The Swanson Street bridge bike lane, which connects two popular Sydney cycleways, has been flagged for removal following a recent decision by Transport for NSW.
The protected bike lane in Erskineville offers a safe passage between the Wilson St/Burren St Cycleway to the Bridge St and Railway Pde/Henderson Rd Cycleways, which together provide thousands of active travelers with a thoroughfare to major local destinations.
Transport for NSW has requested the City of Sydney to remove the protected bike lane and replace it with a left-turn lane from Swanson Street into Railway Parade.
A spokesperson from the City of Sydney told Bicycle Network that “when the pop-up cycleway was installed on Railway Parade and Henderson Road, the northbound traffic lane on Railway Parade was removed. This meant the left turn lane on Swanson Street eastbound was no longer needed for traffic and was able to be used as a pop-up bike lane."
"Given Swanson Street is a state road, Transport for NSW requires that the left turn lane on Swanson Street is also reinstated to avoid a left turning car holding up through traffic."
Bicycle Network reached out to Transport for NSW for further comment on the decision, but unfortunately we have not yet received a response.
Urban development researcher Dr Christopher Standen of UNSW says the bike lane removal is not advisable. “While adding a left turn lane may marginally increase the level of service... it will cause induced demand [and] encourage through-traffic to use this local street instead of major arterial roads.”
Dr Standen says the bike lane removal will also make riding a bike for transport “significantly less attractive”.
Bicycle NSW told us that the removal of the bike lane is "a bad decision out of alignment with TfNSW's own excellent movement and place framework and supporting policies".
Both Bicycle NSW and Friends of Erskineville Group have written to the Minister for Active Transport Rob Stokes, arguing that the justification for a left turn lane is "based on an outdated and debunked traffic engineering approach, and does not reflect the community’s desire for less traffic". The group have argued for the space to be upgraded to a protected, bidirectional bicycle path.
The City of Sydney told Bicycle Network it “agrees that there needs to be some provision for safe access for people riding across the bridge on Swanson Street, between Bridge and Burren Streets”.
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