Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

A bike city with no bike parking budget! Greens call for small change

In 2021 Wollongong became the only Australian city with a  prestigious UCI Bike City label. While this title recognises a commitment to funding cycling at all levels, the issue of cycle parking or “end of trip facilities” has been sadly overlooked.

Jess Whittaker and others on a Wollongong bike path, ocean in background.Greens candidate for Lord Mayor and Ward 1 Jess Whittaker said: “Council has confirmed there is no budget for new bike parking anywhere in the city. This means that requests for a new bike rack at popular destinations are put onto a priority list with no funding for action.

“This is a short sighted approach to ad hoc planning. If we want a great city where we can cycle and walk around, we need a dedicated budget for bike parking just as we have a dedicated budget for footpaths and shared pathways.

“And then there’s the problem of bike theft, which is a growing problem around the country especially with the phenomenal uptake of electric bikes. As more people are turning to cycling to move about our wonderful city, we need our bike parking to keep up and provide a mix of safe and secure options to park our bikes in our local villages and popular destinations.

“Without adequate bike parking cyclists are forced to make do with the nearest street sign or piece of street furniture, which can be some distance away or cause footpath obstructions. Bike parking can’t be overlooked for Wollongong to live up to its prestigious bike city title.

“The State government has also failed to deliver on secure bike parking at transport hubs. In 2016 The Illawarra Mercury reported OPAL activated bike sheds could be coming to Wollongong train stations, unfortunately eight years later we are still waiting.  Meanwhile many hundreds of bikes have been stolen from unsecure racks at train stations, some people losing multiple bikes and trying many different DIY strategies to protect them from theft.

“If elected Lord Mayor, I’d like to use my experience of being treated poorly as a cyclist in Wollongong to change attitudes and encourage more people to feel supported and safe on their bikes. We have everything to gain from becoming a great city to cycle around. It’s better for your health, our air quality, our streets and our social life. So we need to budget for  the opportunities to make Wollongong an easy city to cycle and walk around.” 

 

For comment:

Jess Whittaker 

Email: [email protected]

Available for comment Thursday (am) or Friday.