Parramatta Valley Cycleway

Design Features
Type of Project
Local Government Initiative
New South Wales

In the 1990’s, Parramatta Council initiated a project to provide a shared path along the length of the Parramatta River, at the centre of the Parramatta CBD and the local government area. With the support of State and Federal Government agencies, over the last decade the project has delivered the shared vision of a dedicated pathway along the rivers foreshore. In 2017, the final link of the Parramatta Valley Cycleway (PVC) was completed, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to travel on a separated path for nearly 20 kilometres along the river foreshore, connecting Parramatta Park to Sydney Olympic Park.

Supporting sustainable transport 

Transport, congestion and mobility have been identified as major concerns in the Parramatta community. Council is committed to alleviating these issues, through the provision of infrastructure to support sustainable transport options such as walking and cycling. This strategy aims to help overcome the region’s geographic dispersion, while improving health, increasing equity through low cost travel options, and reducing congestion, heat and carbon emissions from car exhausts. The PVC represented an important shift in the community’s and local government’s perception of the river, and the active transport and recreational opportunities it can provide. 

The shared path has existed since the early 1990’s and was originally developed and promoted by the Road Transport Authority in 1991 as “Sydney’s premier cycleway along the historic Parramatta River, providing a challenging, diverse and safe route for cyclists of all ages.”

Cyclists enjoy the flat terrain and smooth pathways of the PVC.
Cyclists enjoy the flat terrain and smooth pathways of the PVC.

In the mid-1990’s, the then Department of Urban Affairs and Planning (DUAP), in partnership with local Councils developed the Parramatta River Foreshores Improvement Program (PRFIP). PRFIP is responsible for the development and management of the river foreshore, including shared pedestrian/cycling paths, with the primary goal of protecting the ecological, visual and recreational values of the river and maintaining a sense of place in the area.

A family stroll along the PVC through the Baludarri Wetlands. Photo Credit: Mark Bowyer.
A family stroll along the PVC through the Baludarri Wetlands. Photo Credit: Mark Bowyer.

The City of Parramatta made a commitment to the completion of the PVC, and re-connecting with the river, through the development of the 1995 Parramatta River Foreshores Improvement Project. The Project team reviewed the proposed treatments, land ownership patterns and preliminary cost implications. Subsequently, Council devised a timeline for the proposed Foreshore redevelopment projects, segmenting the major works into a series of staged projects which are still ongoing.

The project was delivered through a combination of both internal and external funding applications. Quick-win projects were generally delivered through Council’s capital works projects, while more difficult sections were delivered through funding applications to State Government agencies.

In the last five years, significant linkages have been completed.  Residents and visitors can now walk and cycle away from traffic for almost 20 kilometres on a path network between Parramatta Park and Sydney Olympic Park via Parramatta CBD and the Western Sydney University campus in Rydalmere.

Features of the project include:

  • 13 kilometres of dedicated riverside shared paths, measuring 3 metres wide
  • 1.5 kilometres of elevated boardwalks through intertidal and ecologically sensitive zones
  • 12 bridge crossings, including three new pedestrian and cycle focused crossings across the Parramatta River
  • 6 new water access and viewing points
  • 5 new playgrounds and fitness stations

A key learning from the project was the need to provide separated cycle and pedestrian access. With the steadily increasing number of users as well as future increases in residential development along the river, conflict and concerns have arisen, which required the retro-fitting of a separated pedestrian pathway to the corridor. Understanding the needs of the users is a critical factor in ensuring that projects maintain long-term viability and comfort for all users.

Project team

  • City of Parramatta
  • Department of Planning
  • Transport for NSW
  • NSW Roads and Maritime

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