Cycling infrastructure – Sydney & Newcastle

I was pleased to receive in my inbox yesterday an email from Sydney Cycleways, citing a cycling uptake in recent years of astronomic proportions – an increase of “82% between March 2010 and March 2012 – in many locations numbers have doubled and some have tripled over this time”.  That is impressive indeed! Sydney has done this by committing to a real change in the way they accommodate their cyclists – establishing a cycleway network that is radical for an Australian city, with much separate infrastructure for cyclists.

And they are planning to expand their network, with a document up for public discussion on another separated cycleway to be built on Bourke Street.  Now this document makes for fairly dry reading with its references to LEPS, SEPPS and Acts as well as to local and State environmental planning policy. But the thing is that they are making progress and getting the desired results.

Newcastle City Council also wants more cyclists on the roads.  This is evident in, among other documents, their City Centre Plan. The problem with this document is that it lumps cyclists and pedestrians together, as if they will have the same needs and share the same paths. They don’t. Walking takes too long for many of the things for which cycling can be utilised, eg commuting or other transport.

The other key document that is part of the NCC cycling plan is the Draft Bike Plan 2009. This document also has some major flaws, namely, that it does not have an actual vision, it is simply a patchwork solution to tidy up the existing patchy infrastructure, largely with more bike picture car door death lanes The planned execution of the Strategy is contained in the last 13 pages and is a lengthy listing of tasks to be completed which will supposedly provide a cycleway network. 

Newcastle, unlike  Sydney, has a very well defined city centre, and even though it is no longer the primary business and retail centre, it contains the legal precinct, many businesses, parts of the university, local and state government offices, the art gallery and museum, cafes and restaurants and has had some wonderful artistic, retail and cultural life injected into it with Renew Newcastle. Yet, once you reach the central part of town, there are no defined bike track or lanes. It would be so easy to install a Bourke Street style bike lane along one side of Hunter Street to service the whole of the inner city, yet this is not even mooted in the bicycle infrastructure planning for Newcastle.

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4 Responses to Cycling infrastructure – Sydney & Newcastle

  1. petermc says:

    Yikes! – that last picture is a scary front-wheel-catching scenario.

  2. Vicki says:

    Yes, that is near Cardiff and I chose the footpath that day, that is also one steep hill!

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    Looks like what needs to happen to get some firm and smart results is to sack our mayor and employ Sydneys. They should change the title of Draft Bike Plan 2009 to Daft Bike Plan 2009 by they way they are going about things, it makes you wonder if they are just throwing cyclists crumbs to keep them quiet and make them think something will happen someday.

    • Vicki says:

      I agree with you on getting a mayor who is prepared to go out on a limb and move things along Wayne, it is the only way we will get some positive results here. Look at the flak that Clover has gotten for her changes in Sydney, but her changes have achieved the results they were after!

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