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Sydney Gets With The Program!


Maximum Pace
Jan 14, 2007
Sydney Gets With The Program!

Sydney Morining Herald

Pedestrians will have to share the pavement with cyclists under a bike path plan the City of Sydney council is considering for a busy CBD street.

Under the proposal, the College Street footpath between Liverpool and Macquarie Street would be widened to 2.4 metres and shared between walkers and bike riders, resulting in the loss of 52 parking spots.

At least 12 cyclists have been hit by cars or trucks on College Street between 2003 and 2007.

A council spokesman said the shared pathways would not have a painted line to separate bikes from pedestrians.

Cyclists would be encouraged to keep to the left, whether they were travelling north or south.

"The general rule is to keep to the left. It will slow all the traffic down and everyone will mingle at the same speed. There won't be a line on the ground so it will take a bit of understanding from everyone involved," he said.

The shared pathway model will require "a cultural change, a behavioural change from pedestrians, cyclists and motorists", said the council's director of City Projects, Michael Leyland and will be considered by the council on December 15.

Councillor John McInerney, chair of the council's traffic committee, called for riders to stick to a 10kmh speed limit on the shared path.

"Of course, there will always be the odd rogue cyclist or even the rogue pedestrian," he said.

"But we want to mirror the European experience."

Harold Scruby from the Pedestrian Council said the plan would endanger walkers.

"I think we should offer $1000 prize money to the first person to see a cyclist doing 10kmh," he said.

"The long term outcome will be that many pedestrians will be seriously injured and some will be killed."

The City of Sydney, flush with cash compared to other councils, is spending $70m over four years on cycling strategy, which will result in 55 kilometres of dedicated separated bike paths.

Construction on Sydney's first bi-directional, separated bike path has already begun in King Street in the CBD and plans for a similar facility on Bourke Street will be revised, after residents complained about the removal of trees.

The revised plan, which will see fewer trees removed, will be assessed by the council this month and construction is expected to begin in June next year.

"We are expecting 350 bikes per hour on Bourke Street within 10 years," said Cr McInerney.

Designs for a new path along Union Street in Pyrmont are on the council's website.

Another separated bike path is proposed for Missenden Road, Camperdown.

The two-way cycle paths, to be painted green and separated from the car lane by a row of bollards, are also planned for Newtown, Glebe, Redfern, Zetland, Darlington and Alexandria.

This style of path will constitute 35km of the council's promised 55km of cyclepaths.

The paths will not result in fewer car lanes but will mean the loss of 166 parking spots "but that's within the context of 30,000 spaces in the city", Cr McInerney said.

The council is also considering introducing a European style bike rental service in the CBD but would have to factor helmet hire into the plan.

The council is aiming for a 500 per cent increase in cycling over 10 years.

Alex Unwin from Bicycle NSW said increased cycling would increase "the levels of community health ... while addressing the great issue of our times, global warming."
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