Karawatha Drive, between Golf Links Road and Prelude Drive/Lady Musgrave Drive is recognised as a Priority A Route in the Queensland Government’s Principal Cycle Network.
This rating is the highest priority allocated to provide valuable and safe active transport connections for people walking, riding and using micro-mobility (e-bikes, scooters, skateboards etc).
People riding bikes on Karawatha Drive currently share the road shoulder and traffic lanes with motor vehicles and share the footpath with people walking. Building a 1.6km separated cycle track will improve riding confidence and safety for all users, and provide an efficient travel route to nearby destinations such as schools, TAFE, businesses and Mooloolaba.
The project will create a low stress bike riding experience. Research* shows that a separated cycle track (with concrete between the lane and vehicle traffic) provides new and cautious cyclists with significantly more confidence (83%) when compared to a painted cycle lane (22%).
Sunshine Coast Council’s Corporate Plan for 2022-2026 outlines a ‘Strong Community’ goal which encourages a healthy and active community through planning and delivery of the transport network to support active transport modes (walking and cycling).
To align with the strategic priorities, Council’s Integrated Transport Strategy aims to increase the mode share of people cycling, especially on designated cycling routes.
In 2021 Council undertook initial consultation with residents to share the proposed concept designs.
In July 2022 Council asked our community for feedback on three separated cycle track design options to arrive at a preferred option.
Option 2 – retaining car parking received the most support (48%), followed by Option 1 – retaining vegetation (29%), and Option 3 – a compromise between parking and vegetation (23%).
The selected design* features:
- A new 2m wide cycle track adjacent to the footpath and physically separated from traffic lanes or parking bays by approximately 0.6m
- A 2.3m kerbside parking corridor, separated from the traffic lane by approximately 0.6m
- A 3.5m traffic lane
- A narrowed centre median
- All bus stops and bus shelters will remain in their current locations. The bus area will be within the kerbside parking corridor.
- Intersection improvements.
In selecting Option 2, our community expressed a strong desire to retain 100% of kerbside parking along Karawatha Drive. This option showed narrowing the existing traffic island, removing median parking, and initially removing most of the existing vegetation based on the reduced median width.
Approximately 40% of the existing vegetation will be retained in the first phase of construction. Revegetation works will then take place on the narrowed median before the cycle track is constructed.
The cycle track may be constructed in stages over several years, subject to funding.
*Note exact design widths will be determined during detailed design.
Where to from here
Option 2 is now progressing to detailed design.
Once detailed design is complete a construction tender will be released to identify a suitably qualified construction contractor to build the project.The construction stage will see the widening of the road, installation of the cycle track and further landscaping works.
As part of the project, extensive revegetation will take place. Construction activity will likely be staged to ensure the maximum available period of growth for newly planted vegetation.
Early construction works will involve removing required vegetation and replanting the median with native tree and plant species that range in size. The existing vegetation, combined with the newly planted trees and plants once established, will provide welcome shade for people walking and riding along Karawatha Drive and neighbouring pathways.
As part of this project, council will also seek additional local planting opportunities to increase fauna habitat near Mountain Creek Lake and Mountain Creek, away from traffic.
Council will continue to keep our community informed prior to, and during the construction process.