Accessibility and the Sydney Harbour Bridge

This year, our city achieved a major accessibility milestone with the opening of two lifts connecting the existing pedestrian path across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge.  The opening occurred in October this year and coincided with the 2018 Invictus Games.

The two lifts, located at each end of the bridge, have capacity for two wheelchairs, two carers and 27 passengers.  Previously, access to the bridge path was via 60 steps.

The lifts had been a long time coming, with more than a decade of lobbying by many individuals and groups, including the Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN).

In 2016, the then-ministers for Roads and Disability Services, Duncan Gay and John Ajaka announced the plan for the lifts with a projected planning time of 12 months with construction to start “soon after”.

announcement
Announcement of the project. (Photo via Physical Disability Council of New South Wales)

However, a year later in 2017, with Duncan Gay and John Ajaka no longer in those portfolios, the PDCN were advised by the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) that due to limited availability of funding in the 2017-18 budget the proposal had been put on hold.

PDCN immediately organised a media campaign and a protest rally to tell the Government that defunding the project was NOT acceptable.  This campaign was successful, reinstating funding for the project over the next years and even winning the Best Community Powered Campaign in the 2017 Do Gooder Awards!

shb protest
PDCN’s #everybodysbridge #accessforall campaign

PDCN stated – “While PDCN acts as the voice for people with physical disability in NSW, inclusion benefits everyone. Now parents with prams, those with disability and seniors can all access the bridge too!”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the bridge each day, 2000 people on bikes are still struggling with the 55 steps at the Northern end.  Hopefully the Northern cycle ramp design will be resolved soon to allow everyone to access our beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge and facilitate safer and easier active travel in Sydney.  (Bicycle NSW continue their campaign).

Related articles

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge

2018-12-18_16-35-28