The City of Newcastle is finalising work on the Hunter Street Trial Cycleway project, growing the city’s active transport options. 

The cycleway, which stretches between National Park Street and Worth Place, runs on both sides of Hunter Street, separated from the road and traffic.

City of Newcastle received $525,000 as part of the New South Wales Government’s Streets as Shared Spaces program to deliver the cycleway and trial a range of safety measures.

The project trials a reduction to one travel lane on each side of the road to improve pedestrian safety and allow for parking to be retained, a reduction in the speed limit to 40km/h, and safe buffer zones with plastic bollards.

Newcastle Lord Mayor, Nuatali Nelmes, said the community has been clear in stating it would like to see more dedicated bike lanes throughout the city.

“Cycling is a genuine transport option for families, commuters and recreational users, which is why expansion and improvement of the cycleway network is essential and stands as one of the city’s Priority Projects,” Mayor Nelmes said.

“Cycling on Hunter Street could be considered daunting for less confident riders. The project provides cyclists more room and safety.

“It’s important our cycleways and shared paths cater to all riding ability and this project achieves that. We hope it encourages more people to consider swapping their car for their bike when travelling around the city.”

Councillor John Mackenzie said cycling around the city is becoming increasingly popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During lockdown we have seen a massive increase in people dusting off their bikes and enjoying cycling. We know the main impediment to cycling is safety, and separated cycleways like this one on Hunter Street provide the best safety and amenity for new riders,” Cr Mackenzie said.

NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said he was glad to see new cycleway infrastructure in Newcastle.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the demand for more public spaces – and easy, safe access to it,” Mr Stokes said.

“Whether it’s new cycle lanes, pedestrian-only streets or wider footpaths, we’re committed to working with councils and communities to fund projects that can make life better for everyone – both now and once the pandemic is over.”

President of the Newcastle Cycleways Movement, Sam Reich, said he was supportive of the project and the measures being put in place.

“We’re extremely pleased with the concept of the Hunter Street Trial Cycleway as global experience has shown that one-way, physically-separated lanes between the parking zone and the curb are the safest on-road infrastructure for bike riders, and provide greater safety and amenity for pedestrians on the footpath as well,” Mr Reich said.

“We have been advocating for this style of bike commuter safety infrastructure in the region for decades, and it’s gratifying that the concepts are now being seriously trialled.”

Delivery of the Hunter Street cycleway will soon be followed by completion of the first stage of the City Centre to Merewether Cycleway, which is a 1.1km shared path along Watkins Street, between Glebe Road and Merewether Beach.

All aspects of the trial will be considered as options for inclusion in the City Centre Revitalisation West End Stage Two development, which is currently in the detailed design phase.

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