One of Wollongong CBD's main streets could become a one-way road by the end of the year, under a new council trial to prioritise bikes throughout the city.
The council revealed details of four cycling pilot projects on Wednesday, which are aimed at encouraging more people to ride bikes as part of the council's broader plan to turn Wollongong into a cycling destination.
The most dramatic plan is for Smith Street, which will become a one-way route for cars between Keira Street and Harbour Street to make space for a dedicated cycleway linking the harbour with the rail line bike path.
Parking for residents will remain on both sides along the one way section of the street, but the cycleway will take out the car route from Harbour to Keira Street.
The council will also convert parts of Kembla and Harbour streets to cycleways, and take out segments of on-street parking on these streets.
Outside the city, three streets each in Thirroul (Station, McCauley and Harbord streets) and Towradgi (Weber Cres, Carters Lane and Murranar Road) will have on-road bike markings, speed bumps and signs linking the station to the beach.
In Port Kembla the footpath on Darcy Road will be upgraded to a shared pathway and sections of Military Road will be converted to cycleway. The Hill 60-end of Military Road will have bicycle road markings and signs.
There also would be no on-street parking on the south side of Military Road between Olympic Boulevard and Church Street.
The council's infrastructure and works director Andrew Carfield said the pilot proposals were a quick way of testing out how effective new cycle-friendly infrastructure was, and stressed that the community would have time to provide their feedback on the plans.
"We're contacting the residents on the affected roads to let them know about the proposals and to seek their feedback on this concept, and we'll consider their comments and whether further changes are needed as we move forward towards a temporary rollout from October this year," he said.
"All these changes are not permanent.
"They're a way we're able to test the water, so to speak, and work with our residents on longer term changes that meet the changing needs of our community, and all our road users.''
The pilot projects will also required drivers to reduce their speed along the residential streets, with the placement of speed cushions to encourage reduced vehicle speeds in these locations.
Residents have until August 31 to submit their feedback to the four trial projects, with construction expected to start by October.
Councillor Mithra Cox, who has led the push to increase cycling investment, said she hoped people would be open-minded about the pilots, especially the one in the CBD.
"I think we should give this a go," she said.
"These things are always a little challenging as you get your head around how the new layout works, but there's plenty of other one-way streets that function absolutely fine.
"Yes it will take a little bit of getting used to... but Smith Street is kind of a grid and there's plenty of other streets that run in the same direction and make it easy to get to places.
"Making the street one-way is the trade off for keeping parking, for residents. And I think residents may actually find that it improves their street because it will mean that street is not a thoroughfare and will be limited to residential traffic only."
However, Cr Cox said she did not believe the plans for Thirroul and Towradgi went far enough to encourage cyclists, as they would not provide a safely separated cycleway.
"The thing that makes less confident riders, especially kids, feel confident is when there is a physical separation from a tonne of steel coming down the road towards them," she said.
"It's just not safe for those vulnerable riders to be sharing the space with cars."
If we are serious for making the city safe for bike riders it means providing physical separation, and other cities have done it quite cheaply by putting up bollards ... so it's quite possible to do it at a fairly low cost for a trial."