Cyclist riding across Fitzroy Street, Surry Hills Photo: Ale Villalobos

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By Linda Hoang

Local councils are focusing on creating the infrastructure to encourage walking and cycling as primary modes of transport.

The City of Sydney Council is calling for the State Government’s Roads & Maritime Services to prioritise funding for the Moore Park Road Cycleway.

This would speed implementation of the 2018-2019 NSW Government Walking and Cycling Program which aims to improve access to cycling routes within five kilometres of major centres.

Chair of the City of Sydney Local Pedestrian, Cycling and Traffic Calming Committee, Councillor Philip Thalis, said “We would love more cooperation from RMS and I think every council in NSW really wants more funding to get active transport going.”

“The frustration is we’ve got bits and pieces of a system but it doesn’t constitute an entire route so people can ride safely across the city and then beyond. Very few of our dedicated routes continue into our adjoining local governments.”

In the east, Waverley Council’s newly formed Cycling Advisory Committee will work on the People, Movement and Places plan to prioritise pedestrians and bicycle riders and assist with implementation of the Moore Park Cycleway.

Consultation for the Moore Park Cycleway has been finalised, with construction due to start in early 2019 for completion by early 2020.

The cycleway will link Bondi Junction to the existing Centennial Park (Oxford Street), Fitzroy Street and Bourke Street routes in Surry Hills.

President of BIKESydney, David Borella, said “We need a new approach based on increased funding, fast-tracking key cycling “trunk routes” like the Greenway and City West Cycle Link, and policies that prioritise public transport, pedestrians and riders over cars in built-up areas. “

Cr Thalis said the perception of danger, particularly for younger women or inexperienced riders concerned about being able to safely ride on roads next to cars, is a key issue preventing more people from riding.

Mr Borella said “Sydney’s transport strategies are unbelievably car-focused by world standards. Most of the state’s transport budget is spent on roads, we rip up safe city cycleways, and have increased fines for riders.”

“’We need an overhaul of the state government’s approach to cycling. The funding is far too low; big infrastructure projects are being allowed to dodge their responsibility to provide safe walking and cycling infrastructure, but transport cycling is a key goal for a liveable city.”

Cr Thalis said “We want more people cycling, it’s great for public transport, it’s great for the congestion on the roads, it’s great for people’s health. We’ve got to have a far more holistic view of what’s good for society.”