The Newcastle Greens are getting behind a bold proposal for a 160km network of safe, accessible and interconnected walking and cycling paths linking key locations across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
The proposal, dubbed the “Active Travel Transport Infrastructure Project 2016”, has been thoroughly researched and costed by community group CycleSafe Network, and represents best practice in evidence-based transport planning.
Greens candidate for the seat of Newcastle John Mackenzie is calling on the State Government to fund the $100 million proposal in the next NSW Budget. According to Mr Mackenzie, this represents a fraction of the money reaped by the Liberal Government from the sale of our public transport assets.
“As far as cost-effective government spending goes, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie cycleways are the smart money for a smart city,” said John Mackenzie.
“Cycleways are great value public investments that deliver a whole host of community benefits. They reduce stress on our roads and parking places, they cut pollution and traffic congestion, they improve community health and make smart transport choices safer and more convenient for families.”
“Access to quality cycleways also has a positive effect on property prices for homeowners, particularly for ambitious connectivity proposals like this one.”
Deputy Lord Mayor and Greens Councillor Michael Osborne also backed the proposal, saying that there were real benefits for non-cyclists and for those on the fence and considering the cycling alternative.
“The evidence shows that cycleways eliminate one of the major impediments for people considering getting onto their bikes: the risks to safety,” said Councillor Osborne. “By making cycling safe for families, cycleways do more to help people make the switch to a low carbon transport alternative.”
“Funding for this proposal is an obvious and necessary step to rebuild Newcastle’s community transport system, that has been left in tatters with the Liberal Government’s public transport cuts. It’s the very least that they can do,” said John Mackenzie.
The Transport Infrastructure project is supported by Bicycle NSW, the Tom Farrell Institute, the Newcastle Cycleways Movement and the Heart Foundation.
The CycleSafe Network is hosting a ‘drop-in’ community information session this Saturday (27th February) from 8am to 10:30am at the Watt Space Gallery, where people can find out more about the Network and what it means for Newcastle and Lake Macqaurie residents.