One way IWBC promotes bicycles as a form of transport is to get involved in the Council’s planning and consultation processes. We have attended or had input into planning meetings for the Integrated Transport Strategy, the Healthy Ageing Strategy, the Landscape Structure Plan, the Community Plan and the annual Budget and Works Plan, not to mention the Bicycle Working Group.
The Yoursay facility on Council’s website is another great way to have input. We urge people to get involved and make sure bicycling gets attention.
If policy for providing for cycling can get into these documents, and aims and targets can be set, we should see steady progress. It doesn’t always work like this, there are budget problems, staff and resource issues and of course epidemics, but at least we and you can be in there,
Next year plans for Active Transport are due, including a new Bicycle Strategy, and IWBC has been consulted on what we see as the priority projects or actions. One of our major asks is for a dedicated bicycle engineer or planner who can get bike projects ready for construction and make sure funding is secure, from Council or State Government, who often do 50/50 matching or 100% if a significant project on say a major road.
[Note added in June 2023: after six long years the Inner West Bicycle Strategy and Action Plan was approved by Council. This combines and replaces the old Leichhardt and Marrickville Bike Plans and includes Ashfield as well, which didnt have a Bike Plan pre-amalgamation.]
Another priority is improving roads to enable cycling to schools. Lowering speed limits on local roads is essential to this; 50 is far too high for residential streets, which should be 30, inline with most other countries. Our Roads Ministers signed a Road Safety Declaration in Stockholm in 2020 that we would move to 30 as the Urban Default. At 30 there is a very small risk of death in a collision, compared to an 80 % chance at 50. Currently we are seeing more 40 areas being introduced, but 30 would make cycling much safer. IWBC has joined Better Streets Australia, to campaign for 30.
In conjunction with lower speed limits, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are being introduced in many countries, based on highly successful Dutch traffic taming methods. We would love to see more of this in Sydney. LTNs aim to slow and reduce traffic in carefully chosen precincts, where through motor traffic can be diverted to peripheral roads or discouraged by various means. This gives walking and cycling a big boost and improves liveability greatly.
We have come up with lists and maps of desired bike paths and routes, and of major infrastructure impediments to cycling. This last list was asked for by Transport for NSW, as part of a rethinking of their Principal Bike Network. This network was supposed to be implemented using Infrastructure Australia funding, but the plan has sat there for 10 years for want of a business case. No one was, it appears, prepared to do a design and cost/benefit. Now it looks like individual projects will be selected, such as Gladesville Bridge access, Harbour Bridge, paths on major roads, or on canals, etc, that Council’s arent responsible for.
Note added in December. After a meeting with Bicycle NSW, Minister Rob Stokes has announced the PBN is not dead. We are hoping our list of 10 most needed projects will be useful. Expecting some more consultation this time around. The PBN was put together by Councils and TfNSW with little or no input from bike groups.
Community Strategic Plan 2036. See post.
More on this later, with links to the above items.