The completion of the Sydney CBD’s half-built network of bike lanes will have to wait until the construction impact of the city’s light-rail project is known, says the state’s top transport bureaucrat, while refusing to give a date for any new lanes to be built.
Director-general of transport for NSW Les Wielinga frustrated Clover Moore and cycling advocates at a traffic and transport meeting on Tuesday, denying the lord mayor approval for bike lanes that had been in the planning for three years.
‘‘Given that light rail is going to change the face of the CBD very significantly, we are advancing that detailed planning work to make sure we can actually carry out all these changes … while all this construction is going on,’’ Mr Wielinga said.
He said the state would need to work out what could be done before construction starts on the light rail next year, and what should be postponed until after it was built.
Tuesday’s meeting of the central Sydney traffic and transport committee was the joint council-state government organisation’s second, after it was created more than a year ago by Premier Barry O’Farrell to take control of CBD transport planning. The committee’s government members had promised to present an ‘‘access strategy’’ for light rail, bus, car, bike, pedestrian and taxi movements through the CBD by early this year, but Mr Wielinga said that strategy remained some weeks away.
It would only be after that strategy was finalised, and after it had government approval, that work could start on any projects discussed in it.
In state Parliament on Tuesday, Roads Minister Duncan Gay mocked Cr Moore and the “halfwits of city hall” for signing a construction tender on the Kent Street extension that will cost ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars if it is delayed beyond the end of this month.
Cr Moore said the government’s reasoning for delaying the Kent Street project sounded like ‘‘double speak’’ and said the recommendation for a delay of unspecified length was ‘‘frankly shocking’’.
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