Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has overcome community concerns and opposition from rival councillors to see her Broadway Cycle Link approved.
The Link is a key component of the City’s Cycling Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to make bike travel as popular as walking and public transport.
Despite general support for the Broadway Cycle Link, last week’s Council meeting almost saw a decision on the cycleway deferred due to concerns about the community consultation process.
Greens Councillor Irene Doutney voted against the Link, citing residents’ concerns. “I support the cycleway, I wasn’t actually voting against the cycleway itself, but we had received a 21 page submission from the local residents’ action group which had very detailed comments on different aspects of the cycleway, and they were very unhappy with the [consultation process],” Ms Doutney said.
Ms Doutney said more time was needed to inspect the plans.
According to a report by the Council’s Environment Committee, the Link would establish a safe cycleway between Wilson St, Darlington and Mary Ann St, Ultimo helping connect the Leichhardt-to-City and Newtown-to-Bondi Junction routes. The Link would mostly consist of slow speed zones designed to help cyclists and motorists share the road, while some sections would include pathways.
Before Council voted on the Link, a separate procedural motion was put forward to delay the decision for a month and allow time for further community input. Locked at a 5-5 split of the City’s 10 councillors, the Lord Mayor used her casting vote to defeat the motion.
Though voting in favour of the motion to defer, Labor Councillor Linda Scott eventually voted with Ms Moore. Ms Scott argued that the City’s cycling infrastructure was in need of an upgrade. “I have lots and lots of people talking to me about the need for connected cycleways,” she said.
Ms Scott said City staff had guaranteed her that research would continue to ensure the completed cycleway was safe.
Local resident Danelle Bergstrom is one of many who have expressed safety concerns about the project.
“The original plan saw the cycleway cut right through Peace Park, which is just not safe for the kids from the nearby childcare centre who play in the park,” said Ms Bergstrom.
“Now it’s going to the side of the park but the safety concerns remain. It’s a pedestrian way and it’s not wide enough to be shared with bicycles. There will be an accident.”
Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla told City News the Lord Mayor had intentionally blocked proper consultation. “You’ve got to understand that before the vote we ran a motion to defer it for a month … and the Lord Mayor defeated that motion using her wretched casting vote,” he said.
A City of Sydney spokesperson said community consultation had been adequate and that the cycleway had the support of “the University of Sydney, the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) and the Frasers Property group developing the Central Park site”, as well as many local residents and bike users.
The Lord Mayor did not respond to requests for comment.
– Additional reporting by Peter Hackney