Sydney pop-up extension puts key bike corridor in the spotlight

A pop-up cycleway in Sydney's inner east will offer bike riders protection for some time yet.

The Moore Park Road cycleway was installed in 2020 to act as an important but temporary link between Bondi Junction and the Sydney CBD, until the Oxford Street East cycleway was completed nearby.

The City of Sydney has voted 9-1 in favour of its continued operation until 2026.

A map of Sydney cycleways. Moore Park Road can been in the bottom right corner, and Oxford Street nearby to the north

The NSW Government released new, high-level strategic designs for the bidirectional Oxford Street East cycleway earlier this year, but construction delays have pushed a start date back to late 2023. The project continues to face fierce opposition from small business.  

A Bicycle NSW petition to ensure the cycleway goes ahead attracted more than 100 signatures within 48 hours on Sunday 28 May. People are encouraged to write to their local MP to voice their support for the project, and contact details are available on the petition page. 

Meanwhile, the temporary pop-up Moore Park Road cycleway has proved increasingly popular for bike riders moving through the area. A trip counter installed by Transport for NSW logged an average of 1915 trips per week in February 2021. As of February this year, it was recording 500 trips on weekdays and 350 on Saturdays and Sundays, amounting to around 3200 per week.

Bike riders appear drawn to this 1.7km stretch of separated infrastructure and demonstrate the demand for safe routes through this part of Sydney, although it too has attracted its share of backlash.

Detractors include Rugby Australia, who raised concerns over access to its driveway and described the cycleway as "extremely dangerous for cyclists, pedestrians and road users", in a letter to the City of Sydney.

There have been no crashes reported to police since the cycleway was installed, while previously an average of 2.3 where reported each year between 2009 and 2019, Bicycle NSW noted in its submission to the pop-up extension proposal. A bike rider died following a collision with a truck on Moore Park Road in 2018.

Further to their advocacy efforts in getting the pop-up cycleway extended, Bicycle NSW, BIKEeast and other advocacy groups are pushing for Moore Park Road to be made permanent.

Keeping the Moore Park Road cycleway and the forthcoming Oxford Street cycleway will create a close but complementary pair of protected bike routes. 

"There is some horse-trading going on with this opposition to these cycleways, and guess where the opposition is coming from? Motorists," says advocacy coordinator at BIKEast, Andrew Moss. "You wouldn't say to drivers, you've already got a good route into the city, you don't need another one, so why should we do the same to bike riders?"