When riding down to Penrith today I noticed they have put up and closed two metal gates on Mitchell's pass (one at the top, one half way down). Anyone know what the story is with these? I really hope this isn't part of a crackdown on cyclists using it, that route is essential in my morning commute.
Trek 1.7 2009
Cell MTX-O 2010
That's a pain but they'll have to put up a lot more barriers/gates/fences to make it impassable IMHO. Half way down is particularly annoying. Being RTA-related I assume I'm going to guess on the other side of a blind corner?
Salsa Casseroll, Avanti Quantum, Specialized Tricross, Cell SS
Not quite, but if you were going fast and didn't expect them they might cause a fairly nasty shock. Honestly, with the alternative being the highway or Old Bathurst road, they could put one every five meters and I'd still choose Mitchell's pass. It's just a shame because that hill was the highlight of my ride before.
Trek 1.7 2009
Cell MTX-O 2010
I hope Blue Mountains City Council have their public liability insurance paid up. That location of that bottom gate on the fastest part of the hill is plain stupid, and it's dull galvanised colouring seems designed to make it hard to see. Someone will hit it and it won't be pretty.
Buy why is it there at all ? What possible function does it provide, and why would council go to so much effort to discourage the use of the road ? I'll ring the Council tomorrow.
Look forward to hearing their response. As already mentioned by others it is ( or was) by far the safest cyclist descent from the lower Blue Mts.
FPR Jubilado Bludger
I just spent 15 mins on the phone to a fellow from BMCC named Tony Moore, who seems to be responsible for the steel gates.
I asked him why the new steel gates have been placed there. He said to keep out cars, because they were getting around the concrete barriers.
I asked him if it was a permanent or a temporary arrangement ? He said temporary, and that they were putting the engineering work (presumably for rockface stabilisation) out to tender and that wouldn't happen 'til August. Maybe the gates will be opened after that (didn't sound too promising)
I asked him whether he thought it was safe to put that bottom steel barrier up at the bottom of the steepest part of the hill ? He said that he thought it was not safe and he would be arranging for lights to be put on the gates.
I asked him if he thought that it was a good thing to make it more difficult and dangerous for bicycles to use Mitchells Pass ? He said there are signs up excluding ALL USE of Mitchell's Pass, and that the bicycles shouldn't be there at all.
I asked him why bicycles (and presumably pedestrians) shouldn't be using the road ? He said because it was dangerous because of the risk of rockfalls. He said that they have an engineers report saying that the risk of rockfall is high.
I asked him if he thought that the danger to cyclists on Mitchell's Pass from rockfall was higher than the danger to cyclists from trucks and cars on the Great Western Highway or Old Bathurst Rd ? He refused to comment beyond saying that it was dangerous for cyclists to use Mitchells Pass.
I pointed out to him that the council's actions in erecting the steel barrier on the steepest part of the hill was likely to make it MORE dangerous. He said that in his opinion the putting up of the present signage was sufficient exercising of the Council's duty of care.
I told him that it was disappointing that the Council was not more supportive of cycling as a means of commuting. He said safety was his priority, and that putting up the steel barriers was a reasonable alternative to putting up a six foot chainwire fence to keep everybody out.
I told him that I didn't think that the risk from rockfall was anything compared to the risk of getting run over by cars and trucks on the alternative routes down the mountains. He said that he was going to go by the engineer's reports.
It's pretty clear that his thinking is fairly inflexible on the subject. Basically he's taking the easy way out and hiding behind the no-doubt ultra-cautious and self-serving engineer's report. I'm absolutely confident, particularly in the light of his acknowledging the current popularity of the road for cyclists and pedestrians, and the things he said regarding the (non-) safety of the existing steel gates, that the Council would NOT be likely to have properly exercised their duty of care. I sincerely hope noone hits the gates. But if they do, the Council will certainly be liable for their deliberate actions in making the road more dangerous.
His bureaucratic, concrete and narrow thinking on the subject suggests to me that it would be better to try to obtain support from another source in the Council- perhaps the Councillors for the area. Does anyone else have and thoughts on the subject ?
Put a letter to the engineering department and to the Councillors- Its harder to ingnore/deflect letters and be persistant but dont be rude as that generally doesnt get you anywhere.
Have you ever heard such a load of bollocks? How could any motorist get around those concrete barriers at the bridge at the top of the hill? And I think you'd need a real Hummer to get around the barriers at the bottom of the hill. Aren't they amazing?
Certainly appreciate if you are able to keep up the case on behalf of we cyclists for whom Mitchells Pass is our preferred descent from lower Blue Mts.
FPR Jubilado Bludger
Also, a gate half way up isn't going to stop 4wds from getting past the lower barrier, and I can't see why someone would want to take a 4wd into that upper section anyway.
Trek 1.7 2009
Cell MTX-O 2010
Has anyone considered attending the Council meeting tomorrow night April 19 at 7:30 Katoomba to address the Councillors with the concern. The next Council meeting will not be until May 10 so it would be good to have someone bring it to the Councillors attention as soon as possible.
I have not yet been able to prepare a letter to Council regarding these gates but I am planning on. My planned content is discussed below.
My main concern is that the Council Endorsed Blue Mountains Bike Plan 2020 identifies Mitchels Pass as an appropriate on road link for cyclists between Blue Mountains and Penrith.
This link has been closed now since last year sometime and BMCC has made no effort to communicate alternative routes to Commuting cyclists. Since its closure cyclists have been using Mitchells Pass in both directions despite it being closed as it is considered safer then Lapo Hill and Old Bathurst Rd as identified by Council who did not mention these routes in their Bike Plan 2020. Links below.
http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/download.cfm ... 08ECF530AD
or find link on page
http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/yourcouncil/ ... strategies
State-wide strategies are continuing to encourage cycling as an alternative for of transport with NSW Bike Plan being launched last year ( http://www.nsw.gov.au/bikeplan ) and NSW government establishing The Premiers Council for Active Living which encourages active forms of transport ( http://www.pcal.nsw.gov.au/ ) The Metropolitan Plan for Sydney was released late last year which also encourages Cycling as an alternative form of transport http://metroplansydney.nsw.gov.au/Home.aspx
I think a few questions need to be asked of Blue Mountains Council.
- What effort has been made to facilitate cycling between Blue Mountains and Penrith during the closure of Mitchells Pass
- What effort has been made by Council to encourage Cycling as an alternative form of transport between BMCC and Penrith City Council in line with state wide strategies and Plans.
- How much was spent on the construction of multiple gates along Mitchells Pass as well as putting concrete barriers in place
- Why was this money not spent on re-opening the road in a faster manner as it sounds like a tender agreement will only be reached in August (almost a year after the road closure) with works to come after this for who knows how long.
Personally I think the closure has proven that Mitchells pass is not needed for cars and should become a dedicated cycling and pedestrian link with appropriate road treatment to ensure safety of those ascending and descending on bikes and walking.
Who can make the meeting tomorrow and is willing to ask some questions of the Council?
Is anyone able to attend the Council Meeting tomorrow night, April 19 at 730pm at Katoomba to bring the concerns to the attention of the Councillors?
I have some questions that I think should be asked regarding the decision of Council staff to install gates on Mitchells Pass especially when Council have adopted a cycling Plan that only identifies Mitchells Pass as a route between Blue Mountains and Penrith.
I have prepared a draft letter and will try and post the content on here when I get home this afternoon highlighting the councils inconsistencies with its own bike Plan and statewide strategies regarding cycling and active transport.
Going to the Council meeting seems to me to be an excellent idea. Unfortunately, I'll be en route to Brisbane from tomorrow afternoon, so I can't go. I'll be away for a week or so, and look forward to helping take the matter further when I get back.
I noticed this morning that someone has painted "Danger Warning-gates closed ahead" on the road up near the top gates. Maybe they think that eases their burden a bit. Pretty pathetic.
Does anyone know who the councillors are for the various sections of the City of the Blue Mtns ? Need to know who to write to. I guess the Council office will tell me. Might call tomorrow if not too busy at work.
re the council meeting, is there an open general business section? Either way, the more written correspondence they get the better. And if they don't have time to deal on the night, push for it to be followed up and reported on at a later meeting. A case of getting the slow wheels of council turning ...
I do not think the council provided the warnings, they would have taken much longer and wasted..sorry spent allot more money on a sign that is not as clearly visible as the paint, It looks like the work of a fellow Mountains cyclist.
Maybe we could try and email the councillors prior to tonights meeting so that it is on their radar as it sounds like no one can make the meeting.
I assume the Councillors will be cheking their emails this afternoon.
List of councillors
Warrimoo to Lapstone
[email protected] (Mayor)
ATTN: All BMCC Councillors
I request that at today's meeting 19 April 2011 one of you raise the recent installation of gates along Mitchells Pass as a matter of concern and for investigation.
A number of gates have been installed along the stretch of closed road including just prior to a sharp right hand bend corner approximately half way between Lennox Bridge and the intersection with Great Western Highway.
You may be aware that despite the road being closed due to rock falls many cyclists have been using Mitchells Pass as a safe route to travel from Blue Mountains LGA to Penrith LGA and beyond in both directions. For many the alternatives of Old Bathurst Road and Lapstone Hill both of which have minimal bicycle shoulder lane or none at all in parts are not considered suitable for cyclist use.
The Blue Mountains City Council Endorsed Blue Mountains Bike Plan 2020 identifies Mitchels Pass as an appropriate on road link for cyclists between Blue Mountains and Penrith. The Council endorsed plan does not identify any alternative routes between Blue Mountains and Penrith that are appropriate for Cycling.
Since the closure of Mitchells Pass I am not aware of any effort that has been made by BMCC to communicate alternative routes to Commuting cyclists.
I feel Blue Mountains Council should be taking a more active role in encouraging commuter cycling as an alternative mode of transport to keep in line with broader state wide strategies that have been adopted in recent times. I think ensuring appropriate inter council links are vital to promoting Commuter cycling.
State-wide strategies & initiatives that promote cycling as an alternative for of transport
- NSW Bike Plan, launched last year ( http://www.nsw.gov.au/bikeplan )
- NSW government established The Premiers Council for Active Living which encourages active forms of transport ( http://www.pcal.nsw.gov.au/ )
- The Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036 was released late last year which promotes implementation of the NSW bike Plan and encourages Cycling as an alternative form of transport http://metroplansydney.nsw.gov.au/Home.aspx
Questions for BMCC to Answer
I would appreciate if Blue Mountains City Council could respond to a number of questions.
1. What effort has been made to facilitate cycling between Blue Mountains and Penrith during the closure of Mitchells Pass
2. What effort has been made by Council to encourage Cycling as an alternative form of transport between BMCC and Penrith City Council in line with state wide strategies and Plans.
3. How much was spent on the construction of multiple gates along Mitchells Pass as well as putting concrete barriers in place
4. Why was some of this money not spent on re-opening the road in a faster manner according to council staff a tender agreement for required works will only be reached in August (almost a year after the road closure) with works to come after this for who knows how long.
The closure of Mitchells pass has proved that this route is not required for car travel. This situation provides an opportunity for a proactive council to take a significant stand and dedicate this route permanently for cyclists to use as a commuting and recreational route. Appropriate road treatments will need to be put in place to ensure the safety of those ascending and descending the road this need not be an expensive process as other examples have shown in the past. It may only require Permanent gates at the top and bottom that allow only bicycles to pass through and some white paint to mark a centre line.
I propose that the Blue Mountains Council present a motion to dedicate Mitchells Pass for use exculisively by cyclists and ensure its timely re-opening as it was, prior to being closed, the only appropriate cycling route between Blue Mountains and Penrith.
Benefits for BMCC
- Encourage active lifestyles, reduce strain on provision of health facilities
- Promote Alternative forms of transport- reduce emmisions in LGA
- Reduce strain on road repairs and maintenance Two-fold bikes will have lower impact on Mitchells pass then cars, and less cars travelling on other BMCC roads if cycling is promoted.
Hi guys, a bit of a newbie on here. This route is also my choice for commute to work in penrith. Im a mate of fehoon's and weve both been pretty pissed about this. Anyway, here's my letter to the BMCC.
Dear, Blue Mountains City Council â€“ To whom it may concern.
I am a resident of Mt Riverview, I'am also an amateur cyclist and of late have been riding my bike to Penrith where I work. Of the last few weeks I have been using Mitchell's Pass as my main route down to the plains as I feel it is the safest way to descend from the mountains.
I understand that the lower half of this road (Mitchell's pass) has been â€œclosed to the publicâ€ for some time now, I find this slightly amusing. firstly this part of the road is only closed to vehicular access and not pedestrian or cyclist use. Secondly I have also seen other people using this part of the road for activities such as walking, jogging, dog walking, road cycling and mountain biking. Since the â€œtemporaryâ€ closure of this historic mountains road In February 2010, â€œdue to the danger of falling rocksâ€ it would seem that nothing has been done to Improve safety, other than the installation of a Safety notice and K-rail barricades to prevent car and motorcycle access.
On my route to work on Tuesday 12.4.2011 I arrived at Lennox bridge, Mitchell's pass, jumped off my bike, said g'day to the other cyclist right behind me, went around the k-rail barrier, re-mounted my bicycle and proceed on with my descent to the plains. If you are familiar with this part of the road from the bridge on the road becomes steeper and bendy, now for the average cyclist this becomes a fast and fun descent â€“ today was no different. That is until leaving the esses for the usual firm brake into the sweeping right-hander. Normally when I leave the twistier parts of the pass Iam doing 70km/h, this time however I left the last blind corner to find nothing less than a locked gate across the road with perhaps 150 meters to stop. Stopping from 70km/h in less than 150 meters is not easy on a bicycle, it was just possible given the circumstances. After stopping to a halt and dismounting to go around the said gate, the other cyclist had caught up to myself and his comments were much the same as mine.
Below are my opinions of the issue regarding the locked gate located midway down Mitchell's Pass road.
1. Blue Mountains City Council must be aware of pedestrian and cyclist use of this road for both transit and recreational purposes since its closure in February 2010, Whilst I do understand that this section of road is â€œclosed to the publicâ€ it is still a public place by definition and is regularly in public use.
2. In relation to point 1. BMCC has recently installed a gate across the road right at the fastest point of the road, leaving a blind corner with no signposting what-so-ever. This is a major safety concern for cyclists.
3. Keeping points 1. and 2. in mind I feel that BMCC's installation of a gate in this section of road highly negligent considering the circumstances.
4. From cycling experience on off-road fire trails in the lower mountains even locked gates on quiet trails manage to muster a â€œlocked gate aheadâ€ sign, for the most part these trails are what I would consider low speed not high speed. However there is still some attempt at safety for trail users.
5. I am of the belief that BMCC has had reports stating that Mitchell's Pass is the only safe route down from the mountains for road cyclists.
From the above points I put to you a number of questions.
How is it a gate can be installed with no signposting on a section of road that is both high speed and with little open vision?
What would happen if a cyclist was to collide with an un-signposted gate?
Would the money spent on installation of said gates be not better spent on the repair of the â€œdanger of falling rocksâ€ since the road is being used anyway?
Will Mitchell's Pass road ever be re-opened to public use, be it vehicular or Cyclist/pedestrian use only?
What would be involved in reopening the road for either of the above uses?
I await your reply.
I just received an email from a councillor...
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