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15 September 2010: City of Sydney Update

The City of Sydney’s (CoS) Traffic Committee today unanimously approved the proposal to introduce peak hour clearways [“No Stopping” zones] on several of the city’s main roads.

The details of the proposal – including a map – can be viewed here. [Note that the map’s highlighting of the affected area of Park St is incorrect. Item J indicates that the Park St No Stopping zone will apply only between Pitt and George (not Elizabeth and George).]

Notably, Kent St (on which a bi-directional cycleway is under construction) is unaffected by this proposal.

These clearways are aimed at vastly improving the flow of peak hour bus movements (peak volumes are approx 360 buses/hour) through the city, but around Wynyard and over the Bridge in particular. The essential mechanism used to achieve this was the removal of the existing “No Parking” provisions. The City was finding that despite the “No Parking” instructions, morning peak hour flows were being obstructed by illegally parked cars. Under the “No Parking” provision, Council had the right to fine, but not remove the vehicles; clearways [“No Stopping’ zones] will give the City the right to immediately tow the vehicle. (Tellingly, no vehicle parking was harmed in this manoeuvre.)

The Traffic Committee received representations from both Terry Lee-Williams (CoS Manager Transport Strategy) and Kate Foy (TransportNSW’s Director Metropolitan Strategy). Interestingly, the motion was carried by the Committee unanimously and without a peep from anyone. I took this as a sign of genuine intent to collaborate on the principles of the recently-announced Keneally/Clover Moore Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

(Background: The Traffic Committee is actually a committee of the RTA, and not The City. Council has been delegated certain powers from the RTA in relation to matters on local roads. A condition of this delegation is that Council must take into the advice of the Traffic Committee. The Committee comprises voting members (The City, RTA, NSW Police, local State Members) and several non-voting advisors (eg, SHFA, BIKESydney/BNSW, STA, TWU).

Terry Lee-Williams advised that this is the first tranche of amendments to the City’s traffic management in pursuit of affecting the MoU. Other measures will be presented to the Traffic Committee “in the coming months”.

In relation to the roll out of 40km/h speed limits across the City of Sydney area, this is something that will most likely be approved on a per-precinct (think at the scale of two adjacent suburbs, eg, Newtown and Erskineville) basis, and would likely take several years to complete for the entire City area, although large swathes of streets might be speed-reduced in a short space of time. Just to be clear, it’s not likely something that would come into effect across the entire City network instantaneously.

That said, there will be quick gains in many areas on the back of the PCTC (Pedestrian, Cycling and Traffic Calming) Plans currently being implemented. The City appears genuine in wanting to achieve a road 40km/h network (excluding the main arterials controlled by the RTA). The most likely way this will manifest is as a progressive “spread” from the CBD area. The speed of the roll out will be most informed by how quickly the City (through the Traffic Committee) can gain RTA approval for whatever traffic engineering schemes (road narrowings, speed humps, kerb build outs…) it proposes in order to suitably present streets/roads as amenable to being speed-reduced.

5 September 2010: City of Sydney Update

INFRASTRUCTURE

PRIORITY REVIEW

In June 2010 the City reported that it had reviewed the network implementation plans and all streets had been prioritised according to the following criteria:

  • Network value and connectivity (connecting the City’s villages, green spaces and destinations, with surrounding council networks, across the council area, and especially linking with existing cycleways)
  • Expected usage (starting where usage is already high)
  • Bus or truck routes (this reduces the likelihood of being able to achieve a cycleway)
  • Impacts on the local community and businesses, and
  • Results of initial pre-feasibility assessments.

This has led to the prioritisation of nine regional routes which will be the focus of implementation over the next couple of years.

  • North Sydney to Edgecliff
  • City Centre to Mascot
  • Sydney Park to Centennial Park
  • Johnstons Canal to City South
  • Southern Boundary
  • Anzac Bridge to Anzac Parade
  • Bourke Street/Bourke Road
  • Leichhardt to Perry Park
  • Newtown to Bondi Junction

REGIONAL ROUTE UPDATE

1. North Sydney to Edgecliff

This route includes: Kent Street; King Street extension; College Street; and an upgrading of Park and William Streets at a later stage.

Kent Street

  • Works started in February 2010.
  • The underpass was completed in June
  • Stage 1 (from the underpass to Park Street) is progressing well – expected to be complete in October.
  • Consultants have been briefed for the design of Stage 2 of Kent Street – the extension north to Argyle Street and the extension south to Liverpool Street.

King Street extension

  • This will connect the existing King Street cycleway with College Street cycleway.
  • The council is seeking quotations for traffic modelling and concept designs.

2. City Centre to Mascot

This route links the Bourke Road cycleway to the College Street cycleway.  It will serve major transport hubs, and connect the CBD to Redfern, Green Square, the airport, and the RTA regional route on the Cooks River.

College Street

  • Construction started January 2010.
  • The southern half is nearly completed and due to be opened mid Sept. The northern half will be completed by the end of the year.
  • Works were delayed by the boundary wall collapse along Hyde Park north and a festival in the park.

Bourke Road

  • The number of bicycle riders increased by 49% within the first three months of opening.
  • Some adjustments have been and are being made, such as moving the speed cushion next to an unprotected section of bicycle path, making the signage clearer, and making the transitions onto the shared path more visible at night.

George Street (Redfern)

  • Very early stages of design.

3. Bourke Street/Bourke Road

Bourke Street Stage 1 (Woolloomooloo)

  • Construction is complete and open.
  • An education and awareness program will be undertaken about the shared zones.

Bourke Street Stage 2

  • Construction is being done in three portions.
  • The sections between William and Oxford, and between Devonshire and Phillip are due for completion in early 2011.
  • The section between Campbell and Devonshire is due to be completed in mid-2011.
  • The section that will connect with Bourke Road is currently being negotiated with the RTA.
  • There will be staged openings of sections as they are available, subject to minimising risks.

4. Anzac Bridge to Anzac Parade

This route connects the Inner West to the University of NSW via the City Centre.  Much of the route already exists.  It includes: the Union Street cycleway; King Street cycleway and extension; and College Street cycleway.

Union Street

  • Sept 7 Green Ups is the unofficial launch – all welcome.

5. Sydney Park to Centennial Park

This route connects major recreation areas via schools and the Dank Street cultural precinct.  Most of the route exists and some will be upgraded. Feasibility studies are being undertaken.  BIKESydney will be riding this route on Saturday (Sept 4) to provide feedback to the council (all welcome).

6. Johnstons Canal to City South

This route includes a future St Johns Road cycleway and a route into the city following Glebe Street, Kelly Street, Mary Anne Street, and Hay Street.

Johnstons Canal

Community consultation regarding the Johnstons Canal section of the route was undertaken in July.

St Johns Road

Energy Australia has indicated they will be doing major upgrade works on St John’s Road is the next 6-18 months. The design work is 60-70% complete but this project is now on hold until there is firm timing on the electricity upgrade.

7. Southern Boundary

This is a shared path along Gardeners Road from the Alexandrian Canal to Southern Cross Drive. The shared path markings have recently been added to the footpath.

8. Leichhardt to Perry Park (Alexandria)

This is a major east-west route connecting Leichhardt, via the hospital and university precincts, with Newton, Erskineville and Alexandria.  It connects Bourke Road cycleway with the future Missenden Road cycleway and Johnstons Canal.

Missenden Road

  • Construction due to start in November and be complete by Feb 2011. The council is coordinating this work with a major electrical upgrade.

9. Newtown to Bondi Junction

This is a major route from the inner west to the city and eastern suburbs, with much already existing and quite high usage.

NETWORK GAPS AND CONTRA-FLOW LANES

In addition to the high priority regional routes, other safety and connectivity projects will proceed, including the Erskineville Road signals for Wilson Street contra-flow lane and contra-flow lanes in the CBD and elsewhere.

40 KM SPEED LIMITS

The City has written to the RTA requesting the 40km speed limit currently in the northern part of the CBD be extended to the whole CBD.

EDUCATION + CULTURE CHANGE

  • A new cycling website is underway – it will have comprehensive information about the city’s plans.
  • The final behavioural change strategy is due to be delivered in September.
  • 500 people have taken the free Cycling Confidence course, 325 have taken the free Bicycle Maintenance course.
  • A kids’ course will be run for school and holiday groups in spring.
  • Improved end of trip facilities will be introduced in Town Hall House for City of Sydney staff.

25 August 2010: Deceitful campaign against cycleways exposed

Businesses along Bourke Road, Alexandria have been misused in a deceitful campaign to attack the City of Sydney cycleway program.

CEO of the City of Sydney, Monica Barone, said a legal letter from Mahoney Dominic lawyers to the City of Sydney had falsely claimed 102 companies and businesses were joined in a class action against the Council’s cycleway.

“The alarm bells began ringing when the lawyer’s letter arrived with a list of the companies supposedly against the cycleways.

“I was surprised to see the names of companies the City had worked closely with and who had long been supportive of cycleways and cycling.

“There is significant support for cycleways, as was indicated by the extensive research and process of consultation the City engaged in before beginning construction of the cycle network.

“I responded by contacting representatives of four organisations on the list. They included Fairfax, Westpac and the Australian Museum. They were completely unaware that they had been included on a list of alleged claimants.

“No-one had consulted them to be on the list and the legal letter in which John Mahony claimed he acted for them was utterly false.

“I have been informed that a further five companies have contacted Mr Mahony to require him to remove their names from the list and that John Mahony has written to Council advising that in fact he only acts for one person who owns a business on Bourke Street and not 102 people.”

Ms Barone said the level of environmental assessment undertaken by the Council in relation to the Bourke Road cycleway, prior to the construction of the cycleway, was appropriate and in compliance with the relevant requirements of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act.

Should a legal action be mounted, the Council would strenuously defend its position and would argue not only that its actions have been lawful they have been made in accordance with the Act.

Source: City of Sydney Media release: 25 August

18 August 2010: NSW Parliamentary Library Cycling and Transport Policy in NSW released

The NSW Parliamentary Library has released a briefing paper summarising the transport issues facing NSW, presenting an account of the state of cycling in NSW and in Sydney in particular, and comparing cycling in Sydney with the other Australian capital cities and with selected international cities.

The online summary and full report are available here.

12 August 2010: Bike Rack as Art Competition Announced

Elevate the humble bike rack to a glorious work of urban art! Applications are now open for this exciting Australia-wide design competition.

The Powerhouse Museum is looking for creative, street-savvy designers to design a cutting edge public bike rack that can be seen as a beautiful item of street art as well as a long-lasting, easy-to-use, functional device.

The winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000 and their bike rack will be manufactured and installed, to be viewed and used by thousands of people at selected locations in the Western Sydney River Cities of Parramatta, Liverpool and Penrith. Second and third place entries will receive $5,000 and $2,000 respectively.

All completed applications must be submitted by Monday 18 October 2010.

More information on the Powerhouse website.

9 August 2010: Sydney’s Bike Economy Booms

Bike shops in the inner city have almost doubled in the past five years as Sydney’s bike economy continues to boom.

A City of Sydney survey of 23 bike businesses within a 10km radius of the CBD found 10 new bike shops opened in the past five years. Together the 23 bike stores employ 214 people.

Sydney’s increasing demand for cheap, efficient two-wheeled transport has fuelled the growth with the bike stores reporting a 30% increase in sales of commuter bikes in the past five years.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said; “Bike shop growth and increased sales shows just how popular cycling is in Sydney. These businesses have done their research, observed increased bike traffic, and have forecast the growth of cycling in this city.”

Jeremy Scrivener, co-owner of Bicycle Garage and Coffee Shop in Lilyfield said: “We’d never owned a bike store before but our instincts and research showed it would work. We chose our location carefully and since opening the bicycle traffic has doubled.”

The bike businesses reported a variety of factors underlying the growth in sales: a perception that bike riding is now safer, that it is more ‘doable’ in terms of fitness and length of the ride, and that it is a cheap transport option in times when the cost of living is high.

Morgan’s Bicycles of Alexandria opened in 2008 selling Velorbis bikes that are highly popular in Europe. Last month Japanese cycle store Tokyo Bike opened its first store outside of Japan in Surry Hills, near the Bourke Street cycleway.

One shop, Ashfield Cycles, said that 5-10 years ago they couldn’t sell commuter style bikes, but now they represent 75% of sales.

Mike Shaw of Clarence Street Cyclery said: “In the last five years, people who are cyclists have come in looking for a hybrid bike for commuting. In the last two and half years a lot of non-cyclists have come in looking for a bike to commute to work.”

Industry associated with bike sales is also growing. Renegade Cycles of Lane Cove has taken on an apprentice bicycle mechanic to help service the bikes they sell. Israel Leichterman also saw a need for more bike mechanics and after doing his own research opened his repair store, Bicycology, in Pyrmont earlier this year.

The popularity of cycling is evident in BRW’s top 100 growing companies with Cell Bikes of Stanmore making the list.

The increased availability of hybrid and commuter bikes has also underpinned the growth in bicycle sales.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore concluded: “We are just seeing the beginnings of a cycling boom in Sydney as more and more people come to appreciate the health, cost and travel benefits of riding a bike.

“Alongside an integrated public transport system, this upward cycling trend will help ease Sydney’s congestion problems in years to come.”

Acknowledging the growth of bike businesses, the City of Sydney’s has included a Bicycle Business category in its annual Business Awards.

Source: City of Sydney media release

24 July 2010: Cleveland Street Shared Path Opens

The new shared pathway on the southern side of Cleveland Street between South Dowling Street and Anzac Parade has opened. The path links riders to Centennial Park and Surry Hills. The 3.5 metre path provides a  smooth ride. Give way to pedestrians on the path and let them know you’re about with a ring of your bell.  Read more about the pathway’s construction here.

19 July 2010: Sydney’s first Greenway in light rail extension

The NSW Government today announced the new light rail corridor between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill will host Sydney’s first “GreenWay” – an environmentally sustainable, integrated transport corridor.

“The new GreenWay is a first for Sydney – it will ensure the corridor has a ‘mixed use’ for families, commuters, cyclists, walkers and joggers,” Ms Keneally said.

“People will be able to walk or cycle from the Cooks River to Iron Cove, through Canterbury, Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt Council areas,” Ms Keneally said.

“Design and construction work on the GreenWay will be undertaken at the same time as work on the light rail line, which we expect to be complete within two years.

“The GreenWay concept originated with the community and has been embraced in many ways already, particularly through bush regeneration work.

Member for Balmain Verity Firth said the new bike path along the GreenWay will be a key link in the Sydney cycle network.

“The project will add a cycle and walking path south beyond the light rail stop at Dulwich Hill, so that people will be able to walk or cycle from the Cooks River to Iron Cove,” Ms Firth said.

“There will also be a new walking and cycling path built across the Hawthorne Canal so Haberfield residents can easily access the “Hawthorne” light rail stop.

“In some places, the actual rail corridor is in a deep cutting and not wide enough to have a new shared path alongside, meaning the path will have to divert away from the line for some short distances.

The Stage 1: Inner West Extension Product Definition Report, Preliminary Environmental Assessment and the summary of community feedback are available on the Transport NSW website.

Source: NSW Transport media release

8 July 2010: Sydney loves a bike network

Eighty four per cent of inner Sydney residents consider a good bike network to be important, new independent research has found.

The research by Galaxy also revealed that three in four (75 per cent) Sydney residents approve the building of a new and comprehensive bike network.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said; “More and more people are appreciating the benefits of cycling, from health and fitness, to easing traffic congestion. The City is supporting this bike enthusiasm by making cycle routes safer and improving connectivity from north to south and east to west.”

Residents recognise that congestion on Sydney’s roads is a major problem (forecast to grow 23 per cent over the next 15 years), with half of those polled saying the main benefit of a cycleway network is less traffic congestion.

Residents also overwhelmingly acknowledged bike riding as a good transport option, with 73 per cent of those aged 18 – 35 years saying they would consider taking up riding, or riding more often, if a safe and convenient cycleway network is provided.

Across all age groups, the majority of residents (67 per cent) agree a safe and convenient bike network will make bike riding a more appealing transport option.

The survey also found:

  • Bike riding is common in inner Sydney, with as many as one third of residents (33 per cent) riding a bike in the past three months.
  • Some 45 per cent of residents aged 18-24 years and 43 per cent of men have ridden a bike within the past three months.

Five hundred residents across 14 inner Sydney council areas were surveyed for the Galaxy poll.

The City of Sydney commissioned polling is part of a continual consultation and research program started in 2006 on how bike riding is perceived and used by the community.

City of Sydney aims to see 10 per cent of all trips made by bike by 2016. To support this, the City runs free cycling courses and workshops, and is upgrading cycle routes, including 55 km of separated cycleways.

Source: City of Sydney media release

27 June 2010: Sample of New Cycling Infrastructure

We will be seeing this more often as the City of Sydney rolls out 200kms of cycling infrasturcture across the city. The piece you about to see is the north end of Kent St. It deals with cyclists coming and going from the Harbour Bridge. Specifically the pedestrian underpass. Remember that this is not complete and Kent St will be getting a similar treatment.

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