Bold bike vision for Wollongong's future

• Watch bike ride from Mangerton to UOW

Riding to work will be twice as common, crashes will be reduced by 25 per cent and cyclists will have access to a large network of new paths and roads under the Wollongong City Council's five-year bike plan

The draft plan, due to go on public exhibition after next week's council meeting, outlines strategies to get more residents on their bikes between now and 2018.

According to a staff report, this would improve public health, create more equitable access to transport, reduce road congestion, benefit the environment and lead to economic development through bicycle tourism.

Wollongong now has a 180-kilometre cycling network, including 92 kilometres of shared paths - which allow for both cyclists and pedestrians or cyclists and cars - and 78 kilometres of on-road shoulder lanes.

However, use of this network for commuting to work remains low: only 642 Wollongong residents - or 0.8 per cent of the city's population - cycled to work on census day in 2011.

The council hopes to double this by 2018, by constructing new pathways and bike lanes, marking new lines and installing signage to make the cycling network larger and easier to use.

The highest priority for the expanded network is the city centre which would benefit from at least two formal east-west and two north-south bicycle connections linking the CBD to surrounding areas.

Other key cycling links include the first stage of the Grand Pacific Walk in Stanwell Park, the Princes Highway between Northcliffe Drive and Kembla Grange, sections of Kanahooka Road and the route between Figtree and the University of Wollongong.

The council would also install extra short-stay bicycle parking at "key trip generators and attractors".

The draft plan will be available on the council's website from April 8 and open for comment until early May.

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