Riding your bike to work or school, or even out to dinner, in the Northern Illawarra and in to Wollongong, could become a serious option.
If Ward One Councillor Mithra Cox and her Greens councillors have their way, over the next 30 years, Wollongong will become a bike-friendly city which rivals Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
The Greens are calling on Wollongong Council to take control of the matter, saying it’s urban planning that makes a city bike-friendly, so we have to start now!
They say Council should make changes within its realm of responsibility to improve our city for future generations. And that includes the Northern Illawarra.
Councillor Cox and the Greens have put up a Notice of Motion for consideration at next week’s Council meeting to develop a 30 year plan which sees every road with a dedicated cycleway, physically separated from traffic, by 2050.
“Our local trains only run once an hour, many buses don’t run at all on weekends, we have hardly any cycleways, and many streets don’t even have footpaths,” says Cr Cox.“We have been made car-dependent by urban design decisions.
“In cities where there is dedicated infrastructure, cycling is the norm. But when it feels unsafe, as it does in Wollongong, people drive.
“Wollongong Council is not responsible for our trains. Council is not responsible for buses, and we don’t have the responsibility to build a light rail. But we are responsible for footpaths and cycleways, and we can change the lives of our citizens by providing safe and universal cycleways.
“People make excuses that Wollongong is not suited to riding bikes because we are hilly, or do not have a culture of bike riding, but the evidence does not back this up. Hilly Switzerland has some of the most bike-friendly cities in the world.
“People made the same arguments that Copenhagen was too cold, or did not have an outdoor culture suitable to bikes – but they spent 30 years investing in cycling infrastructure and are now considered the top city for cycling in the world.
“Urban design, not climate or topography, is the key factor that makes a city safe and pleasant for riding a bike,” Ms Cox says.