Completion of shared path creates major cycling link between Lake Mac and Newcastle


Posted on February 16, 2022

A historic shared trail from Speers Point to Glendale is now complete, filling in a missing link to create a continuous cycle route from Eleebana to Newcastle University and beyond.

The 4.6km trail starts at Speers Point Park, paralleling Cockle Creek before following Lake Road and heading behind the houses of Argenton to bypass the Waratah Golf Club.

Lake Macquarie Town Council Infrastructure Asset Strategy Coordinator Simon Gulliver said the track continued to the end of Frederick Street in Glendale, linking with the existing tram track at Wallsend.

The track creates an almost entirely off-road route of 18 km from Eleebana to the university and a 14.3 km route from Booragul to the university.

“This makes it a project of real importance, not only for recreational cyclists and walkers, but also for commuters looking for a cheaper and healthier option than driving,” Gulliver said.

“The mostly flat terrain, off-road trail and scenery at the end of Speers Point also makes for a really enjoyable ride.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said the town is now home to more than 115km of shared off-road trails.

“This kind of infrastructure promotes healthy lifestyles, improves our environment by getting cars off the road, and provides important connections between suburbs,” she said.

“This is an important step in rolling out sustainable commuter transportation options in our region.

The total project cost of $10.5 million included improved crosswalks, new curbs and gutters in sections, construction of a 550m fence along the golf course and over 15,000 new shrubs , trees and plants.

Newcastle University chief operating officer David Toll said encouraging people to move away from cars and into alternative transport options was one of the long-term sustainability goals of the university.

“With recently completed cycle routes in Newcastle LGA, this creates a safe, realistic and fast way to get from A to B for university students and staff based in Lake Macquarie,” said Mr Toll.

Valentine resident Alex Dare, who is responsible for computer services at the university, is among the commuters who will use the new shared path to get to work.

The 22 km journey now takes him less than an hour, door to door.

“Before you had to drive along Lake Road, and with little hard shoulder, all the cars and a bit dodgy road surface, it was quite dangerous,” Mr Dare said.

“So being able to come in from the back, away from traffic, is fantastic.”

Seating and water fountains have been installed at regular intervals for trail users, along with interpretive panels.

Newcastle Cycleways Movement vice-chairman Peter Lee said bridging the gap between the shared Warners Bay-Speers Point path and the tram route had been identified as a top priority by the Council’s Cycling Advisory Group as early as 2012.

“The Newcastle Cycleways Movement’s long-held vision of linking these two projects has come to fruition,” he said.

“This is an essential link in the vision of the CycleSafe network.”

The completion of the project coincides with the launch of a new online cycling map, providing an overview of cycling routes across Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, whether off-road or on-road and their level of difficulty.

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