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State Government’s celebrated transport strategy at risk

The State Government is set to demolish $4.9m worth of successful transport infrastructure, and the people of Sydney are questioning how does this jeopardise the ultimate delivery of the integrated transport solution that was promised.

Hundreds of concerned people gathered in Hyde Park on Sunday 8 February to show their concern and defend the popular and effective College Street cycleway which is destined for removal.

Rob Berry, a concerned resident, single-handedly instigated the rally, and in less than a week engaged hundreds of concerned business owners, residents and CBD workers to demonstrate their concerns.

“The College Street Cycleway is one of the most utilised sections of separated cycleway in Sydney and its popularity continues to grow. It is supporting the 132% growth in commuting cycling. Separated cycleways have halved the reported rate of injuries on such sections of road, and in the case of College Street this has been achieved without negative impact on the traffic flow.

“Despite the State Government’s data recognising these positive outcomes, they intend removing this piece of infrastructure with little to no transparency or consultation,” says Rob Berry, community rally coordinator.

The State Government promised to deliver an alternative full time cycleway along Castlereagh Street. However in November 2014 it was announced, without consultation, that the Castlereagh Street cycleway would be seriously compromised with part time loading zones closing the route.

Bicycle NSW is calling on the State Government to commit to completing the cycleway network through the city centre by building Castlereagh, Park and Liverpool Street Cycleways and retaining the popular College Street Cycleway until a safe, alternative, full time route is in place and there is proof of any potential benefits from removing $4.9m of existing infrastructure.

Despite months of communications including meeting with the Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian, both Ministers’ are unable to explain the justification for these loading zones and what alternative solutions were considered.

Minister Gay had said in December, “Until we get a solution we won’t move on College Street”, however it has now been confirmed that the College Street cycleway will be removed before the completion of the Castlereagh Street cycleway and prior to a transparent trial of the part time loading zones.

Sophie Bartho, Bicycle NSW Communications Director said: “These are cycleways for people, to create mobility for a productive and economically strong global city for the future. We fully supported and celebrated the Ministers’ Sydney City Centre Access Strategy however with serious compromises to the plan so early in its delivery, we question the Governments commitment to delivering their original Strategy.”

Professor Chris Rissel from the University of Sydney, co-author of the national report ‘Getting Australia Moving – barriers, facilitators and interventions to get more Australians physically active through cycling’ is critical of this move and its inability to adequately cater for commuter cycling.

“It is essential that the Ministers deliver the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy. This strategy recognises the need for and importance of an integrated transport solution, including active transport such as cycling.

“To remove existing cycling infrastructure without alternatives, and then change the plan and impose potentially unsafe loading zones on the cycleway which effectively close the cycleway to the equally important ‘outside peak time traffic’, does not serve the mobility needs of the people who use and love Sydney, nor the health priorities of the employers across Sydney,” said Professor Chris Rissel.

Find our more about Bicycle NSW’s campaign for Sydney Cycleways at http://bicyclensw.org.au/advocacy/campaigns/campaign-sydney-cycleways/
Write to the Premier and Ministers, and your local Members highlighting the benefits and demand answers to your questions.
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