Good question! If you don't ride a bike, you may be wondering how the cycleway will benefit you, or if it will impact you negatively. But turns out that there are many benefits to the whole community, even if you don't ride a bike!
And parking in the bus lane will still be allowed, just like it is now! See the mythbusting section below.
You can expand these to learn more about each one!
Less noise, a nicer atmosphere, and thriving businesses
Roads filled with fast and noisy car traffic are not places where people want to gather, stay, shop or eat.
Take a look at the decline of Oxford Street in recent years, whilst places like George Street in the city, where car traffic has been reduced, are thriving.
As an increasing amount of traffic has turned what was once a high street into an unpleasant place to be, shopping centres like Westfield Bondi Junction have become a more popular alternative to Oxford Street.
The cycleway will restore Paddington's cosmopolitan feel.
The cycleway will also bring an influx of bike riders to Oxford Street, who are much more aware of the shops they are passing compared to people in cars, and who can stop quickly if something catches their eye without having to worry about reversing or finding parking.
More independence and better health for kids
In previous generations, the vast majority kids would walk or ride to school. Today, the majority of parents drive their kids to school due to safety concerns caused by fast-moving car traffic.
The cycleway will allow more kids to ride to school on their bikes, and allow more parents to feel comfortable letting their children walk, as there will be less car traffic on Oxford Street.
This is what it looks like to ride to school on Oxford Street currently — you can see why most parents don't feel comfortable with it, leading to kids missing out on vital physical activity and mental health benefits.
Improved safety for people walking
Tragically, seven people were injured by cars whilst walking along this section of Oxford Street from 2017-2021. Of these, five attended the emergency department and two were admitted to hospital. This is not how anyone wants their visit to Oxford Street to end.
The cycleway will let more people hop on their bike and leave their car at home, which means a safer environment for people walking.
Yes, just like drivers, there are badly behaved riders too, but would you prefer to meet a badly behaved rider on a bike, or a badly behaved driver in a 2-ton vehicle?
The proposal also includes wider footpaths and reduced crossing distances, which creates a more pleasant walkable environment.
Less traffic congestion
As part of the proposal, one traffic lane in each direction will be removed. This extra space will be used to add a cycleway and make more space for people walking.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it's been shown time and time again that reducing the number of lanes on a street leads to fewer car trips, meaning the traffic doesn't get any worse!
- Mary decides to drive to the city via William Street instead of Oxford Street from her home in Bellevue Hill
- Kate decides to take the bus instead (which is now faster because it doesn't have to slow for bikes in the bus lane)
- Sharon decides to hop on her bike instead for the 2km trip to the dentist, as she feels safe with the new cycleway
- Peter decides to drive to the shops later in the day when there is less traffic
This doesn't mean that you will have to stop driving on Oxford Street, it means all the people who want to less than you do won't be on the road slowing down traffic.
This makes the street work better for everyone — a nicer place to walk through, a nicer place to drive through, a nicer place to be.
Better air quality
Air quality is a real issue for residents, shoppers and people walking on Oxford Street. We know that exposure to car exhaust causes increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, and asthma. There is also some evidence prolonged exposure can cause mental changes including anxiety, depression and impaired memory.
By reducing the amount of car traffic on Oxford Street, and moving the traffic lanes further away from the footpath, the cycleway will improve the air quality on Oxford Street.
You may naturally have some concerns around the cycleway, which is completely understandable! Here are some answers to some common concerns and questions we get.
What happens to my parking spot?
Good question! Whenever a new cycleway is announced, it can make people nervous that their parking lane will be replaced with the cycleway.
The good news is that for the Oxford Street East Cycleway, the parking lanes won't be removed!
At the moment, the bus lanes can be used for parking outside of peak hours. Transport for NSW will continue this arrangement once the cycleway is built.
The extra space will instead come from removing one traffic lane in each direction. This not only allows room for the cycleway, but it also enables Transport for NSW to widen the existing traffic lanes and make extra space for people walking.
The reduction in traffic lanes will reduce the amount of car traffic on Oxford Street and make it a nicer place to be, but if you're concerned about the impacts on traffic, check the next Mythbusting item!
What do you think?
If this all sounds good, go ahead and sign the petition! It will help ensure the project goes ahead.
If you're still not convinced or have remaining concerns, that's completely understandable! Shoot an email to [email protected] with your concerns or questions and we'll do our best to address them better.