Plans roll out for new cycleway on Oxford Street
Three new cycleways will serve Sydney’s busiest cycling connections, providing safer access for thousands of people riding between the city and Sydney’s east, and further support the City of Sydney’s plans to revitalise Oxford Street.
The proposed connections include an innovative centre-running cycleway on Oxford Street that will allow bus lanes, parking, taxi ranks and loading zones to largely operate as they currently do, while providing a safe, fast and direct route for people riding.
The cycleways will run 1.7km from Taylor Square along Oxford Street, Liverpool and College Streets to the City Centre, and connect to the existing cycleway network at Bourke and Castlereagh streets.
Oxford Street is one of Sydney’s busiest bike routes, with over 2,000 bike trips every day. It also has the most reported bike crashes of any street in the City area, with around 10 per cent of riders currently resorting to riding on the footpath.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City will consult local businesses, residents and bike riders on the proposed cycleways to provide a world-class transport connection.
“Cycling numbers have grown significantly over recent years, especially during Covid when many took to cycling for the first time,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
“We want to continue to deliver an alternate safe transport option that ensures equitable access to our roads, increases safety and reduces footpath cycling.
“These streets currently experience some of the heaviest bike traffic in our city, so providing separated bike lanes will have huge safety benefits, as well as improving urban amenity.
“The proposed cycleway will help reduce the impact of noise and pollution, provide a safe space for people to ride on the road, and encourage people to stop and enjoy local cafés, restaurants and local businesses.”
The project incorporates cycleways on three street sections:
- Oxford Street – 730 metres between Flinders Street and College Street, Surry Hills
- Liverpool Street – 300 metres between College Street and Castlereagh Street
- College Street – 700 metres between Liverpool Street and St Marys Road
The centre-running designs and use of easy-to-install separators mean the new cycleways can be installed rapidly and at a lower cost than traditional cycleways.
Transport for NSW will closely monitor the traffic and parking arrangements and take the necessary actions to ensure there are no major impacts on bus operations so that people can continue to return to work and access the city safely.
The proposal includes centre running two-way cycleway on Oxford and Liverpool streets, and a two-way cycleway on the western side of College Street. The cycleways will be separated from traffic with easy to install medians and painted road markings.
The cycleways network is supported by Committee for Sydney, which recently commissioned an Ipsos cycling survey. This poll found the majority of Sydneysiders (53 per cent) support new cycling lanes in the city.
Gabriel Metcalf, CEO at the Committee for Sydney, said the Life in Sydney poll also showed fewer than a quarter of people believe Sydney roads are currently safe for cycling.
“The results told us there is great untapped demand for cycling. That’s why we need to take designing roads for cycling seriously. Particularly important is making our roads safe for those of all ages and skill levels to cycle between their homes, workplaces, schools and universities,” Mr Metcalf said.
One city commuter who welcomes the proposed Oxford Street Cycleway is finance professional, Nancy Ma. Nancy moved to Sydney from London in mid-March where she rode every day, and she now works in Martin Place.
Cycling has always been a big part of Nancy’s life, but she says riding in Sydney made her nervous at first.
“I remember my first day here getting breakfast on Oxford Street and I thought, ‘I don’t think I can ride here’. The cars and lack of proper cycleways made me pretty nervous,” Ms Ma said.
“I’m used to drivers slowing down and being respectful of cyclists, especially in Europe, but it’s a different experience here. To be honest, I find commuting down Oxford Street and onto College Street scary.
“I think having proper cycleways, especially down Oxford Street, will open up cycling for so many more people, especially those who aren’t super confident.
“What Sydney needs is better and more direct cycling connections that are easy to identify and safer.”
The City of Sydney will do a four-week community consultation on the three cycleways and a review of environmental factors for the project and report the results for Council to consider.