Crossrider, the author of the excellent Cycalogical blog, has just put a piece up about the city of Sydney’s attempts to increase cycling levels. The plan is ambitious – to increase the number of trips made by bicycle, between 2 and 20km, to a 20% share of all journeys of that length, by 2016. These are journeys of a length that probably won’t be made on foot. The target for overall modal share (of all trips) made by bicycle is 10% by 2016. Cycling’s modal share in 2006 was only 2%, so this would clearly be a massive transformation.
How are they going about achieving this? Well, let’s refer to the City Of Sydney’s Cycle Strategy And Action Plan, 2007-2017. On the very first page, we find that
The Strategy will provide the infrastructure to ensure a safer and more comfortable cycling environment and the social initiatives to encourage more people to cycle as a means of ordinary transport.
Why has the City Of Sydney adopted this strategy?
Social research undertaken by the City in 2006 and 2007 has indicated that many potential cyclists are discouraged from cycling due to the necessity to cycle on the road near parked cars.
The social research undertaken by the City has also indicated that the greatest barriers to cycling within the City is lack of safe, off road bicycle facilities connecting to local parks, shops and entertainment facilities. Potential cyclists are daunted by the potential for riding a bicycle near parked cars or moving traffic. This Strategy seeks to address these concerns.
Yes, remarkable as it may seem, Sydney is actually listening to people who don’t currently use a bicycle to get around the city. They are actually using their responses as a basis for implementing policy that will encourage them to use those bicycles.
So what’s happening?
The City will develop separated bicycle roads within the existing road kerbs to provide safe cycling facilities for all cyclists.
Note – for all cyclists. These paths (or ‘roads’) are now being constructed. Here’s an example, on the busy College Street –
And here’s how College Street used to look –
Yes, the City of Sydney are taking out parking bays on wide roads, and replacing them with a bicycle path that is separated from the heavy traffic. Cyclists no longer have to cycle with the traffic, trying to stay out of the door zone.
Sydney is listening.
The incredible thing is that this whole project is costing 76 million Australian dollars, or about 46 million pounds – this sounds a lot, but as Crossrider reports, this is only twice as much as the first two “Cycle Superhighways” in London.
I suspect that Sydney’s strategy will prove far more successful. Time will tell.