The NSW Greens have today announced their support for $164 million over 8 years to be invested in an improved cycling and walking network for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
The proposal, known as the Cyclesafe Network, will connect 90 kilometres of existing cycleway and path infrastructure with 140km of new construction. This will be delivered in three stages over 8 years.
The Greens are calling for full state government funding of this project in recognition that it is state significant infrastructure. The current mode of 50-50 state government and local council funding for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure is broken as it leads to a patchwork of different projects. For a modern city like Newcastle we need an integrated network delivered by the state government.
NSW Greens Spokesperson for Active Transport Cate Faehrmann said,
“Under this proposal, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie will have a world-class active transport network that will make it safe and viable for locals to cycle or walk every day to work, school, university, shops and playgrounds.”
“The Cyclesafe Network is based on best practice transport design principles that work to make cycling a safe, attractive and feasible mode of travel. The proposed routes and connections are evidence-based to maximise accessibility to schools, community facilities and amenities, and provide ‘whole of journey’ access.”
“With this investment, Newcastle will have connected, family-friendly routes, easy way finding and world class infrastructure which all community members, regardless of age or ability, would be able to use.
“Cycleways are great value public investments that deliver a whole host of community benefits. They reduce stress on our roads and parking places, they cut pollution and traffic congestion, they improve community health and make smart transport choices safer and more convenient for families.”
“Access to quality cycleways also has a positive effect on property prices for homeowners, particularly for ambitious connectivity proposals like this one.”
“If just 5% of employed people living within the network used cycling for travel to and from work (less than 10km away), the total monetised benefit would be $50 million per year, paying back the cost of building the network in just over three years.
Bicycle NSW General Manager for Public Affairs Bastien Wallace welcomed the commitment, highlighting the opportunity for the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Cyclesafe Investment to act as a national study that could quantify benefits of cycleway investments. Ms Wallace said,
“The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie investment provides an opportunity to get robust data from before and after, to show what investment in cycleway infrastructure provides. The ‘living lab’ environment of Newcastle provides a way to determine the payback on investment in separated cycleways, including health benefits, pollution reduction, reduction in congestion and reduction in parking stress.”
Greens Councillor for the City of Newcastle John Mackenzie said,
“All of the evidence around the world shows that cycleways eliminate the major impediment for people considering getting onto their bikes: the risk to safety. By making cycling safe for young people, the elderly and families, cycleways enable people to make the switch to a low carbon transport alternative.”
Cate Faehrmann: 0412 207 043
John Mackenzie: 0408 533 010
Bastien Wallace - Bicycle NSW: 0416 598 586
The Cyclesafe Network (CSN) proposal is a system of family safe, easily navigated and usefully connected cycling, walking and shared paths across the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. The proposal is to connect 90km of existing paths with 140km of new construction to deliver an active transport network which will encourage locals to cycle or walk every day to work, school, university, shops and other locations.
Currently 68% of all travel to work journeys in the region are single car drivers and only 1.1% of the population cycles to work and 2.6% of the population walks to work. Currently 40% of car trips are less than 2km and 80% are less than 10km.
The aim of the network is to make walking and cycling for short trips – less than 2km for walking and less than 10 km for cycling – a viable alternative to car travel. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are ideally suited to active travel due to gentle topography and a mild climate and as the region grows, it is essential that active transport infrastructure be built to accommodate increased travel demands.
In addition, the CSN will also deliver health benefits to the population of the Hunter region by increasing physical activity as part of everyday life. This will help reduce childhood obesity by 5% over 10 years.
This document puts forward a proposal for the CSN to be developed as a co-ordinated transport infrastructure project, to be delivered in 3 phases over 8 years.
Estimates indicate that the CSN could be delivered for $164 million over 8 years as:
- Phase 1 – 26 km - $31 million
- Phase 2 – 55 km - $73.3 million
- Phase 3 – 42 km – $55.9 million