By ALLISON HORE
A missing link Sydney’s bicycle network has now been filled in following the completion of a new-and-improved cycleway linking Petersham Station and King Street in Newtown.
The bike corridor is part of a larger planned cycleway known as “Regional Route 7” which links the Inner West with Sydney’s CBD. The route was identified as a priority by the state government last year, as a way to reduce crowds on public transport following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project is funded as part of the NSW Government’s cycleway program which aims to “ensure walking and cycling are the most convenient option for short trips to key destinations.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the vital role our public spaces and the green links that connect them play in bolstering both our wellbeing and our local businesses,” Planning Minister Rob Stokes said.
“We will continue to support councils to deliver attractive, usable public spaces for their communities to enjoy now and once this crisis is behind us.”
Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne, celebrated the completion of the cycleway.
“This new cycleway is providing an important link in our bike networks that connect significant destinations – between train stations, schools, parks and libraries,” he said.
The 3.8 kilometre link starts at Petersham Station and runs along Crystal Street, York Crescent, Gordon Crescent, Douglas Street, Railway Avenue, Trade Street, Baltic Street, Albermarle Street and Eliza Street.
It includes a mix of dedicated bi-directional cycleways, off road shared paths and on-road sections mixed with traffic.
Helping the bike-curious
The improved cycle route will not only serve those who already ride along the route, Council hopes it will also give people interested in riding, but not yet doing so, the peace of mind to get into the seat.
Data shows, in areas where dedicated bicycle routes are constructed the number of cyclists increases significantly. In the first year since the construction of the Carrington Road cycleway in Marrickville there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of riders. Bowden Street in Alexandria saw a 250 percent increase over five years, and George Street in Redfern has seen a massive 400 percent increase since a protected bike path was installed.
Mayor Byrne hopes more people riding will help alleviate traffic congestion, an issue which has been repeatedly flagged in the Council’s Community Satisfaction Surveys.
“Managing traffic congestion was named as one of the top three challenges facing our local government area in the next ten years,” he said.
“Getting more people out riding their bikes safely and easily will go a very long way to achieving that goal for our community.”
The next section of the bicycle link which will connect Lewisham to Petersham is set to be completed by December this year, weather permitting.