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A stepping stone to improving Oxford Street for everyone

At a packed Sydney Council meeting on 8 May, Bicycle NSW advocated for the Moore Park Road cycleway to be retained until 2026. It’s important for bike riders, but also for the future success of the Oxford Street urban renewal project. We are delighted that Councillors voted 9-1 in favour. The continued operation of the pop-up demonstrates government and community resolve to prioritise people over vehicles.  

Our submission on the proposal to extend the operation of the pop-up is here.

We understand that change is hard for residents. But separated cycleways improve safety and amenity for all road users, and they’re really great for business.

A series of pop-up cycleways were developed by Transport for NSW during the Covid-19 pandemic to help people travel to work safely and reduce the spread of infection. Most have been very successful, demonstrating a clear need for key sections of the future Sydney bicycle network to be delivered. Some pop-ups, such as Pitt Street, have been made permanent; others are due to be rebuilt soon. (Image credit, Transport for NSW)

The following is our case to preserve the Moore Park Road pop-up with special thanks to members of BIKEast:

Thank you City of Sydney for the opportunity to speak in support of the Moore Park Road cycleway.

500. That is the average number of bike riders per day using the pop up facility.

That equates to 182 000 trips per year! What a fantastic facility providing protected bike riding for people of all ages, abilities and genders. And we know that without physical separation 64% of women would not be riding due to traffic risk. 

On the matter of safety: Rugby Australia claims that the cycleway is ‘extremely dangerous’ for all road users

And anecdotally, there ‘has been at least one collision between a car and a cyclist’.  This is overstated. The Centre for Road Safety identifies the types of crashes occurring within nearby Woollahra - a suburb with no separated cycleways.

1,054 vehicle crashes were recorded in Woollahra between 2012-2016. These crashes were caused by congestion and bad driving with 7% of crashes involving pedestrians. In total, there were 192 fatal and serious injury crashes during this period. Caused by vehicles, not bicycles.

If it is about safety, then close down Oxford Streets and Moore Park Road to cars! 

But safety is a fig leaf to remove what little space bikes have compared to cars. And this is to prioritise (in this situation) private vehicle storage outside Sydney Stadium.  Buses and taxis can use the large car park within the precinct.  If safety is the primary concern, let’s focus on improving the intersection of the cycleway and the car park. 

Sydney Stadium should be supporting walking and cycling to their events

They are leaders in promoting and role-modelling physical activity, not just spectatorship, as part of their social mission. Due to decades of car-based physical inactivity, Australia faces a pandemic of lifestyle-related diseases. Indeed 25% of kids and 67% of adults are now considered overweight or obese.  We’d love to work together to turn those numbers around! Consider this an invitation. 

Apart from doing what's right, let's be realistic. You can't transport tens of thousands of people to a stadium at once with private vehicles. This massive surge can't be achieved with cars because they are inefficient, take up too much space and require parking. But public transport and active transport can move huge crowds. So folks, let's put this old argument about the need for parking aside for good.  

Moore Park Rd Cycleway looking east (image source: City of Sydney). The NSW Government has announced it will implement a new permanent cycleway along Oxford Street between Taylor Square and Centennial Park. Our submission to the preliminary plans is here. Once complete, the Moore Park Road pop-up will be removed.  However, we will fight for the cycleway to be made permanent to provide a direct link towards Central Station and the Inner West.

Moore Park cycleway needs to become permanent.

500 trips per day, 182 000 trips per year, and a direct connection to Central Station and the Inner West. In addition, Moore Park Road cycleway makes active travel safe for both pedestrians and bike riders. If it is dropped because of car parking, the Oxford Street urban renewal project may not come to pass.”

Francis O’Neill, Bicycle NSW Head of Advocacy, closed his address to council by reiterating: “Moore Park Cycleway is safe. It’s immensely popular. And it achieves Sydney’s goals for a thriving sustainable, inclusive and resilient city that supports active travel. It also averts 54 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. That’s not nothing!”

Bring back Oxford Street’s Golden Mile! Separated bike lanes improve pedestrian safety, enabling businesses to thrive. (Image: Australian Pride Network)  

Want more cycleways?

“Bicycle NSW has been campaigning for safe, accessible bicycle infrastructure for almost 50 years,” says Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean. “If you care about the environment, health, cost of living, social equity and childhood independence, join Bicycle NSW now and consider supporting our advocacy with a tax deductible donation.”

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