The Liberal Government has batted away calls to fund an East-West cycling link following their decision to ban cyclists from the mixed running section of light rail in Newcastle where a cyclist tragically died in July.
Instead, in Budget Estimates today, bureaucrats pointed to a patchwork of options that are being considered that will force cyclists to take longer journeys or to risk unsafe routes.
While active transport links are reportedly being planned along major projects in Sydney, cycleways were included in early documents regarding the Newcastle Light Rail project but ultimately dropped from the project.
Shadow Minister for Active Transport, Jo Haylen, said: “We need a solution that is safe and convenient for cyclists, not the solution that is cheapest and most convenient for the Government.”
“The Liberal Government have admitted they botched critical safety audits and they owe it to the Newcastle community to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe.”
Tim Crakanthorp, Member for Newcastle said, “This is a disgrace. Newcastle Light Rail was a $650 million project and they failed to include active transport."
"If this had been done at the time, as it should have, we could have had a well-integrated cycle link across Newcastle's CBD and no doubt would have been at a lower cost."
“It’s clear that the safest option is an east-west bi-directional cycleway and this Government needs to stop tinkering around the edges and fix their mistake."
“The Minister needs to immediately clarify how the Government has responded to its own recommendations and urgently commit to funding the east-west link.”