A large drop in motorist traffic in Sydney has created an opportunity to fix one of the many missing cycling links in the CBD.
A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that car traffic has fallen in the city as a result of light rail construction with approximately 8000-9000 fewer cars entering the city compared to 2015 numbers.
The reduction in traffic and altering of bus routes due to the new light rail has presented the City of Sydney with an opportunity to build a cycleway along Castlereagh Street between King and Liverpool that would help close a missing link in the bike network.
The City of Sydney is preparing a feasibility study to look at the viability of the cycleway, once the light rail is completed.
Going the wrong way
Unfortunately, commuting via bicycle in Sydney has had taken several steps backward over recent years. In 2015, the NSW government ripped up the popular and crucial College St cycleway which sparked protest by the cycling community.
To date, it remains the first time a state government has built and then dismantled a separated bicycle lane.
While the Castlereagh and Liverpool cycleways were fast tracked to compensate, they were never completed, and the rest of the Castlereagh cycleway was put on hold until the completion of the new light rail, and now it is being considered by council.
College Street is still used by over 2,000 riders each weekday morning.
Tragically, as a result of the removal of the cycleway riders are now three times more likely to be involved in a crash. Bicycle Network strongly recommends separated bicycle lanes as the gold standard for rider safety.
Getting the city moving again
While there have been setbacks by the state government, the City of Sydney has been proactive in building places for people to ride.
Alongside the extension of the Castlereagh cycleway, the council has been developing options to continue the cycleway along King and Pitt Streets which would close a major missing link in the cities network and allow riders a safe protected way into Circular Quay.
This cycleway along King Street is an ongoing Bicycle Network campaign.
This follows a recent announcement by the city and state government of four new bike paths that will further complete the Sydney cycleway network.
The reduction in car traffic as a result of more Sydneysiders coming into the city via public transport and bicycle is a welcome change. We know our major cities are congested and there needs to be alternatives in how we commute.
We also know that riders of all ages, genders and backgrounds feel more comfortable riding when there is separated bicycle infrastructure.
The investment in public transport should be mirrored by building more safe places for people to ride and completing the cycleway network is a step in the right direction.
Read the city’s cycling strategy here
See the plans for the four new paths and give your say here