The phantom clearway


Since I moved to Ashfield last year I have a new way to work. It joins up with part of what I used to call my scenic route. If you live in Sydney, you should be able to work out that the picture above is taken on the western approach to the ANZAC bridge – the one that features in the header to this blog.


Off on the left, at a lower level, is the remains of an older road. I can’t quite work out what road it is. It seems too high to be the road onto the old Glebe Island Bridge, the swing bridge which remains permanently open (despite cyclists pleas to have it reinstated). Is it an earlier approach to the ANZAC Bridge itself? This seems unlikely.


The route over ANZAC bridge is a main road in cycling terms compared to my old ride through Glebe. If I go at the busiest time I can find myself one of 5 or 6 bikes at the intersection of Balmain and Lilyfield Roads, and there are commonly 10-12 bikes waiting to negotiate the nightmare traffic lights just to the west of Pyrmont Bridge. The street-view picture at that link, incidentally, predates the bike path and understates the nightmare, which arises from the delay imposed on pedestrians and bicycles alike: the traffic lights act as though this is a four way intersection but in truth Pyrmont Bridge is the under-recognized (because it does not carry cars) fifth way. The temptation to cyclists to cross unlawfully makes it worth the police’s while to patrol about once every three months, when they do a roaring trade.

The standard of rider is also a bit fitter – probably because some of them are going a lot further. I am regularly overtaken, especially going uphill.

Even so, this route is nothing like as busy as Anzac Parade as it goes through Moore Park. I found stepping off a bus there in the early evening recently on my way to the Mardi Gras film festival at Fox Studios quite a terrifying experience. For once the tables were turned and I was the startled pedestrian.

Since then I’ve taken to ringing my bell for the benefit of pedestrians on shared paths quite a bit more, despite the indignant response this sometimes elicits.

2 Responses to “The phantom clearway”

  1. Andrew Says:

    The bridge could be permanently closed without interfering with water craft? It should done.

    I like bike bells that make a single ding or click. It sounds more like just an alert rather than a ringing bell saying, get out of my way.

    • marcellous Says:


      Unfortunately, the bridge could not be permanently closed without interfering with quite a lot of watercraft. These include boats associated with the Fish Markets, a projected Marina in Blackwattle Bay, a possible though unlikely successor to MV Claudia I (which used to deliver concrete but which has now been scrapped – how many more trucks on the road must that make for?) and all sorts of boats or ships coming in and out of Rozelle Bay.

      So that’s the problem.

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