As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia gears up to take place at Carriageworks this April, we strap on our most fashionable pumps and take to the runway (i.e. our local footpaths) to find out which sidewalks are the most dangerous for the high heel-wearing fashionistas of the Inner West…
Parramatta Road ★
Aside from the ancient cobblestone footpaths in the Rocks (which strikes fear in the hearts of heeled partygoers every weekend as they enter the Argyle), Parramatta Road is probably the worst place for stiletto-clad ladies to travel by foot. From Stanmore to Burwood, you’re likely to trip over any number of cracks, potholes or crumbling bitumen and encounter a messy worksite or two along the footpath. Parramatta Road is more like an obstacle course than a clear path so don’t even think of running for a bus – you’ll risk serious injury and maybe even lose a shoe. Steel-capped boots recommended.
Burwood Road ★★★
Burwood Road actually has one of the better footpaths in the area; it’s generally flat with no steep inclines and is fairly smooth until you hit the Wilga Street intersection going towards Parramatta Road (but then Parramatta Road is where everything declines isn’t it?). There are some crumbly bits alongside Burwood Park but I managed to take a stroll unscathed, moving at a decent pace.
Montague Street ★★
The side streets that turn off Darling Street, Balmain seem to decline so steeply away from the main strip that they threaten to send you sliding on your backside and Montague Street is one of the worst. On more than one occasion I’ve been caught out doing the backwards-leaning balancing act on my way down to the Exchange Hotel from Town Hall (yes, a beer or two may have been involved but I blame the steep descent of the footpath!). While in this vicinity I should mention that Clayton Street and a couple of spots on Curtis Road are rather bumpy, with tree roots breaking up the footpath and creating hazards – yet I hear council are planning on planting more trees on these narrow footpaths! It makes no sense.
Petersham backstreets ★
It should be a rule of thumb to proceed with caution on any laneways in the Inner West, but particularly in Petersham where thoroughfares such as Queen Street, Petersham Lane and Elswick Street are strewn with glass from broken bottles, huge cracks, lifted bits of cement and garbage bins that block the entire width of the footpath. High heels should be avoided but if you must wear them, go for a wedge or close-toe shoe to protect your pedicure.