Greens plan to build a bike track on every Wollongong street

Cycling was a big focus for the Greens candidates, pictured, during the Wollongong council elections. Picture: Adam McLean.
Cycling was a big focus for the Greens candidates, pictured, during the Wollongong council elections. Picture: Adam McLean.

In 30 years, every street in Wollongong would have a dedicated cycleway and bikes would outnumber cars on roads throughout the city.

That is the future vision being proposed by Greens councillor Mithra Cox, who says she has become increasingly frustrated with all the talk of fixing roads since being elected to the council.

On Monday night, Cr Cox will propose the creation of a three decade plan to transform Wollongong into a world-leader for active transport.

According to her notice of motion this would mean that, by 2050, every road in the local government area would have a bike track physically separated from car traffic and residents would make more trips using bikes than cars.

Cr Cox said she realised her plan was “pretty ambitious” but believed there were a number of overseas examples which proved her vision for a cycling utopia was possible.

“The city of Copenhagen is a really interesting case study – because they haven’t always been a cycling city. In the 60s, it was as car choked as any other city, and they made a conscious decision to change that,” she said.

“People there said ‘oh, it’s too cold, we don’t have the outdoorsy culture, it will never work’ but the city did it anyway, and as soon as there was safe infrastructure for people to ride on, people’s behaviour changed.

“Now, only nine per cent of people in Copenhagen drive to work.”

Since 2014, Wollongong City Council has adopted many of the city planning philosophies from Copenhagen-based firm Gehl Architects, and Cr Cox said the 30 year cycling plan would align with many of the council’s existing strategies.

“What I’m asking for is a 30 year plan to be developed – we won’t have a cycleway on every street tomorrow, but we need to plan with that eventuality in mind,” she said.

“So whenever we upgrade a road or upgrade a footpath, we would design all the elements so there is enough room for bikes.”

Councillors will vote on the motion next week.