New South Wales Public Space Minister Rob Stokes wants to make the harbour city more bike friendly and has extended an olive branch to the City of Sydney.
The state government slashed its investment in cycling from $60 million to $30 million last year, with none of that set aside for bike riding infrastructure in the CBD.
But Mr Stokes is keen to do more and repair a fractured relationship with the council.
"I'm very keen to move forward – I see our mission should be a shared one," he said.
Mr Stoke's commitment has been welcomed by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, but she reminded him that the best way to do that would be to build bike lanes.
"We urgently need greater commitment from the NSW Government to fund and support the completion of our bike network, especially the NSW Government’s key regional bike routes, and provide approvals more quickly," Cr Moore said.
The funding cuts of 2018 wasn't the only bad news for bikes in Sydney, with other disappointing decisions also being made:
- A city-bound bike path planned for Paramatta Road was downgraded to part-time.
- A park planned for Lilyfield on the Westconnex route changed to a cycleway and then a freeway.
- Plans to rip up the popular Alexandria Canal Cycleway to make way for a motorway to the airport
The decisions caused Labor to accuse the former Roads Minister of running a "war on cyclists" during the election campaign.
As the Public Space Minister, Mr Stokes said he wanted to work with councils and the Transport Minister to use public space to promote bike riding.
“I'm very aware that Sydney is not a cycle-friendly city and much of that is the way in which the road network is shaped," he said.
"We need to use open space to promote alternatives like safe cycling and running and walking because there's a real public health benefit to this."
The tension between the City of Sydney and state government has been forged on the state’s reluctance to approve plans to link up cycleways in inner-city areas.
There is still no east-west cycleway across the CBD, and critical links including King, Castlereagh, Chalmers and Liverpool Streets are still without state funding or approval.
The state government's bike riding priorities currently include a planned cycleway from Bondi to the city centre along Moore Park Rd, while the City of Sydney continues to push for local connections between the CBD and inner-city areas such as Newtown, Redfern, Green Square, Glebe and Pyrmont.
Image: Jeff de Pasquale
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