Artist impression of the Oxford Street cycleway. (Supplied)
Artist impression of the Oxford Street cycleway. (Supplied)
2 min read

Brace yourselves, Sydney drivers – Oxford Street, the city’s vibrant artery, is about to undergo a drastic transformation. Construction on a dedicated cycleway is officially underway, promising a smoother ride for cyclists but potentially throwing traffic into disarray.

This near-1km project, stretching from Castlereagh Street to Taylor Square, carves away a significant chunk of road space for a two-way cycle lane. While cyclists rejoice at the prospect of a safer journey, motorists face a future fraught with congestion and frustration. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, ever the cycling advocate, celebrated the project’s launch, seemingly oblivious to the potential traffic nightmare.

While safety improvements are undeniable, the impact on traffic flow remains a looming concern. Experts warn of gridlock becoming the new norm on Oxford Street, a once-free-flowing thoroughfare. The project boasts of “minimal changes” to existing parking, but these alterations, coupled with the cycle lane, could translate to significant delays, especially during peak hours.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore with City staff and contractors as construction gathers pace on the Oxford Street West cycleway project. Credit: Nick Langley/City of Sydney
Lord Mayor Clover Moore with City staff and contractors as construction gathers pace on the Oxford Street West cycleway project. Credit: Nick Langley/City of Sydney

Lord Mayor Clover Moore was joined by our contractors, Mack Civil, turning the first sod on a section of the project near Hyde Park.

“Oxford Street is our most popular street for riding, but it also has the most reported bike crashes of any street in our area. This dedicated cycleway will give thousands of people confidence to safely get around on two wheels,” Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO said.

“When we install safe cycling infrastructure we regularly see the number of people riding that route double in the first 12 months. We know more people want to ride, but will only do so when they feel it’s safe – that’s why we’re working so hard to complete our bike network.

“This important project will also calm traffic, create a buffer that makes the footpath more pleasant and increase the number of people using the street, all of which will make Oxford Street an even more vibrant part of our city.”

Beyond the immediate traffic woes, the project threatens the very essence of Oxford Street. This iconic strip, known for its bustling shops, cafes, and nightlife, could see its character fundamentally altered. The loss of road space might translate to fewer parking options, potentially deterring customers and hindering businesses. The addition of a physical barrier between cyclists and traffic could also create a more sterile and impersonal atmosphere, a stark contrast to the current vibrant energy.

The project is just one piece of a larger puzzle, with the state government aiming to connect the eastern suburbs to the city centre via a dedicated cycle network. While the long-term vision prioritizes alternative modes of transport, the immediate consequences for Oxford Street and its users seem far from ideal.

The City of Sydney anticipates completion by year’s end, weather permitting. However, many Sydneysiders fear the project might usher in an era of permanent traffic chaos, forever altering the face of this beloved city landmark.

Last Updated on Mar 6, 2024

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