SYDNEY, NSW, Australia – People riding will soon enjoy new safe cycleway options on some of the city of Sydney’s busiest bike commuter routes.
The new cycleway on the city’s Oxford, College and Liverpool streets connects to the permanent bike network at Bourke Street and Castlereagh Street.
It provides more travel choices and reduces the pressure on public transport at peak times as more people return to work in city offices and spaces.
“Cycling numbers have grown significantly over recent years, especially during Covid, when many took to cycling for the first time,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Friday.
“We want to continue to deliver an alternate safe transport option that ensures equitable access to our roads, increases safety and reduces footpath cycling.”
While overall travel in Sydney has been down by 60% during the pandemic, bike counts across the local area are up by 20%.
The City of Sydney and Transport for NSW have already collaborated on 6 pop-up cycleways across the Sydney local area in response to the pandemic. These bike links now see over 16,000 trips a week.
Oxford Street is the City’s busiest bike route, with over 2,000 bike trips per day. It also has the most reported bike crashes of any street in the City of Sydney. A separated cycleway will improve safety for people riding and reduce the number of riders on the footpath.
An artist’s impression of the new cycleway, at the junction of Oxford, Liverpool and College streets.
The existing permanent Liverpool Street cycleway serves more than 1,800 bike trips per day. The new cycleway will provide a safe link between Oxford Street and the Liverpool Street, which is is important given the large number of bike riders using these routes.
The former College Street separated cycleway saw more than 1,800 bike trips daily, prior to the cycleway’s removal in 2015 to accommodate changes to bus routes during the construction of the light rail.
Nancy Ma, who commutes by bike from Bondi to the city centre, is one of 2000 riders who use Oxford Street each weekday.
A low-impact design for the cycleways
The Oxford and Liverpool Street cycleways will use a centre-running design, with the cycleway taking the place of one westbound traffic lane.
This design has a low impact on kerbside life and makes it easy for passersby to access businesses along these streets. It also reduces interactions between riders and turning or parking vehicles, and gives riders more ‘green time’ at lights for faster journeys.
College Street will have a conventional 2-way separated cycleway on the western side of the street.
As well making riding safer in the area, the cycleway is designed to improve amenity for people visiting local businesses and more attractive for people walking, sitting at cafs and restaurants.
By reducing one through traffic lane, it also helps calm the traffic, reducing noise and pollution from passing traffic.
One bike commuter who welcomes the news is Nancy Ma, who rides from Bondi to work in the city-centre. Ma moved from London to Sydney in March, and has long been a bike commuter.
Riding in Sydney, especially on Oxford Street, made her nervous. “I remember my first day here getting breakfast on Oxford Street and I thought, ‘I don’t think I can ride here,'” Ms Ma said Friday.
“I think having proper cycleways, especially down Oxford Street, will open up cycling for so many more people, especially those who aren’t super confident.”
The City of Sydney will run a four-week community consultation on the cycleway and a review of environmental factors for the project, and report the results for Council to consider.