In November, Bicycle NSW had the chance to meet with Rob Stokes MP, the then-new Transport Minister for NSW.
As a change of Minister can often bring new ideas, perspectives and priorities to their portfolio, Bicycle NSW took the opportunity to make a few key suggestions to the Minister.
Among these were that the government consult with the organisation earlier in the planning process, allowing feedback to be understood and evaluated before design and budgets became more difficult to alter. Bicycle NSW also made a strong recommendation for increased support for active transport infrastructure in NSW.
The meeting went very well with Minister Stokes confirming his commitment to the Principal Bicycle Network and building towards world-class bicycle infrastructure in NSW.
Bicycle NSW is now delighted to learn that Minister Stokes is planning to double the $950 million the state government has already earmarked for spending on footpaths, cycleways and other links over the next five years. This indicates that the Minister believes that an increase in active transport infrastructure investment would not only support but also encourage more members of the public to consider active transport as a viable method of commuting.
Active transport, Sydney CBD
This standpoint is part of a larger shift in city planning towards understanding provision of infrastructure as a tool that can guide behaviour, rather than a simple response to existing demand, which is often inaccurately measured or clouded by vested interests.
Minister Stokes commented specifically on a desire to commence work on a major walking and cycling link between Sydney CBD and Parramatta, viewing it as an ambitious long term project and an example of the kind of active transport infrastructure the state should aspire to.
“Bicycle NSW very much welcomes a stronger investment in bicycle infrastructure and looks forward to positively engaging with stakeholders to ensure we have the safest and most user friendly infrastructure to benefit the entire community. This spending is a step in the right direction to benefit all transport users, connect communities, create a healthier community and healthier environment.” said Peter McLean, CEO at Bicycle NSW.
A focus on active transport is timely owing to the increased popularity of outdoor, socially distanced travel since the advent of the pandemic.
Bicycle NSW looks forward to working further with Minister Stokes to improve bicycle infrastructure across NSW. You can view previous submissions made to the government here. If you’d like to support our advocacy actions, consider becoming a Bicycle NSW member and benefit also from comprehensive rider insurance and a range of retail discounts.