Earlier this month we exposed NSW government plans for George Street ban for bike riders once the light rail project is completed.
With trams added to the street, bikes will be banned – the only mode of transport to be excluded.
Sydney bike riders, such as Saul, have been waiting patiently during construction of the tram route in the expectation that their future journeys will be easier.
“I have been looking forward to the opening of the light rail line in anticipation of riding the tram but also to being able to ride down George Street more comfortably,” Saul told Bicycle Network.
So news that bike riders face a George Street ban has come as a bitter surprise.
“George Street is the city's natural north-south corridor and the most logical and direct route from Central to Circular Quay,” argues Saul. “As you point out, similar streets in cities all around the world, including Swanson Street in Melbourne, are able to combine light rail and bikes without any problems -- why should George Street be any different?”
“I strongly oppose any moves to ban bikes on George Street,” Saul continues. “The proposal is heavy-handed and runs contrary to the NSW government's stated policies and to international best practice.”
The George Street ban will not stand – help us build the case
Bicycle Network will not allow this ban to stand.
And we need your help to fight it and overturn it.
We need to hear from as many people as possible who will benefit from continued access to George Street.
If you work there, shop there, live there, or visit or travel through for any purpose let us know your story.
Contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you will be impacted.
We want to make the strongest case possible about why the George Street ban, and the other streets where bans will be in place, stand at odds with an easily bike-accessible Sydney.
Saul is one of many respondents to our call out. Read on below for more experiences of Sydney bike riders and their arguments against the George Street ban. (Responses have been edited for length to be included here.)
We think there are many more Sydney riders who have something to say about this.
Eden: “I work on the corner of George & King streets. I commute from Freshwater regularly and due to the current closure of George st, I have to ride 3 blocks east (in the wrong direction) to get round to the Harbour bridge. None of the roads I have to take on this loop have bike lanes or are particularly bike friendly. This would obviously continue to be the case if the George st. bike ban is implemented.
It seems such a shame that the State Government are passing up this chance to make Sydney a more cycle friendly city, especially seeing how far we are lagging behind other cities in this regard.
Thanks for campaigning on our behalf!”
Robert: “For shopping around Town Hall, to get to Circular Quay, The Rocks & the MCA, there is no other more direct route available.”
Yvonne: “There a lot of big businesses who have offices around George St, investing in end of trip facilities to attract talent. Eg. Atlassian”
Yasmin: “My commute brings me via Pyrmont and the King St cycleway, so I am pretty lucky in that I do have cycleways most of the way. I always have my bike with me at the office, but when travelling around the CBD (eg. to client meetings, shopping, out to lunch), I rarely take the bike. The cycleways are (just about) sufficient to get me TO the city, but for getting around within the city, they're next to useless.
If George St was a designated cyclepath, that's 3km of cycleway added to the CBD in a single hit! I think that's probably about double the cycleway that currently exists. With the rise of bikeshare services in the city this year, more and more people are wanting to ride, but not having anywhere safe to do it. I urge the government to rethink their decision in the name of public health and happiness (not to mention future polution and congestion dollars).”
Michael: “I don't own a car. I get around by bicycle. I've found that it's the easiest way to get around this great city. However, trying to find a safe route through the CBD is difficult. I frequently ride from central park, through the goods line and up through Haymarket. Riding along George St through Haymarket is a logical way to link cycle paths. Currently I'm navigating road works and traffic and it's a nightmare. But there is no other way.
The reasoning the government has given for not allowing cyclists on George st is hypocritical. They are concerned about safety of cyclists along tramways, yet as Bicycle Network has pointed out, cycling is legal along tramways.
The state government should not be punishing vulnerable road users for choosing the safest option.”
Alistair: “I'm a city of Sydney resident that does not own a car. I cycle everywhere. Any trip from my home in Chippendale into Sydney is almost always by bike.
The temporary closures of George Street for construction have been frustrating. A permanent ban would be a disaster. George Street is the best route for a cyclist. It has the least steep hills making for easy cycling.”
Simon: “Given that cycling is the perfect solution to "last mile deliveries", shutting George St access to bikes is particularly counter intuitive. Bikes and trams coexist in Melbourne all the time with little to no problems so I can't see why it would be a problem here.”
Laurence: “I used to use George St until the mess caused by the light rail, I was looking forwards to getting the road back for Bikes
Open George St to cyclists, I can handle the light rail and the tracks.”
Saul: “I have been looking forward to the opening of the light rail line in anticipation of riding the tram but, yes, also to being able to ride down George Street more comfortably.
As someone who works in the city, rides to and from work every day and regularly rides through the city to after-work events and to do errands during the week and on weekends, the Kent Street cycleway and recently completed Casteleigh Street cycleway have made things a lot safer and more pleasant. That said, Kent Street is quite a long way from things on the eastern side of the city and it would be extremely useful to have the option of using other north-south corridors.
George Street is the city's natural north-south corridor and the most logical and direct route from Central to Circular Quay. As you point out, similar streets in cities all around the world, including Swanson Street in Melbourne, are able to combine light rail and bikes without any problems -- why should George Street be any different?
I strongly oppose any moves to ban bikes on George Street. The proposal is heavy-handed and runs contrary to the NSW Government's stated policies and to internat