The NSW Greens have called on the major political parties to match their support for a state-funded $164 million safe cycleway network in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Members of the party were joined by representatives of Bicycle NSW and the Newcastle Cycleways Movement for a ride from Wickham to Customs House on Thursday morning.
The group of cyclists were led by Greens MLC Care Faehrmann, who said the party would support a $164 million investment over eight years to connect 90 kilometres of existing cycleway and paths with 140km of new infrastructure.
“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,” she said.
“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."
Bicycle NSW's Bastien Wallace said the network could act as a national study to quantify benefits of cycleway investments.
“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," she said.
"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.”
Ms Faehrmann added: “If just 5 per cent of employed people living within the network used cycling for travel to and from work, the total monetised benefit would be $50 million per year, paying back the cost of building the network in just over three years."