NSW Government backpedal on promised pop-up lanes

Transport for NSW has confirmed that it has scrapped plans for three pop-up cycleways due to them being ‘not suitable’.

Following a 'detailed' investigation, Transport for NSW has stated that previously announced pop up cycleways along Todman Avenue Kensington, Thomas Street Parramatta and Pacific Highway North Sydney are no longer suitable.

The planned cycleways were intended to give people a safe alternative to catching public transport or driving during the pandemic and would have filled key gaps in the network, connecting to universities and other key cycleways.

Specific details on each cycleway is below:

  • Pacific Highway, North Sydney: this cycleway was planned to run along the Pacific Highway from the corner of Middlemiss and Arthur Streets, North Sydney to West Street, North Sydney. The one kilometre route would have connected the Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway to suburbs in Sydney's north. 
  • Thomas Street, Parramatta: starting at the Elizabeth Street footbridge and continuing along Elizabeth Street and Thomas Street to the Parramatta Valley cycleway, near its intersection with James Ruse Drive, the cycleway was to be about 1,400 metres long. It would have provided a safe route for exercise and access to local amenities and help link the Western Sydney University with the Parramatta CBD
  • Todman Avenue, Randwick: the work planned for Todman Avenue would have upgraded the existing on-street cycleway to improve cyclists' safety. The Todman Avenue cycleway connects the existing cycleway on O'Dea Avenue, Waterloo with the cycleway on Doncaster Avenue, Kensington and links Waterloo with the University of NSW and Royal Randwick Racecourse.

According to the Transport for NSW website which was updated on 22 December, the reason for the decision took into consideration a range of factors such as traffic volumes returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, design limitations of light weight and low cost infrastructure, community impacts and safety.

The government has already delivered six pop up cycleways improving access across the Sydney CBD.  

With congestion, overcrowding on public transport and risk of COVID remaining an ongoing issue in NSW, it’s disappointing to see bike lane plans scrapped with no alternative proposal to reduce the risk for people who ride.

We hope it’s not a sign of things to come given the government’s previous, country-leading enthusiasm for making it easier for people to ride to the CBD.

As part of last month's budget announcement, the NSW Government committed to invest around $710 million into walking and bike riding infrastructure over the next four years, bringing its total investment to around $1.1 billion – the largest commitment in the State's history. However, specific details are scant and hidden deep within budget papers. Bicycle Network has followed up with Minister Constance and will provide an update when we hear back. 

Read more - NSW Government to invest $710m in walking and cycling

Bicycle Network is encouraging its members to reach out to their local MPs to voice their continued support of pop up cycleways and the need for critical safety improvements to these key connections.