The City of Sydney Council and Marrickville Council (joint custodians of Newtown) both have excellent cycling strategies online (Sydney and Marrickville). One key difference though is that Marrickville council have recently cut their cycling budget - despite the best intentions of the Greens - whereas Sydney Council are spending millions on implementing theirs.
The above dichotomy reveals are more general problem with cycle paths in Sydney. Given the state government's complete lack of interest in cycling, it's left in the hands of local councils. As a result, cycle paths (where they exists) typically stop at council boundaries (or anywhere else where the money happns to run out). The classic example of this in Newtown is the way the Stanmore - Newtown cycleway peters out at the corner of King Street and Mary Street, with an unfriendly one way street between it and the aforementioned Wilson Street cycle highway.
Amazingly there is a detailed plan to fix this intersection and unify these paths (on page 101 of Marrickville's cycle strategy) although no details on timing or funding (nor even whether the RTA would agree to losing one lane of one of the few East - West routes in inner-Sydney).
Sydney Council has recently announced plans for a Cycle Hub at Taylor Square. The planned hub will include showers and a bike repair centre. There are doubts about whether this is the right location for the hub; on the positive side it's on the intersection of three major cycle routes; on the other hand it's not clear it's close enough to offices to be really useful for commuters.
Newtown's Hub would seem like an obvious site for a similar facility (we can't let Surry Hills get one up on us) - perhaps associated with the community centre in my old office (a.k.a the Town Hall) - situated as it is at the intersection of several bike routes. It could act as a de facto bike parking facility for Newtown Station, given that Railcorp will not commit to decent bike facilities. What do you think ?
In Part 2 I'll discuss in more detail some of the local routes in and around Newtown and planned upgrades; in the meantime here are some (hopefully) useful links - let me know if I've missed any !
- Bike Sydney
BIKESydney was formed in 2000 to help look after the Sydney City Council Area (Australia) and is affiliated with Bicycle NSW.
Local bicycle group covering Marrickville and former South Sydney Council areas. The group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre at 7:30pm.
- Bicycle NSW
Peak cycling body providing advice, insurance, ride events bike shop discounts and Australian Cyclist magazine to members
- RTA Cycleways
The RTA has produced Cycleway maps for Newcastle, Central Coast, Illawarra and Sydney regions.
- Sydney Community College
Offers short affordable cycling courses to improve your skills and confidence in riding a bike.