Thousands of Sydneysiders are a step closer to major travel time savings and health benefits, after a bike network for Australia’s most densely populated area was flagged as a national priority.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said it was the first time a bike project had been included as an Early Stage project in the National Infrastructure Priority List.
“Building and connecting up this network of bike paths would make a real difference for people who want to ride – leaving more space on the roads for people who need to drive,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Infrastructure Australia’s decision reflects the fast growth of bike riding in Sydney and an increasing awareness that safe bike infrastructure is part of the solution to traffic gridlock.”
The City of Sydney-led plan for an Inner Sydney Regional Bike Network covers 15 Council areas that surround the city centre, and provides a 10 kilometre catchment area into Sydney’s heart.
The 284 kilometre network would be created by combining each Council’s existing bike plans, with additional infrastructure to fill missing links, giving commuters a real and safe alternative.
The inclusion in Infrastructure Australia’s list of priority projects is a key step towards attracting a necessary $185 million in Commonwealth funding over eight years.
A study by leading international consultancy AECOM forecast that, if the 284 km network across 164 suburbs was built, the network would produce a 71 per cent increase in bike trips by 2026.
The study estimated the value of reduced congestion alone at $97.8 million, or $4.07 for every commuter switching from a car to bicycle during peak periods.
With regular cyclists typically enjoying the same level of fitness as people 10 years their junior, the study found the network would provide $147.3 million in health benefits for the next 30 years, potentially saving Sydney commuters from chronic diseases like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
Mayor of Leichhardt, Darcy Byrne, praised the move by Infrastructure Australia as, “an important step towards delivering the regional bike network Sydney needs to become a truly global city.”
“Through cooperation between the National Government, the City of Sydney and neighbouring councils we can now deliver a state of the art bike network for our region.”
Ashfield Mayor Morris Mansour agreed, saying, “Ashfield has a strong commitment to active transport, reducing congestion on our roads and creating new connections between and within our suburbs.”
“This is a great example of collaboration both between Councils and with the Commonwealth.”
The Mayor of Marrickville, Councillor Victor Macri, welcomed the inclusion of this project into the National Infrastructure Priority List, which he said could make a big difference to the lives of thousands of Sydney residents.
“Council is keen to reduce dependency on private vehicles and encourage more sustainable modes of travel, particularly cycling. I’m a keen cyclist and I’d love to see more of our residents improving their own health through exercise, reduced traffic congestion and pollution, and enhanced social inclusion.”
“Marrickville Council is working hard on further developing effective cycle links, so we very much welcome this proposed network that will improve connectivity between neighbouring councils and across the city as a whole.”
Randwick Mayor Tony Bowen said his council said has worked closely with City of Sydney and other councils to develop the Inner Sydney Regional Bike Plan.
“Randwick Council is committed to improving cycling facilities, and promoting sustainable transport. This Plan provides an opportunity to create integrated cycle networks that will make cycling easier in Randwick and beyond.”
In its submission to Infrastructure Australia last year, on behalf of 15 inner Sydney councils, the City said the network would deliver “an increased economic standard of living for Australians, environmental sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, better social outcomes, quality of life and reduced social disadvantage in our cities, improved productivity and more efficient use of the exiting road network,” the submission noted.
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