Sydney’s mayor says that the critics are wrong on cycle lanes

An article this week in the Sydney Morning Herald summarises a lecture delivered by the Lord Mayor at the University of NSW on Wednesday April 6th about the city’s cycle lanes, currently in construction along several key corridors to and through the CBD. She argues that NSW has been held back due to little interest in long-term planning, vision or investment in our future, resulting in a backlog of vital infrastructure needed for Sydney’s effective functioning and competitiveness.

“In the CBD there are nearly 100,000 car trips and 6,000 bus movements each weekday. Cheap, reliable public transport frees up limited road space for people who need to drive. To stop Sydney grinding to a halt, we need investment in light rail, heavy rail, cycling and walking.

It is important to give people who live close to the city options for shorter trips, and that is why the city is building a 200-kilometre cycleway network.

Critics say our cycleways are the cause of the congestion – even though they are being built without the removal of any lanes of traffic, even though bikes have outsold cars for the past decade and even though 85 per cent of people told us they would start riding if we built separated cycleways.

We continue to press the Federal Government for funds to create an inner-city regional cycle network, covering 15 inner local government areas. Independent research shows it would deliver at least $506 million in net economic benefits over 30 years – roughly equivalent to a $4 return on every dollar spent. If we achieve our 10 per cent cycling target (presently just 1 per cent of trips are by bike), the network could reduce traffic by 4.3 million car trips a year.

The work we did for Sustainable Sydney 2030 was thorough and founded on the best advice available from local and international experts. Sydney needs not just the imagination to envision the kind of city we want, but also the continued innovation to develop the projects to achieve it, and the political will to put those plans into action.”

Ms Moore compares the current reluctance to act to the response raised back in 1969 when the late George Clerk proposed the creation of Martin Place. At the time, critics said that this would make traffic and commerce and the business of the city impossible!

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