Dear newly elected Ministers of the New South Wales Government,
Better Streets, would like to extend our congratulations on your recent election. We are thrilled to see such a diverse and talented group of individuals take on leadership roles in our government and look forward to working with you to improve the lives of our communities across the state.
As you begin your new roles, we at Better Streets would like to support you in creating safer, more climate friendly and accessible streets for everyone. We believe that by working together across the agencies, we can achieve this goal and make a real difference in the lives of the people of New South Wales.
To this end, we would like to offer some suggestions on how each of your portfolios could contribute to our vision of Better Streets:
For the Health Minister, we request recognition of the co-benefits of promoting active transportation such as walking and cycling. For every kilometre walked, there is a $5.95 health benefit and for every kilometre cycled, a $1.65 benefit. By co-funding behaviour change programs such as Active Travel to Schools with the Education Department, we can encourage more people to walk and cycle, thereby reducing long-term health costs.
For the Education Minister, we believe that setting lifelong healthy habits begins with children walking, riding, and scooting to school. We suggest co-funding an Active Travel to Schools Program with the Health Department to promote physical activity among children.
The Transport and Roads Ministers could fund an accelerated program of delivery for 2,560 crossings every year, 1,000 kilometres of safe and direct cycle routes, and 30 km/h local residential streets and urban centres. By doing so, we can create safer, more climate friendly and accessible streets for everyone.
The Planning Minister and Enterprise could work with Transport and Roads to support local businesses by funding streetscape upgrades that attract people to enjoy and linger. By doing so, we can improve the economic vitality of our communities while also making them more liveable.
Finally, we suggest that the Department of Premier and Cabinet ensure these agencies are working together by setting Premier’s Priorities that put liveability at the heart. By prioritising Better Streets, we can create a more liveable and vibrant state for all.
Once again, congratulations on your election, and we look forward to working with you to create Better Streets for everyone.
Our roads wouldn’t work too well if they weren’t connected....
and neither will our bike lanes.....
It’s time to connect the dots.
It’s time to Choose Better!
Better Streets is launching an awareness campaign and will be creating a series of animations to engage the community about Better Streets.
This campaign is a collaboration with Tom Flood, Rovelo Creative, Two Giraffes, and a team of volunteers.
Tom Flood was an ad man for the car industry. Then as a parent realised how unsafe the streets were and started turning his creative skills into reframing the mainstream narrative around road safety/road violence/active transportation and highlighting the imbalance on our streets. His videos are engaging and emotive and impactful.
Two Giraffes are a local Sydney based female owned and directed firm with amazing team and experience. One of their core focus areas is social change films for some of the most recognised brands and Not For Profits in Australia.
Snap, Send, Solve are collaborating with Better Streets to see if we can gather more data from the community about their street issues.
Use the app to submit photos of issues and the app will send it to the authority responsible for the issue (council, or state government). When you're submitting an issue use the #betterstreets tag and Snap, Send, Solve will be able to send us the data about the issues.
In particular, we talked about the importance of 30kmh local streets in Newtown. With narrow footpaths and streets, it can be challenging for pedestrians and bike riders to navigate safely. Jenny agreed that this would be a great solution and pledged to follow up with Cate Faerman, the Greens shadow Minister for Active Transport, to seek endorsement of our key asks.
Finally, we discussed the potential introduction of e-scooters in Sydney. Jenny agreed that if e-scooters were to be introduced, it would be important to keep them and bike riders off busy footpaths. We are thrilled to have her support on this issue and look forward to working together to create a safer and more enjoyable environment for everyone.
Better Streets volunteers and coalition members were amongst the crowd who were part of the (re)opening of College Street cycleway. Some even watched on with tears of joy. This represents a significant win for the better streets advocacy community in NSW over many years.
The College St cycleway was originally built in 2010 and quickly became a popular route for over 2000 riders a day. However, in 2015, the NSW Government removed the cycleway, which was a low point for cycling in NSW. Thanks to the persistence and hard work of activists, community members, and the City of Sydney, the cycleway has been reinstated, and we couldn't be more excited.
The event today was celebrated with speeches and from Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the Minister for Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes MP, and a joint ribbon cutting. The crowd was cheering, and there were even occasional tears of joy. We presented Minister Stokes with a card of thanks – signed by hundreds of us from Better Streets.
This cycleway represents a major link that will eventually create a fully separated, safe cycleway from Bondi Junction to Circular Quay and beyond. This is an important step towards creating a more sustainable and active city, and we are proud to have played a part in making it happen.
At Better Streets, we believe that activism and persistence can result in positive outcomes for our communities – and one of the best ways to do this is to bring politicians and the community along us for the journey. The reopening of the College St cycleway is proof of this, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for safer, more accessible streets for all.
City of Sydney are hosting a several Open Street events as part of their "Sydney Streets" programme. These events are a great way to demonstrate how traffic calming / removal and the beautification of streets can support businesses and encourage people to enjoy their streets.
The transformation is remarkable. The reduction in noise, stress, smells and emissions introduces opportunities to rest, eat, socialise, dance and enjoy the space.
Better Streets supports the beautification of streetscapes and encourages councils to try interventions like this so their communities can expeirence the
March 4 and 5 2023 marked the inaugural Better Streets weekend which gathered over 200 coalition members from across NSW to demonstrate the need for better streets.
Just months after the coalition's launch late last year, the Sydney Walk and Ride event alone attracted over 150 supporters, including representatives from a diverse range of organisations such as health, climate, local community groups and local businesses.
Participants, led by John Caley from Bike Marrickville, rode and walked their way from Circular Quay to Prince Alfred Park along almost entirely separated bike lanes including the recently opened College Street cycleway. Upon arrival in Prince Alfred Park the buzz for Better Streets was high with many new connections being made in the social festivities that followed.
On March 5th, another Better Streets ride was organised through the Illawarra electorates of Thirroul, Woonona and Towradgei with over 40 community members turning out to show the growing support for Better Streets within the region. Amongst the groups represented were Safe Streets to School Wollongong, Illawarra Bicycle Users Group, Healthy Cities Illawarra, The Disability Trust and 30Please.org. The event received a wide range of media coverage from WINNEWS TV, ABC Radio and Illawarra Mercury,
Better Streets representatives met with Minister Stokes to discuss our five key asks. Whilst Stokes will not be running for the upcoming state election, he emphasised that any future minister needs to retain “active transport” in their title to ensure that there is a voice in cabinet. Hopefully one day this won’t be needed, however in our current environment we still need a minister to champion active transport and better streets.
We also discussed the important co-benefits for health and climate change action, because walking and cycling are key in helping us achieve net zero and healthy, connected communities.
Better Streets emphasised that one of our roles is to give politicians at all three levels of government, and whichever party they may represent, the assurance that our community and alliance members want these changes for better streets: active travel to schools, safer traffic speeds, more pedestrian crossings, improved streetscapes to support local businesses, and safe cycleways.
Minister Stokes' office confirmed that the current Government has committed $1.2 billion to active transport projects this year and over the next three years, including through grants to councils and as part of the delivery of major projects such as Metro and motorway projects. This would bring the NSW Government’s total spending on active transport to more $2 billion between 2014-15 and 2026-27.
We are continuing to meet with politicians in the lead up to the NSW election.
Photo source: Twitter @RobStokesMP