The NSW Government has announced a list of urban and regional streets due for temporary transformations as part of their $15 million Streets as Shared Spaces program.
Launched in 2020, the program awards grants to councils for temporary activation projects that support the community during COVID-19 and test ideas for more permanent improvements to local streets, paths and public spaces.
The Streets as Shared Spaces program was designed to:
- support essential workers to travel to work, and people working from home
- contribute to NSW economic recovery in our local centres by creating vibrant streets and additional safe space to support local business
- activate high streets to create better quality public space
- support physical distancing requirements and encourage safe social connection
- support the well-being of local communities and their ability to exercise
- attract people back into public spaces in a safe way, when appropriate to do so
Amongst the 27 regional and 14 Greater Sydney councils who have been awarded grants, there were a number of bike-friendly improvements, including:
Ballina Shire Council
Project name: A Slow Path - Not A Fast Short Cut
Description: A program of temporary works that seeks to test a number of traffic calming elements and streetscape features aimed at improving safety and convenience for pedestrian and cyclists in and around Park Lane over a trial period of 8-9 months.
Project name: Place Making - Russell Avenue, San Souci
Description: The proposal is for a ‘pilot' trial opportunity to create community parklets alongside wide off-road cycleways where families feel safe to ride their bicycles - protected from traffic, whilst exploring local cafes before enjoying the paths and natural space of the Botany Bay’s foreshore.
Central Coast Council
Project name: Implementation of a Shared Zone and activation of The Esplanade, Umina Beach
Description: This project is to provide a shared zone in The Esplanade, Umina Beach between Ocean Beach Road and Trafalgar Avenue, to provide a safer environment, great amenity and activate the road to provide a pedestrian and bike priority-based space.
Coffs Harbour City Council
Project name: The Green Spine Pilot Project
Description: The Green Spine pilot project aims to trial a safe corridor for cycling and walking access along Coffs Harbour’s Harbour Drive during COVID-19.
Project name: Gilroy Road Separated Cycleway and Turramurra Shared Path
Description: The project is to test the cycleway proposed in Turramurra Public Domain Plan. It will provide a safer cycling route for all ages and link open spaces, as well as providing a link from residential areas to local centre and station away from higher traffic roads.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said: “It’s fantastic to see so many councils eager to provide new and improved public spaces for their communities, encouraging active transport and beautifying their streetscapes.”
These projects will transform neighbourhoods across the state, making it easier for people to walk or ride to local shops and services by creating safe, attractive and accessible streets and public spaces.”
This sets a strong example for other state governments looking to bounce back from the pandemic, particularly in Victoria where the full impact of changing transport habits are yet to be realised due to the extended lockdown.
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.