Sydney needs more transport options, not less13 July 2012
I have never advocated for a car free Sydney. I don’t believe it’s possible, practical or necessary. Sydney needs more transport options not less.
Riding a bike is just one of those options, a fact recognised by the NSW Government’s own Transport Masterplan. In fact, the Government is hiring people to help them increase cycling.
Applications recently closed for three new positions with a total income of up to $330,000 at Transport NSW, to ‘oversee cycling polices and plans for increased and safe cycling’ and ‘to implement plans and programs to reduce NSW dependence on car travel by increasing the use of cycling.’
Believe it or not, that’s straight from a Government ad.
The City and the Government share the same targets – and the Government has always had the right of approval on all our transport projects. They signed off each and every bike lane in the city.
Why? Because they make sense and they work.
We don’t need luck to demonstrate the economic benefits of a bike network. The City had AECOM, a Fortune 500 company, do an economic analysis to see if there was benefit in providing bike lanes before any major infrastructure was built.
That analysis showed huge economic benefits – delivering at least $506 million in net economic benefits over 30 years, roughly equivalent to a $4 return on every dollar spent. Now compare that to the $2 return delivered by Sydney motorways.
Evidence also shows the city’s cycleways have a positive effect on property prices and in Portland, in the US, more cyclists are using the city’s extensive bike network, generating more than $100 million of economic activity and creating 1000 jobs.
Despite all the rhetoric and hot air, this Government can’t ignore the cold hard facts.
Bikes have outsold cars for the past decade. More people will start riding if it is safe and practical to do so. There are thousands of riders on our network every day – most are new. Cycling has grown faster in Sydney than any ther comparable city worldwide.
Cycleways are being built without the removal of any lanes of traffic and we worked closely with the RMS in designing the network.
It’s not just city of Sydney residents using our bike network, we get riders from all over Sydney including North Sydney, Leichhardt, Botany Bay, Randwick, Marrickville, Ashfield, Ryde, Lane Cove, Burwood, Canterbury, Rockdale, Manly and Willoughby.
Major cities across the globe are addressing congestion by giving people more choices while growing their economy and tourism.
London, Paris, Barcelona, New York and countless other American cities and in Melbourne, have shown that the only way to address congestion is to give people what they want – more transport options not less.