Sydney’s cycling renaissance is being played out as a war for space, between two species of commuter – the cyclist and the motorist. Beyond the commute, there are myriad other forms of cycling awaiting development in neighbourhoods, however it seems that this inner-city contest for commuter lanes is fated to dominate our consciousness for the immediate future.
Scott Carver boasts 15% of employees cycling to and from work every day and we are actively encouraging more of the team to embrace the bike – to positively contribute to their personal fitness and the good of the environment. In addition to these excellent benefits, we are increasing understanding of the urban issues related to accommodating bicycles in our busy city.
To realise our ambitious goals, we competed in the Sydney Rides Business Challenge, because as architects and urban designers based within the CBD, we wanted to support the City of Sydney in their endeavour to get more people cycling.
For an entire month, everyone was encouraged to get on a bike for at least 10 minutes to promote what we believe is a radical tool for the transformation of our city; activating the link between people’s health, social well-being and of course, transportation!
Not all cities use bicycles as a form of commuting. Where mature rail networks exist, people use bicycles in their local community to connect to train stations and to traverse their neighbourhoods. In Tokyo, for example, we find millions of cyclists in neighbourhoods, cycling to the train station, cycling to the shops, and cycling to school. Babies are introduced to their neighbourhoods from the front of a bike, there are no safety helmets and yet, there are no dedicated bike lanes.
Cycling in Tokyo is really an enhanced form of walking with cyclists welcome on roads, footpaths and shared streets that don’t even have any footpaths. Everyone in Japan understands the dynamics of sharing space, but it appears Australians think every mode has a right to its own dedicated space. Consequently, the Japanese can be thought of as space creators and we as space wasters. They have tiny roads busy with social activity and we have wide roads and wide footpaths devoid of social activity.
At Wentworth Point, Scott Carver has been leading the architecture and urban design of a new high-density community; with the opportunity to reinvent the relationship with the bicycle at a local level. Our clients, Billbergia and City Freeholds, together with two other developers have joined forces to negotiate a Voluntary Planning Agreement with the State Government, to finance and build a new bridge without cars. The Homebush Bay Bridge will connect the new communities of Rhodes and Wentworth Point for cyclists, pedestrians and buses.
After much anticipation, the bridge is now under construction and will be operational later this year.
While the bridge will connect major recreational cycling routes that already exist around Sydney Olympic Park, its impact on cycling in the new communities will be far more interesting. The new bridge will forever change the environment within the public domain of Wentworth Point with cycle parking and access pathways now re-imagined as integral parts of living.
We will continue to encourage Sydney’s cycling renaissance, both in the communities we design and as a preferred mode of transport for employees. After a month of fierce competition in the Sydney Rides Business Challenge, we are pleased to announce that we rode to the top; cycling a collective 1833 kilometres and saving 374kg of CO2, taking first place in our division of 50 – 199 employees. We look forward to cycling with you next year when we defend our title.