Harbour Bridge ramp plans ‘unbelievable’

An urban planner says there is a major issue with proposals to attach a ramp to one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks.

A NSW government proposal to build a ramp for cyclists up to the Sydney Harbour Bridge have been slammed by a landscape architect as “dangerous” and “unbelievable”.

Options to improve access to the northern end of the Harbour Bridge cycleway were developed by Transport for NSW and released for community feedback on Monday.

A two-storey spiralling ramp is one of two preferred options being considered, with the other a linear ramp that would wind its way north through Bradfield Park on a gentle gradient.

The option of an elevator or travelator was ruled out because they “did not solve safety or congestion issues and were not supported by the Heritage Council of NSW”.

However, David Vago, a landscape architect and urban designer, has questioned why an elevator was dismissed.

“I don’t believe that,” Mr Vago told NCA NewsWire of the Heritage Council reasoning.

“It seems they’ve put a line through the (elevator) idea without even investigating it.

“I can’t see how the Heritage Council would support a giant ramp coming off the side of a heritage-listed bridge.”

The Harbour Bridge is listed on the State Heritage Register and the National Heritage List.

Mr Vago said the ramp proposals were dangerous and not the most cost-effective solution.

“These design proposals focus on a small section of the community (cyclists) when it comes to the planning of public assets,” he said.

“You have to think of the safety aspect; whether cyclists will come down a ramp with speed and if that’s dangerous.”

However, Bicycle NSW general manager of public affairs Bastien Wallace said the gradient of the linear option conformed with state guidelines and cycling was becoming a more popular form of transport.

“A high-quality cycleway costs about one million dollars per kilometre, which is far cheaper than roadway construction costs,” she said.

In a media release, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said on average, 2000 cyclist trips were taken on the cycleway on weekdays.

He expects that number to double during the next 10 years.

Mr Vago illustrated a proposed elevator for the Harbour Bridge.

“It would be a double lift big enough for multiple cyclists to use, using steel to the match the Harbour Bridge and glass to keep transparency,” he said.

“An added benefit is when you reach the top you will get a fantastic view of Sydney Harbour.”

North Sydney Council mayor Jilly Gibson also opposes a ramp given it would subtract green space from Bradfield Park.

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