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Bicycle NSW calls on cyclists to speak up over part-time bike lane

Simon Parker's picture
Cycling in Sydney. Cycle Traveller

The planned removal of Sydney's College Street cycleway won't go ahead until a six-month trial of a new part-time cycleway on Castleraegh Street has been properly evaluated, the state's peak cycling body has confirmed. However, skeptical of the outcome, Bicycle NSW is calling on cyclists to make their voices heard as part of their #cyclesways4people campaign.

The Castleraegh cycleway, which will operate on a part-time basis with certain times of the day allocated for loading-zone use only, has been the focus of concerns raised by Bicycle NSW. 

NSW Minister for Roads and Freight, Duncan Gay, told the organisation that, “until we get a solution [on Castleraegh Street] we won't move on College Street”.

The government had previously promised a permanent bike lane on Castlereagh Street and the removal of the recently built bike lane on College Street as part of its transport strategy for Sydney, developing a connected network in the city.

Bicycle NSW remains cautious, however, as the organisation remains unclear of how the cycleway trial will work.

"We are seeking to understand how north-bound cyclists can safely manoeuvre around parked vehicles when Castlereagh Street is south bound one-way," Bicycle NSW Communications Director Sophie Bartho said.

Other questions raised by Bicycle NSW include how the government will define an 'acceptable' safety risk, whether there will be a diversion route in place for cyclists during the trial, and whether the trial of the loading zones will also take place on the road itself.

Safety remained paramount to getting more cyclists onto Sydney's roads, the cycling body said, adding that cycleways and shared paths played a big part in achieving this goal.

The organisation pointed to figures that showed while the number of people riding in and around the City of Sydney has risen 132 per cent over the last four years to 60,098 – with the biggest growth occuring on streets with separated cycleways or shared paths – the number of injuries to cyclists has declined.

"With the state government setting a target to double the mode share of cycling trips in Sydney by 2016, why would they impose anything other than a safe strategy that will encourage people to ride and walk?” Ms Bartho said.

More broadly, the organisation is also calling on the government to confirm their commitment to completing the inner-city cycling network, as outlined in the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy.

“The state government must publically commit to completing the inner-city cycleway network by building Castlereagh, Park and Liverpool Street cycleways as per the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy and retain the popular College Street Cycleway until there is a safe, alternative, full time route and proof there are benefits from removing $4.9m of existing popular infrastructure," Ms Bartho said.

How to have your say

Bicycle NSW is urging people with similar concerns to contact the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and other relevant ministers, to let their thoughts be known.

The organisation is also asking cyclists to complete a survey on how cycling can be part of the WestConnex motorway project, which includes plans to revitalise one of the city's main thoroughfares, Parramatta Road.

The survey will be used to refine the draft strategy on Parramatta Road's development.

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