Former NSW Premiers Dept head bags cycle funding

I've just sent this email to Quentin Dempster (ABC TV's Stateline) following his interview with Gerry Gleeson who was secretary to the Premiers Department between 1977 and 1988.  Coincidentally, he has an article it today's SMH (bottom of page 13)

Out of the blue, Gleeson made extraordinary, uninformed comments criticising bike facilities and funding.

NSW Stateline
Hi Quentin,
I was astounded with the interview with Gerry Gleeson.  He was making interesting comments covering the last couple of decades of the NSW administration then he managed to comment on cycleways, which seemed
a marked digression from his earlier comments ..... he even mentioned the King
St cycleway.  While Gleeson was a top public administrator he clearly has no
understanding of the role cycling can play in reducing peak hour congestion,
health and environmental benefits, etc.   The PricewaterhouseCoopers draft
report into the 3km long cycleway 'missing link' between the Sydney Harbour
Bridge and Naremburn currently out for public comment has identified a benefit /
cost ratio of 4.95 to 1.
Refer to .....
Many road projects are battling to achieve a BCR of just 2:1.
We currently have around 700 cyclists an hour riding across the SHB cycleway during the morning peak ...... and 30% increase in the last year. 
Gleeson needs to get out of his car and see what's happening as young people are
flocking to bikes.
The City of Sydney AECOM report covering 15 inner suburban councils stated a BCR of 3.88:1.  Gleeson comment was unprofessional (clearly
not knowing the BCR's of these studies) and damaging and must be addressed.  I'd
recommend contacting Omar Khalifa, the recently appointed CEO of Bicycle NSW, to
provide the opportunity to address Gleeson's unfortunate comments.
Russ Webber
Vice-president Bicycle NSW 1983-2001, president 1995-96, joint winner Cycling Promotion Fund award of the year (2008) -- honorary category

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I'm not so sure Gerry Gleeson is on the wrong track. I happened to see his Stateline piece a week ago, and thought his take on miserable NSW Govt was pretty right.

The take-out I got from his comment on cycleways was the sentiment that the cycleways being implemented would not fix Sydney's transport problems. If that's really what he was saying then he seems correct to me.

Whether he's against cycleways is another subject, I'm not sure if he is or not. My own view is benefits, yes. Fixing the fundamental paralysis, probably not.
Gleeson did give Greiner, Carr and Egan credit, but then went on to say of the latter two "They were not prepared to take on debt, they were not prepared to build the railways, even though they mentioned them."
Gleeson then said "They publicised them in their policies and, as you say, we now have a ring of toll roads which are, and certainly the priority is roads. It shouldn't be and likewise it shouldn't be cycleways either."
Not many people say that cycling is the only solution, it is part of the solution .......
1. easing congestion on the roads clearly evidenced during the school holiday period.
2. overcrowding on buses.
...... but has many other benefits including health, Climate Change, peak-oil, etc.
I posted early this year (if anyone can find it let me know) saying that billions of dollars has been spent on road infrastructure (primarly to provide more road space for peak hour travel usually with just one occupant in the vehicle) within a few kilometres of the CBD in the last couple of decades only to achieve even greater congestion.
As the bike planner, Roger Geller, from Portland Oregon said at last Tuesday's Sydney Town Hall terrific presentation, cycling just gets the dust when it comes to funding.
...... a few billion dollars worth of road projects.
i wonder what 700 cars an hour crossing the SHB during the morning peak would be like....
GERRY GLEESON: I'm a sceptic on your proposition about cycleways. If you drive ...

I wonder what ill-informed statement he was about to make?

GERRY GLEESON: ... if you come off the bridge into King Street today and see the futility of cycleways

When he comes off the bridge in his single occupied car.
I'm guessing he has not caught any public transport in the the 10 years, prefering to drive everywhere.

I'm not sure what the futility refers to. Does he mean the cycleways are not being used?
Too much money is being spent on them?
It would be better to have another lane of traffic in the city?

Gerry Gleeson is part of the problem
"Gerry Gleeson is part of the problem"

GERRY GLEESON: I'm a sceptic on your proposition about cycleways. If you drive ...

I wonder what ill-informed statement he was about to make?

"....... your proposition about cycleways." Dempster hadn't even referred to cycleways ...... perhaps it was in their discussions prior to the interview?

You can send a comment to Stateline at .......
I wondered that too, perhaps either discussed beforehand as you say or else the show had been recorded and edited.
OK so he says cycleways are futile and in particular King St. I certainly don't agree with that, although I would say that poor quality cycleways are futile and a waste of money.

I'm also not convinced of the need for them where traffic is kept back to safe speeds. Conversely where traffic is to move fast I view cycleways as essential, and it would be interesting to learn what Mr Gleeson and his peers really think about that.
In my view, for what its worth, people tend to make comments in isolation. What I mean by that, is the context of their comments is given in isolation from anything else. Transport, transport problems and transport solutions are 100% a systems issue. You cannot talk about cars without mentioning buses, you cannot talk about buses without mentioning trains, you cannot talk about trains without mentioning bicycles, you cannot talk about bicycles without mentioning cars etc...etc...Moreover, the connections between cycling, social equity and mobility is often missed in the emotional debate over what the money should be spent on. Russ points out the BCR figures. While these figures are the unfortunate bench mark, they also cloud and narrow the decision making involved, as if a single figure can (or should) provide the ultimate go ahead on a project.

The Harbour Bridge would never have been built if the BCR was used....why? Because there have been a plethora of positive "unforeseen benefits" to come out of the bridge being built and these cannot be easily monetised (if at all).

So too it is with cycling (and more importantly public transport). The powers that be cannot and will not see the "unforeseen benefits" of mass cycling...but the benefits ARE there for all to see, you only have to look at places that already have cycling as part of their transport culture. The BIG question is whether the vested interests want it here.....and the answer to that is a big fat NO.

This can all be changed when you consider your vote at the ballot box in March. You can get rid of the vested interests by voting for people who don't take donations from the suits of this world.
"from the suits of this world"

Haha you inspired me to change my avatar :-)
Adam looks pretty spivvy in a suit himself, good enough to sent to parliament next time perhaps


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