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Sydney's new Kent Street bike lane tipped to boost commutes

Alia Parker's picture
Artist's impression of the extended Kent Street Cycleway in Sydney. Cycle Traveller

It has been three years since it opened, but Sydney's Kent Street cycleway is finally set to be completed with construction to link the Harbour Bridge with Chinatown to begin this week, the city's Lord Mayor Clover Moore confirmed today.

David Borella, president of  BIKESydney, welcomed the move saying the extension of the two-way separated bike lane was key for developing a safe and connected bike network in the city.

“Completing the southern end of the Kent Street cycleway in particular will result in a significant increase in bike commuting trips into and through the city centre,” he said.

Cr Moore said an average of 2,000 trips are made each weekday on the existing section of the Kent Street cycleway, which runs from Gas Lane to Druitt Street.

However, while the existing lane is popular among cyclists, its full potential has not yet been realised due to its limited connectivity. This is set to change with the extension of the lane to Liverpool Street providing a crucial link for cyclists to cross the city safely. The lane is expected to be open by mid-2014.

“The completion of this connection will improve safety and traffic flow, and align well with future plans for light rail, better pedestrian movement, bus improvements and other transport changes in inner Sydney,” the Lord Mayor said in a statement.

The original plans for the Kent Street cycleway always intended for the lane to stretch right along the street, however, opposition and planning reviews put the future of the lane in doubt. Parents at the adjoining St Andrews Cathedral School had raised concerns about the bike lane's impact on its drop-off zone and the Liberal State Government was not convinced that it was the best available option for running a bike lane. However, after careful consideration, the State Government announced in its City Centre Access Strategy in September that the lane would be completed as part of a wider connected bicycle lane plan for Sydney.

Dr John Collier, Head of School at St Andrews, said the school had been extensively consulted by the Council and had worked cooperatively with them on the project.

“The new cycleway will pass immediately in front of the school’s entrance,” he said. “St Andrew’s Cathedral School is very pleased the school’s student drop-zone will be preserved, thus maximising safety for children.”

The Lord Mayor said the City's work would be a major contributor to helping the NSW Government meet its target of doubling local and district bicycle trips by 2016.

“We’ve already doubled bike trips in the city centre in just three years and we know those numbers will keep climbing as cycleway connections are completed, providing safe and convenient routes across the city,” she said.

Image: Artist's impression of the section of the extended Kent Street cycleway in front of the St Andrews Cathedral School.

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