By Jacob Saulwick, Sydney Morning Herald
IN an ironic twist, Barry O'Farrell's push to take control of transport in Sydney's CBD may finally complete Clover Moore's network of bike lanes.
Despite the Premier's hostility to the Lord Mayor's plans for the city, a committee set up by Mr O'Farrell gave fresh momentum on Wednesday to building the extra bike lanes needed to finish the city's grid.
The Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee was set up in May by the Premier, who declared that the city was being "held hostage" to Cr Moore's political constituency.
"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," Mr O'Farrell said at the time.
In response, Mr O'Farrell set up a new committee, to be chaired by the Director-General of Transport for NSW, Les Wielinga, to take control of transport planning in the city.
The committee would feature another six members, three nominated by the government and three by the council.
But at its first meeting on Wednesday afternoon, that committee left Cr Moore beaming after it endorsed her agenda and gave new impetus to implementing it.
All seven committee members resolved to finish the design of the city's bike network by May next year.
And they agreed to report back on a separate "access plan" for the CBD to co-ordinate bus, pedestrian and potentially light rail movements finished by March.
The executive manager of City Access and Transport Strategy at the Council, Terry Lee-Williams, said the committee's joint approach should have happened long ago.
"We have until now had no formal mechanism for the two organisations to work together collaboratively," he said.
Cr Moore said the commitment to work together on the completion of the bicycle network was "terrific".
"This is a great move that we are working together on this important initiative for the city," she said.
Cr Moore's $76 million planned bike network through the city remains unfinished. In particular, there is no east-west crossing of the CBD, with the King Street cycleway running only two blocks from Sussex to Clarence street.
In August Fairfax Media revealed that while the Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, says Sydney's bike lanes are in the wrong spot, his department has no such concerns.
The committee also discussed changing traffic lanes on College Street, between Oxford street and William Street.
Roads and Maritime Services proposed removing a pedestrian crossing and a lane of parking heading east on College Street in order to give more space to turning vehicles.
But Cr Moore raised safety concerns for students at Sydney Grammar School that the committee agreed to investigate.
Dated - 14.11.2012