North Sydney Council Mayor focusses on walking

Great to see Mayor Jilly Gibson’s Mayoral Minute in the Feb meeting advocating for pedestrian interests in North Sydney Council!

Mayor Gibson has also shown support for a future 30km/h speed zone in and around high-pedestrian areas.

If you’re available tonight, head on over to the North Sydney Council meeting and show some support! (Council Chambers, 7:30pm)

If you cannot attend, please provide some support to the Mayor via

Phone:    0437 454 523
Email:     mayor@northsydney.nsw.gov.au

Mayoral Minute 04: Prioritising Pedestrians

In late January I was contacted by someone who witnessed a near miss outside the XavierTerrace Retirement Village in Mackenzie Street, Lavender Bay. An ambulance officer whowas transporting a resident with a medical emergency to hospital, narrowly missed being hitby a cyclist which came flying down the pathway next to St Peters Park and swung intoMackenzie Street at high speed. A Police car arrived shortly after with all lights blazing tosupport the Ambulance crew while they completed the transfer of the patient into theambulance.

Interestingly, a couple of weeks later the Traffic Committee considered a report on the optionof removing the cycleway signage from that exact pathway next to the retirement village. Thereport arose as a result of community feedback given to Council last October when weconsulted on upgrading the pathway. Clearly the January incident is not a one-off event.

Within a few days of the Traffic Committee agenda being posted on Council’s website, thecycling group Bike North had written to all councillors strongly urging us to keep the pathwayas a shared pedestrian and cycle path.

The letter drove home to me the imbalance that now exists between cycling and pedestrianinterests in the North Sydney Council area. Without someone to advocate for pedestrians, their interests get overlooked and the needs of cyclists, which have a strong lobbying voice, are given priority. In the case of the pathway next to the retirement village, the need for the olderresidents to be able to walk safely to shops, medical services and public transport has somehow been over-ridden by the needs of commuter cyclists.

The purpose of this Mayoral Minute is not to review the St Peter’s Park pathway, but tohighlight the need for stronger pedestrian advocacy within Council. Despite our commitmentto active transport, we rarely hear voices advocating for wider footpaths or shared zones in ourvillage centres. Most people in the Council area live within comfortable walking distance of alocal shopping village. We should be encouraging walking as the first choice of transport, notthe last.

The answer may lie in employing a part time pedestrian officer who can give a dedicatedpedestrian perspective on Council projects. Alternatively, we may need an overarching reviewof all pedestrian thoroughfares leading to our village centres. Or perhaps we need a multiprongedapproach that ensures the needs of pedestrians are considered by all Divisions.

I therefore recommend:

1. THAT staff prepare a report on options for improving our focus on pedestrian needs, andthat the report considers how to ensure that all voices are equally heard when balancing the needs of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and public transport.

How to register to speak at the Council meeting:

Members of the public wishing to address Council at the Public Forum held at 6.30pm prior to the Council meeting on an agenda item may register by submitting a written request to Council by completing the form available at https://www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/Council_Meetings/Meetings/Council_Meetings or email to governance@northsydney.nsw.gov.au by 4.00pm on the day of the meeting. Items will be considered at the PublicForum in the order that they appear on the agenda.

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