Sydney is going through a bit of a renaissance, ever since they changed the liquor licensing laws there have been lots of little bars popping up, more and more cafes and restaurants are licensed.
Cycling is also getting a bit of a revival, its difficult to ignore the increased number of people riding bikes as transport in Sydney over the last few years. Clover Moore and the City of Sydney have been out pimping it pretty hard, whether it works long term is another thing. A lot of councils around Sydney seem to like pointless token crap like painting bike symbols on the road to make themselves feel smug and green rather than actually making real efforts to improve cycling infrastructure
"Many people will have noticed the white bicycle symbols recently painted on Ashfield's roads. 94 are already in place and another 200 plus are in the process of being applied during 2010. They indicate that the road is part of our ‘Local Street Bike Route Network'. This is a series of routes which have been identified during our bike forum as cyclist friendly and the symbols increase driver awareness of bike users. When the whole set of white bicycles has been put in place the network will stretch over 10km. "
As you could imagine, I'm still wondering how some token stencil jobs will really create a network. How about actually making some real effort and creating some proper bike lanes?
The City of Sydney has been quite busy though, I've been keeping watch of the construction of the Bourke St cycleway, the finished path is supposed to go from near Green Square where it starts up to Taylor Square. However the City of Sydney keeps on insisting to build narrow bi-directional bike paths. I can see several problems with these, the width of a single is quite narrow and makes the chance of a collision with an oncoming cyclist more likely.
The first dedicated separated cycle lane in Sydney CBD was on King St, the idea was good but the implementation was pretty poor. The bi-directionality was good as it meant you could leave the city and connect with the Pyrmont bridge route over the Anzac bridge, prior to this you had to go down the footpath as King St is one way going into the city.
The King St cycle lane in the Sydney CBD
The first problem was that the light phasing for the special bike red light was the same as the pedestrian crossing, this meant that you had a small window of green, otherwise cars had preference. Many people would just right for cars and ignore the red bike light and just ride across through to the other side, why should bikes have to wait while cars get to go? The RTA is responsible for the crap light phasing and their implementation shows how (un)seriously they take cycling as transport.
The other major bike lane under construction is the Bourke St lane which is proposed to link Green Square with Taylor Square. I don't know why they are concentrating on making the end point of the path Taylor Square as opposed to the CBD, I suspect its probably politics.
Again the path is median strip seperated and still bidirectional, I'm not sure of the actual design process they went through but the lanes are still very narrow. The optimist in me suspects that they could in the future install another lane on the other side of the road which they could make going the other way and turn both into uni-directional lanes. Time will tell.
I was going down the Bourke St lane myself and it was covered in leaves, whilst the rest of the road was nice and clean, I mumbled to myself why the hell don't they sweep the bike lane? they just are treating us like second class citizens blah blah. Anyway, wouldn't you know it, a street sweeper was doing that exactly.
Thanks City of Sydney :)