Car usage has expanded exponentially in Australia since World War II. At the same time trams were removed from cities, like Sydney, and active transport declined.
Congestion costs Sydney $6.1 billion dollars annually, rising to $12.6 billion by 2030. So it’s time to turn back the clock and and get walking and cycling again.
Sydney’s congestion means car travel averages slower speeds than New York, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia. Plus it has 7 of the 10 slowest roads in Australia.
The NSW Government’s primary response has been to build more roads, and the predictable outcome has been more traffic. As Sydney sprawl and density grows, we are running out of space to construct more roads to move people.
Instead, let’s try the alternative - building active transport infrastructure to make it a feasible and attractive way to move around. Building the separate pathways for pedestrians and cyclists to reach work, the shops and local facilities, encouraging businesses to have end of trip facilities, and providing more bike racks and sheds at train stations. There are other ways to move that don’t involve a car.
Since City of Parramatta has developed their Parramatta Valley Cycleway there has been an influx of riders into the area. In October 2017 compared to the same time in 2014, there was a 15,000 rider increase. Everyone one of those riders is one less car off the road, one less person off of public transport and one more person being proactive towards their health. A time trial in Newcastle last year even proved that bike riding was faster than driving, this is not just a Sydney issue but a state wide problem.
It’s time we see commitment from the NSW Government on making our cities easier to navigate with active transport. Spending less time in the traffic and more time doing the things we love.