State Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp has called for Stewart Avenue and King Street intersection works to be cancelled and the funding redirected to the provision of active transport through the Newcastle CBD.
Late on Thursday it was announced that the $1.4 million project to construct a slip lane through Birdwood Park had been placed on hold following strong community opposition to the removal of large fig trees that would have been required.
Noting the community opposition, Mr Crakanthorp made representations to Transport Minister Andrew Constance on 9 July and requested for the demand for the slip lane to be reviewed.
Announced in 2018, the intersection works had been determined as part of the light rail project.
Mr Crakanthorp said that with such a significant groundswell against the slip lane, the funding should instead be redirected to active transport provision, such as a separated east-west cycleway through the city to encourage drivers to leave the car at home.
Last year the Centre for Road Safety identified “intolerable” risks to cyclists in the mixed-running section of the light, reinforcing long-standing community calls for a separated cycleway to be constructed through the city centre.
“If the Government is happy to spend $1.4 million on a transport project that is not wanted, let’s keep that money in the city and spend it on a transport project that we do actually want,” he said.
“An east-west separated cycleway will have enormous safety benefits for its users.
“What’s more important – saving a few seconds on a left-hand turn or potentially saving a life?”
Mr Crakanthorp’s recent School Safety Survey also identified deficiencies in active transport around schools.