On many levels bike riders can feel like history is repeating itself as another round of plans and riding conditions give a sense of déjà vu.
“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” said Winston Churchill in 1948. Reviewing and filing old resources, it’s clear why people needing bike infrastructure in NSW get frustrated seeing millions poured into writing and rewriting plans, most of which don’t get built.
10 Year Vision
Back in 2010 the 10-year vision for cycling contained in the NSW Bike Plan focused “…on the delivery of new cycling infrastructure funded through the Metropolitan Transport Plan commitment of $158 million, and also to be rolled out to regional areas.”
Working through the case studies, images, maps with non-specific lines on them rather than street names, other sums are promised. However, all are relatively small in terms of infrastructure spend, compared with the multi-billion road budgets, and spaced over ten years.
Plans, plans and more plans
2010 saw the Inner Sydney Regional Bike Network developed, 2011 the Cycle Safe Network in Newcastle, in 2012 the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan, which was updated in 2013 and 2014, there was Sydney’s Cycling Future in 2013 and of course Future Transport 2056 in 2017.
Each contains lovely pictures of bike riders, lofty aspirations, vague lines rather than anything capable of being built, a shortage of specific routes, insufficient funding commitments (or none at all), and delivery targets 2-10 election cycles away. It is evident the advice of the Even Greater Sydney Planning Committee has been taken to heart for over a decade.
Plans To Reality
In order to shift bike riding infrastructure from the realms of comedy and fantasy to reality, Bicycle NSW makes submissions on State and Council plans wherever we can, so planning investment isn’t completely wasted. But we also need your help.
“If you want safe cycleways rather than dusty documents full of artists’ impressions, we need your voice,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affair, Bastien Wallace.
“Every time the State Government or Council proposes transport or bike plans near you, write in support of bike riding, and let them know your vote depends on delivery, not empty promises or pretty pictures,” said Bastien.
We can guarantee people who hate bike riding, or love parking on the street, will write in opposition to every cycleway. Elected officials need to know there are more votes in investing in healthier, greener, safer and quieter ways to travel.