Sydney’s pop-up inner-city cycleways installed to help commuters return to work during the pandemic have become so popular that they occasionally overtake the city’s busiest bike paths, furthering calls to make them a permanent fixture.
The Pitt Street cycleway has seen an average of 4430 weekly trips since its installation in July, making it the most used of the eight inner-city routes on which cyclists are now taking between 10,000 and 20,000 trips per week.
The pop-up paths were rolled out gradually between July 2020 and February 2021 to encourage social distancing and reduce congestion on public transport as part of the NSW government’s CovidSafe Travel Plan.
The Pitt Street lane running through the spine of the CBD saw more cyclists than the Sydney Harbour Bridge – the city’s most popular established cycling path – on 23 days between August 2020 and March 2021.
Between July 2020 and April 2021, more than 500,000 trips had been taken across the pop-up cycleway network.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore said there were plans to make the Pitt Street cycleway, as well as the linked Henderson Road and Railway Parade cycleways, permanent. The remaining pop-ups would be kept in place while design options were explored.
“The growth in people riding on the Pitt Street cycleway is unparalleled, and the pop-up has also increased the space for people walking by allocating more footpath space,” Cr Moore said.
A longer version of this article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald.