The City of Sydney and NSW Government have announced that six new temporary cycleways will be installed in the coming weeks. The new bike paths are being fast-tracked for residents of the inner city and its surrounds to get around more easily as they return to work, and to reduce congestion on public transport to promote social distancing.

The six new cycleways will be installed at Pitt Street north, between King Street and Reiby Place in the CBD; between Henderson Road in Eveleigh and Railway Parade/Bridge Street in Erskineville; on Dunning Avenue in Rosebery; on Moore Park Road and Fitzroy Street in Moore Park and Surry Hills; on Pyrmont Bridge Road in Pyrmont; and on Sydney Park Road in Erskineville. Barriers, line markings and lane dividers will be used to separate the cycleways from traffic.

Plans are also afoot to install further new cycleways on Oxford Street in Paddington and Darlinghurst; King Street in Newtown; and King Street, College Street and Castlereagh Street in the CBD.

“The infrastructure we’ve chosen will be quick and simple to implement, adaptable and inexpensive,” says City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore in a statement. “As our roads have been quieter during the pandemic, many people have decided to take up cycling. We’re hoping these safe cycleway connections help people keep that up. When someone rides to work, they take a car off the road or free up space on public transport – this will be even [more] invaluable when people start returning to the city and seek to maintain physical distancing.”

The improved cycleways come after the NSW Government announced that limits will be placed on the number of people who can travel on public transport as people begin to commute to work again. Buses will be capped at 12 passengers, while trains will only be allowed 32 people per carriage. Green dots will signal where passengers are able to sit and stand, to ensure 1.5-metre social distancing is practised at all times.

In addition to the new cycleways, footpaths in high-traffic areas of the CBD will be temporarily widened to help with social distancing. Other areas within the City of Sydney’s remit, including Newtown, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Potts Point, Ultimo and Glebe, will also be prioritised for extra walking space.

Moore says the council is considering closing some streets to vehicular traffic during lunch hours, or widening footpaths near food and beverage openings to encourage support for local businesses while ensuring people have enough space. It’s also looking at other short-term changes, such as 30kmh speed limits on some city streets, shorter wait times for pedestrians at traffic lights and changes to street layouts.

These changes follow the City of Sydney and NSW Government’s recent announcement that George Street’s pedestrian zone would be extended in both directions between Bathurst Street and Campbell Street, and extended southbound to Rawson Place.