails which are connected to a common base plate. Unfortunately they are not bolted down, so susceptible to someone rocking up with a ute, chucking the whole thing in the back, and driving off. Don’t laugh, this happened at Murdoch University in the early 2000s – in an area where vehicle access was much more difficult than it is here!

While I didn’t hesitate to leave the Surly there for the hour or so I would be inside, I would not want to lock an expensive bike there, or even a moderately priced bike on a regular basis, just in case someone scoped it out and then came back for it later.

There were bikes chained to other poles in the immediate vicinity, so I guess I was not the only one concerned about the portability of the bike rack.

SJOG Subiaco actually has publicly available information on the measures it takes to encourage it’s staff to use ‘green’ transport, including public transport, walking and cycling, so I am going to send them an email and ask them to consider securing the bike rack properly.

All in all, SJOG has at least tried to provide bike parking for visitors. There’s always room for improvement though!

 

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Perth Cycling Infrastructure – Middle Swan Road

I have to start training up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer in October, which is 200 kilometres over two days (if you would like to make a donation check out my profile page here). I decided to go for a little ride through the Swan Valley out to Bells Rapids, though this time of year there really is not much water out there, and so I am going to call them Bells Dry Rocks.

The Bikely map of the route I took is here. I could have ridden up Great Northern Highway, but I decided to check out the condition of the shared path that is along Middle Swan Road – which is mainly there as far as I can tell, to encourage people to ride to the various wineries. I also wanted to try out some back streets, hence rode along Railway Crescent up to Cathedral Avenue. Railway Crescent is a quiet country road and I think I only saw two cars as I rode along there.

I had my new Gopro Hero 2 on my bars, but I need to make more room for it as I had clamped it over my bar tape, and the bar tape is too squishy to provide a rock-steady mount. Anyway, I did a video of the West Swan Rd section, which illustrates how poor the shared path actually is in places. It looks alright when you drive past it, but from a cyclist’s perspective, there is a lot of dirt on the path, the surface has some pretty bad cracks in places, there is a section with a bunch of power poles right in the middle (with no reflective treatments), and there is a lot of glass. I got a flat after riding this section, a thin piece of glass put quite a significant slash in my rear tyre. It’s easy to see why serious cyclists would prefer the road to this path. The video is sped up to 2x speed, and the fastest I sat on along here was about 27kph.

There is also a cycling/pedestrian only bridge at Maali Bridge Park – it’s the nicest cycling only bridge I’ve seen in Perth. It comes out at Sitella winery, which is one of my favorites – perhaps because it was where I went for my birthday? We drove out that time though, and I ate way too much food!

Anyway I will be making my way out to the Swan Valley more often in the coming months, perhaps to go wine tasting! Despite the path being a bit frustrating, I think it will be good as a slow/social ride. Next time I aim to go as far out as Bells I’ll probably go via Great Northern Highway which has a nice wide, smooth and fairly new bike lane.

 

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Perth Cycling Infrastructure: Roe Highway PSP & Armadale Train line PSP

I was looking for a 60km type loop ride which is mainly on separated cycling infrastructure. Sure, you can ride all the way down to Mandurah without stopping once you get past the city, but that’s about 85km from my house, and then you have to get back. I have been riding down there, catching the train back to the city, and then riding back to my place for a 95km day.

kwinana freeway psp

Kwinana Freeway Principle Shared path

Anyway, I realised that Roe Highway has a good quality PSP which heads South from Welshpool Road, so I decided to try out a freeway/highway loop. You ride the freeway south, until Roe Highway – the turn off is just past Murdoch where you turn left under a little underpass and turn left again for the Roe Highway Welshpool PSP. I then got off the Roe Highway PSP at Railway Parade, near Albany Highway and rode all the way up to Burswood/Great Eastern highway where I picked up the PSP that heads to East Perth Station/Claisebrook.

Here is the link on Bikely.

The pleasant surprise is that they have been working on adding a PSP to the Armadale train line. It currently runs from around Beckenham station to just past Welshpool station. I hope there are plans to continue it – there’s certainly space.

On the weekend when I usually ride down there, there isn’t much traffic on Railway Parade. It’s a very wide road, so I haven’t had any issues with cars, but that PSP will be a godsend for people who live down that way and who wish to commute into the city to work. This new bit of PSP wasn’t there when I bought my Giant TCR down in Cannington at the end of August, so I was pretty surprised to see it!

The new PSP along the Armadale rail line

The new PSP along the Armadale rail line - hopefully it gets extended all the way to the city

There are only a couple of drawbacks to the route – the first is that it takes in a particularly busy bit of the Kwinana Freeway bike path where it is sandwiched between the freeway and the Swan River. There are always dog walkers, fitness buffs jogging or powerwalking, and a wide ranging variety of cyclists. The 10kph pootlers and the 40kph roadies seem to share without too many issues, but it is busy and it can slow you down. The other issue is that the paths tend to suffer from sand and mulch wash outs when there is rain. It rained in the area last night, so we had to be a bit careful through some areas that had deep sand washed onto them.

Overall I enjoyed this ride. It is relaxing being separated from cars, and most of the route is not overcrowded with other cyclists. We really didn’t see many at all on the Roe Highway section, though I expect it will be more popular and well utilised as people realise it is there.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Perth Cycling Infrastructure

 

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