(3.30pm, Tuesday 22 October 2013, Sydney Town Hall Reception Room)
Good afternoon, everyone. As the Access Strategy notes, the City Centre faces a tremendous challenge addressing congestion as it continues to grow with an expected rise of 45,000 trips in just one peak hour by 2031.
The Access Strategy estimates congestion currently costs Sydney businesses and residents an estimated $5.1 billion a year, and projects it will reach $8.8 billion by 2021.
Sydney is continually recognised globally for its liveability and increasingly for its sustainability, but we fall behind on transport - our congestion is deeply frustrating to the people who live and work here, as well as being costly and inefficient.
This strategy is a watershed in city and transport planning in Australia.
The document itself is admirably brief, but it's packed with information, and obviously a huge amount of careful research and evidence-based analysis have gone into its preparation.
It's the first strategy prepared for an Australian city that recognises the very different and complex nature of transport networks when they all converge in the city centre.
It is a genuinely multi-modal strategy that plans for all the different users - pedestrians, bus and train patrons, motorists, cyclists, and taxi's.
Presently, there is no coordination leading to modal conflicts between cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists in particular. Using a hierarchy to separate and prioritise streets for different transport modes as much as possible - a concept first raised in Connecting our City - is a breakthrough.
It balances competing demands for limited road space, delivers better public transport options, and will aid motorists by assisting them to bypass the City and reduce congestion for those who do need to drive through the City.
We're particularly glad to see walking recognised as the primary mode within the City spine, and the importance of catering for the growth of cycling by building a network of separated bike paths.
With more than half of all city commuters coming from within a 10km radius, cycling is becoming a very attractive proposition - as attested by the growing cycling numbers and the finding in the Strategy that two-thirds of inner-city residents would cycle to work at least once a week if there was a separated bike-path for the duration of their journey.
Research from around the world backs this survey - showing that if you invest in safe bike infrastructure people will use it. In London, the biggest ever census of bike use in the City found bikes now account for 24 per cent of all road traffic in central London during the morning peak.
The City is keen to get on and do its part to implement the Access Strategy.
We know the Strategy is out for public comment, but we've already signed the contract for the Kent St cycleway extension; we're working on the detailed design of another four cycle-ways, at Liverpool, Castlereagh, Park and King Streets; and we're working very closely with Transport for NSW on the plan which will improve the efficiency and reliability of bus services in the City.
That is the first major step towards preparing the City for light rail, and as you know, we've already committed $220 million towards the CBD component of that project.
There is a host of other projects earmarked by the Access Strategy that the City and the NSW Government will be working on together - such as a review of on-street and off-street parking, creating a network of taxi ranks and the Pedestrian Improvement Program.
So I welcome this great piece of planning by Transport for NSW, and I look forward to hearing more about the Strategy from Carolyn.