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Comments on Sydney's Cycling Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2030
Sydney has released its Cycling Strategy and Action Plan for public comment. Mine are below:
I am pleased to see Sydney hopes to be a more bicycle friendly place. However the plan as laid out is insufficiently ambitious. So much more can and should be done. Sydney should be one of the world leaders in bicycling, but it remains a laggard, stuck in the mid-20th century. A 10% target in 2030 (3-4x as many bicyclists as today) is good (better than today’s baseline), but the network doesn’t support that, it is not 3-4x as large.
To start, think about the network: Every major street (say a street that warrants a traffic signals) which also has on-street parking has demonstrated space for separated bike lanes. What is more important, storing cars 23 hours a day or moving people? The value of the network increases non-linearly with its connectivity. Even most streets without on-street parking have space for bike lanes.
Among these which I am familiar with should be included Regent St/Gibbons St/Wyndham St and Abercrombie/Wattle, but there are undoubtedly more. The separated bike lane network should be as dense and complete as the arterial street network.*
Similarly, every block that has on-street parking should dedicate at least one parking space to bicycle parking, particularly for shared bikes. Action 1.5 is especially lagging. Bike parking is cheap to install and signals priorities and should lead rather than follow.
Bikesharing is neglected from this plan.
Regulation is still hostile to bicyclists, including heavy fines and futile helmet laws. Helmets are indicator of danger. Biking should be normalised as in Europe.
A strategy for promoting and regulating eBikes would be good. Also promoting and regulating scooters, skateboards, and other wheeled vehicles (micro-mobility).
A strategy for promoting bike and ride to train and metro stations would be good.
A strategy for promoting biking to school (and Uni) would be good. Schools are at least mentioned, but it seems mostly an afterthought.
Bikes should be counted continuously at intersections (not just 2 times a year), just as cars are. There are technologies to do this, and RMS can be called on to do it. Electronic signs displaying bike counts on key routes is also a good marketing tool.
*Note: The base map p. 17 locates the Metro stations in the wrong place. The map does not distinguish between shared paths and separated bike lanes, which is a way of claiming credit for something that doesn’t actually exist.