The plan to turn Wollongong into a world-leading cycling location is set to be adopted next week, after it received widespread support from residents and business groups throughout the city.
And, in more good news for the city's cycling community - the council is set to award the $1.2 million contract to allow work on the much-anticipated Cringila Hills mountain bike playground.
Urging councillors to adopt the 10-year plan to prioritise and increase cycling, council staff say it's time to capitalise on "unprecedented collaboration" - thanks to COVID-19, the upcoming UCI World Road Cycling Championships and a push towards zero emissions - which will help improve cycling in the region.
"The Cycling Strategy 2030 marks a clear turning point in Council's vision for bike riding across Wollongong for our community," staff said.
Over the next decade, under the strategy, there will be 85 kilometres of new cycleways constructed including 50km of on-road cycling routes and 35km of off-road cycling routes.
These will include more separated links between residential areas and town centres and new east-west riding routes along Elliotts Road, Fairy Meadow, Railway Street, Corrimal, Military Road, Port Kembla and Fairy Creek in Wollongong.
The council will also work with the NSW government to fund significant cycleways alongside regional and state roads, including the Princes Highway, Crown Street and Lawrence Hargrave Drive.
The city centre will become a "cycling district", with bike riding incorporated into building designs and other planning decisions.
Starting within weeks, the council will use a NSW government grant to trial pop-up bike lanes in Towradgi, Port Kembla, Thirroul and Wollongong's Smith Street, which will be closed to traffic one-way to allow for it to become a connecting bike route.
The council will also lobby the government to change the rules so cyclists can ride on all footpaths, unless signposted otherwise, and will work on developing more positive community perceptions of bike riding.
Cycling will also become safer, with a target to reduce cycling-related crashes. More women - who currently make up a minority of cyclists - will also be encouraged to participate.
With increased investment and a focus on safety and education programs, the council hopes to increase weekly cycling participation from 12.9 per cent to 20 per cent by 2030.
In addition to its sweeping new strategy, the council has also recently funded a number of significant cycling upgrades, including the Cringila Hills mountain bike playground.
Next Monday, councillors are being urged to accept the $1.2 million tender from Dirt Art Pty Ltd to complete the first stage of mountain bike and walking trails within the new park.
This includes the detailed design and construction of 11.5km of mountain bike trails, and formalising and enhancing up to 3.1km of the existing informal walking trail network.
The scope of the tender also includes weed management, revegetation of part of the trail corridor, installation of signage and allowances for the management of contamination and illegally dumped wastes discovered during construction.
When completed, the underused land between Cringila and Berkeley will become a tourist attraction, which will also have picnic areas and a new children's playground, as well as a skill park and pump track for bike riders.
Work on the trails project is due to begin in January, and all going to plan, will be complete by July, the council's tender specifications said in September.