The western end of Castlereagh Street will be transformed into a ‘greener inner-city promenade,’ which will include widening footpaths and installing an extra 800 metres of the cycleway, according to a new proposal released by the City of Sydney.
The proposal, which is open for community feedback until April 22, hopes to meet the growing demand for outdoor spaces and for the city’s cycleway network.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the proposal would “improve the walking experience” and reinvent the area as a “conveniently linked and safe cycling route”.
She added that the decision was driven by the success of bus routes being moved from Castlereagh Street to Elizabeth Street last year, and will prepare the city for the opening of new metro stations in 2024.
Earlier this month, council released an update to its long-term strategic plan for a more “sustainable and diverse” Sydney for 2050.
The strategy is focused on creating more space for people, improving public transport and access to the harbour, and increasing greenery.
“What we are hearing from the community is that the reform appetite for this agenda has only accelerated post-COVID-19 and we need to match that with accelerating our pace of reform,” Cr Moore said of the strategy.
Castlereagh Street cycleway expansion comes amid controversy
Council expects that use of the completed Castlereagh Street cycleway would rise to 10,000 trips a week, and continue to grow.
The extended cycleway, which will connect Castlereagh Street from Liverpool Street to King Street, comes amid controversy surrounding the permanent installation of a number of council pop-up cycleways.
In February, City of Sydney councillors clashed over a motion to provide status updates and community consultation reports on the permanent conversion of temporary inner-city cycleways along Henderson Road, Bridge Road, Fitzroy Street and Oxford Street.
The motion was eventually passed after deputy lord mayor Jess Scully installed amendments to exclude the original request that council provide audit reports for cycleways installed over the past 10 years.
Councillor Yvonne Weldon, who moved the original motion, later expressed concerns about the parts of the motion that were removed.
“It is … the public duty of the City to properly consult with residents and other stakeholders affected by installation of cycleways by loss of access, convenience and enjoyment of their residences or places of work, removal of parking spaces, including disability parking and safety impacts,” Cr Weldon said.
This also comes after the recent approval of a 200 metre-long elevated cycle ramp on the northern side of the Sydney harbour bridge, which had been long delayed due to community opposition.