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Feedback sought on expanding cycling network across the city

Cycling-Strategy

The northern cycleway between Waniora Point and Sandon Point, Bulli.

AN additional 50km of on-road cycling routes, and 35km of off-road routes – including 15 new cycleways – is under consideration in Wollongong City Council’s ‘Draft Cycling Strategy 2030’.

The document will be available on public exhibition for six weeks after Council decided last night (Monday June 29) to seek community input on the ambitious strategy. The Strategy, which will be available on Council’s Join the Conversation pages this week for community feedback. The pages include interactive maps where people will be able to see the proposed cycling routes and ‘drop’ in their comments and feedback.

The strategy would expand Wollongong’s present shared path and cycling network from 150km to almost 215km. The plan aims to double the region’s cycling participation by 2030. It includes targets for higher numbers of cycling trips to work; lower numbers of cycling-related crashes; and increased female participation in cycling.

Council considered 350 stakeholder submissions in the development of the draft strategy. It will now be open for public comment over the next 42 days, after which Council will seek to adopt a final strategy.

Research for the draft Strategy showed the city has a diverse range of skill and confidence levels when it comes to cycling. Less than one per cent of people considered themselves as confident cyclists like on-road commuters or enthusiasts, three per cent said they were cautious cyclists who only cycled recreationally or avoided traffic and 26 per cent said they were non-riders who were interested but concerned over safety, comfort or convenience.

Men were twice as likely to ride than women and cyclists under 10 years are far more likely to ride than teenagers.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Council looked at statistics, road shared paths and separated cycling routes. Cr Bradshaw said Council has listened to the desire for bicycle parking and connections between bike paths, shops and public transport and this document responds to those comments.

“Through this strategy we’re actually realigning the priority delivery of significant routes, including looking at east-west routes in the CBD, and considering the reallocation of road space.’’

“This is an ambitious draft strategy with ambitious plans but I believe our community will be interested and support Council’s focus on supporting this activity and the infrastructure it requires,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“This is an ambitious draft strategy with ambitious plans but I believe our community will be interested and support Council’s focus on supporting this activity and the infrastructure it requires,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“I encourage everyone to have a read and share their thoughts. After all, this draft strategy is for the whole of our community.’’

Greens councillor Mithra Cox said Council’s cycling budget has been radically increased to add an additional 15 cycleways in the next financial year, following a huge response from the community.

“Wollongong has been waiting a long time for decent bike infrastructure,” Cr Cox said.

“I am so thrilled to see such a significant increase in cycling infrastructure in our city. It will change the way we can get around.

“I want to be safe when I’m riding my bike, and I want my kids to be safe.

“This budget will see the rapid roll out of safe, separated bike paths. It will see a huge improvement in safety and quality of life for our residents.”

The Heart Foundation’s Andy Mark congratulated Council for its visionary, long-term and strategic approach to boosting cycling participation in this region and has encouraged residents to have their say on the strategy.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, large numbers of people across the Wollongong region have discovered or even rediscovered the joys of simple forms of exercise such as cycling and walking,” he said.

“Around 65 per cent of people in the Illawarra region are not physically active enough for good health. Boosting the opportunities and facilities for cycling will go a long way towards making us not only a more active community, but healthier and happier.

“The long-term approach to this strategy will support people in the Illawarra to use cycling for activity and travel for many years to come.”


 

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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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