(12pm, Town Hall House)
Hello, everyone, welcome to this briefing on city centre access and the council's cycling strategy.
I'd also like to acknowledge Dr Tim Williams and Committee for Sydney members who are here today.
It's no secret that the City is a keen promoter of cycling.
But our cycling advocacy does not stem from some retro notions of village life, nor does it stem from an anti-car agenda.
The facts are these:
- Sydney is a global city which is already suffering badly from congestion which costs our economy more than $5 billion a year - and rising
- At the same time, we have a rapidly growing population which will increase by 60 per cent by 2036, and that growth is already well underway at Central Park, Green Square and Barangaroo
If we are to keep Sydney moving, it's clear that we need a variety of transport option, including light rail, buses, walking and cycling.
A safe cycling network provides transport choice. It's about destinations and connections, it's about getting people to work, to school, university, shops and parks.
The NSW Government has set an ambitious target of doubling local and district bicycle trips by 2016 and our work will be a vital part of reaching that target and providing the efficient transport and city centre access without which no global city can survive.
Our investment in improved walking and cycling infrastructure not only reduces congestion, it promotes people's health and supports local businesses.
More people riding means more room for everyone using buses or trains, and it means more space on our roads for business delivery drivers, couriers and taxis. A city that moves more freely, that has space for everyone, is a city that works better for business.
Earlier this year, we hosted the Sydney Rides Business Challenge. Many of your employees were among a record 4,804 riders who clocked up more than 313,000 km in the challenge.
We also staged Sydney's first ever suit ride, with 50 CEOs joining Monica Barone to cycle around the city at lunchtime - and there will be a suit ride immediately after today's briefing. It's a wonderful opportunity for key business leaders to "lead from the front" by their own example.
While we support the State government's focus on cycling, we are not in favour of removing the College Street cycleway until the government delivers a safe, separated replacement route on Castlereagh Street, between King and Hay streets.
We also recognise that construction of the light-rail will cause major disruption for many businesses along the route but it will be a game-changer when finished, giving 40 per cent of George Street over to pedestrians, giving locals and visitors brilliant new ways to access and move around this great city.
So again, thank you for your interest in this briefing, and I'd now like to introduce Graham Jahn, the City's Director of Planning, Development, and Transport.