Cycling in Sydney Australia
THE Sydney CBD's controversial network of bike paths has hit a major road block - Premier Barry O'Farrell.
Declaring war on Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Mr O'Farrell will today announce new laws that will take away Ms Moore's transport and traffic planning powers.
Under the changes, a joint state government-City of Sydney committee will manage the city's transport issues.
The move comes after it was revealed yesterday Ms Moore was planning to make on-street parking as expensive as commercial carparks and hoped to turn dozens of parking bays into bike racks.
"There will be no extension of bike lanes, no change to traffic routes unless it goes through this committee on which the government has four nominees," the Premier said.
"The Sydney CBD is too important to be held hostage to the political constituency of Clover Moore. It's very clear Clover Moore's pitch for re-election is built around more bike lanes and making the CBD as unfriendly to cars as possible. That is why we have decided to act in the best interests of wider Sydney."
The committee will have four representatives from the government, including the transport ministry director-general, as well as three representatives from council.
Asked what he would do if Ms Moore did not fill the council spots, the Premier said the committee would operate with only the government's nominees.
Mr O'Farrell said the government was taking action on behalf of CBD workers, businesses, residents and visitors to "ensure major transport decisions are properly co-ordinated between the NSW government and City of Sydney Council".
The Premier said the government was in disagreement with the council on speed limits and car access to the CBD, the provision of layover space for buses, the extension of the network of bikeways and the extension of low-speed shared zones.
"The lord mayor's vision of the CBD is at odds with Sydney's position as a global city," Mr O'Farrell said.
The Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee would be responsible for "co-ordinating plans and policies for public transport and traffic within central Sydney and making decisions on major transport issues".
"Sydney is Australia's only global city and the CBD deserves a first rate and properly functioning roads and transport system," Mr O'Farrell said. "Transport issues in the Sydney CBD have a far broader impact on the state's economic activity. We need to ensure both levels of government working together to deliver the best results for the state's economy.
"I've come to the conclusion that the only way to ensure this is to establish a legal framework that requires coordination between the state and the council, modelled on the successful Central Sydney Planning Committee."
Mr O'Farrell said the committee would "for the first time, bring all traffic and transport decision-making under the one umbrella".