Hawthorne – missing link footpath

footpath

There is a proposal to construct a ‘missing link’ footpath in Hawthorne Avenue.

Some years ago, Council prepared a plan for streets without footpaths. For decades, Council policy has been to provide a footpath at least on one side of a street in quieter areas.

Requests for footpaths come from mothers with prams, walkers and the elderly.

When a path is proposed, all residents should be notified of the plan.

If a significant number of people object, the path might not get built.

Reasons for objection typically include destroying the ‘green’ nature of the street; cost of the footpath (which is not insignificant) and lack of demand.

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3 thoughts on “Hawthorne – missing link footpath

  1. I am writing to oppose the footpath proposed by the Council on the following grounds:

    Having lived in this ‘Avenue’ for over 30 years I have yet to see any evidence that pedestrians need, or want, a dedicated footpath when they enjoy walking in groups in the middle of the road. The main time that pedestrians walk along this street is in the early morning or late afternoon with their dogs or families to enjoy the green relaxed atmosphere away from city high rise and it is not unusual to see children playing games in the street.

    The path is set to cost an extraordinary amount – which is an unnecessary cost to the ratepayer – especially when Council wants to increase our rates due to lack of funds. The cost of maintenance and insurance risks (due to tree root obstruction breaking up the footpath) will be an ongoing cost to the Council (and ratepayer) for years to come.

    After looking at the proposal, the idea of cutting through a huge natural sandstone rock outcrop in order to forge a footpath or “battering” part of the street will be other sacrifices of the street losing its aesthetic appeal and uniqueness, while adding to the cost to the ratepayers.

    Obviously, trees are to be removed. It should be important for Council to recognize that residents prefer to live in a green, wooded environment as a refuge away from the concrete high rises of Chatswood. It is the reason people are attracted to live in this street.

    On a personal level, as our house and garden is on a corner, we have planted several trees and bushes on the nature strip along our boundary to provide privacy to our house and garden. Council’s map of tree removal is very vague and open to misinterpretation. We would like Council to clarify exactly how this path will actually impact on the trees in our street.

    We note in Council’s Asset Management plan that “Council has a broad understanding of community expectations based on experience”. I assume that this “broad understanding” is purely one of “one size fits all”. Contrary to Council’s letter of 6 December 2013, there is no “community expectation” in that Council should provide this so called “asset”. Depending on the location within the Willoughby area, different responses would have emerged. Building footpaths closer to the Chatswood centre or in high traffic/density areas would make sense but there is no logic in destroying our natural environment in order to satisfy costly beaurocratic plans. We already have recently “no parking” on one side of the whole street because one resident requested it. When will we be told of the proposed cycle lane?

    In conclusion, we request Council to abandon this expensive and unnecessary expense.

  2. If the footpath is to improve pedestrian safety, I don’t believe it will be successful. Given the quiet nature of the street and the size of groups walking, the footpath will be under-utilised. As pedestrians will still prefer using the road. An alternative measure would be to introduce traffic calming and speed reduction solutions for hawthorne – chicanes, speed bumps etc

  3. TO COUNCIL:

    You point out that Council has a “Master Plan” which identifies and prioritises footpath construction in areas where they are deemed most needed and that based on Council’s assessment, Hawthorne Avenue is identified as a high priority location.

    Council lists the criteria used to assess these high priority locations as:

    Locations close to business districts
    Shopping centres
    Schools
    Bike paths
    Nursing homes
    Connectivity to open spaces
    Various places of interest

    Hawthorne Avenue does not fall into any of the above criteria and therefore fails to meet Council’s own requirements within this “Master Plan”.

    However, you say that consideration to construct a footpath in Hawthorne Avenue is to provide a pedestrian link to the bus stop and that Council could be held liable should pedestrians be injured while walking on the road.

    If Council had done a realistic assessment of the Street it would have revealed that:

    The only bus stop situated near Hawthorne Avenue services the 256 bus timetable, which is not a normal regular bus service. It runs half hourly in morning from 7 to 10am then a four hour break in service before resuming again with an hourly service from 4pm and finishing at 6.05pm.

    The number of people who get off and on the bus would amount to a handful a day as the regular bus service runs along Fullers Road. Council will more likely be liable for injury caused by tree roots breaking up the footpath.

    In conclusion, Council seems determined to ruin the aesthetics home-owners value by cutting through large sandstone rocks and removing trees. It appears to ignore that people like to walk on this Street and it is also unfair not to include all residents to have a say about this proposal. It will affect them equally. Council is giving the impression “it knows what is best for the residents” when in reality it has no idea how residents feel or want and is determined to bulldoze this “master plan’ through.

    When Council is financially in trouble with more pressing projects to take care of perhaps it would be practical to abandon projects which are costly and unpopular.

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