Council twenty years behind on bike paths: only 9% completed

Media 24 June 2014: Tonight Marrickville Council will vote on its 2014/15 budget. The Greens are concerned that without significant increases in funding to build new bike paths the growing community of inner-west cyclists will be condemned to decades of infrastructure backlogs.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said, “Only $310,000 has been included in the draft 2014-5 Marrickville Council budget for new bike paths. This is only enough money to complete one bike route every year, for the next three years.[i]

“The Greens are calling on Labor and the Liberals to support an increase in our bike path budget to $1 million. The increased funding will help address the years of under-funding, which has led to a short fall of more than $7 million which is now needed for Marrickville Council to build its priority bike paths.[ii]

“Only 9% of the priority bike paths in Council’s Marrickville Bike Strategy 2007-2016[iii] have been completed to date.[iv] At this rate we will not reach our bike paths goal until 2039, more than 20 years later than planned.

“Building bike paths should be core business for local Councils, particularly Marrickville Council. After the City of Sydney, the Marrickville Council area has the largest number of residents who travel to work by bike of any Council area.[v]

“City of Sydney currently spends over 10% of its capital budget on bike paths – Marrickville Council spends only 1%.[vi]  Last year Canada Bay invested more than $1 million,[vii] and in this coming year even Leichhardt Council, which is a smaller Council than Marrickville, has budgeted more for new bike paths.[viii]

“Labor and Liberal Councillors on Marrickville Council need to show local residents whether or not they are genuinely committing to supporting cycling, and to keeping our growing number of cyclists safe.

“Increasing our Marrickville bike budget to $1 million will not only ensure we finally complete long standing black spots like Mary St/ King St/ Wilson St interchange, but means we won’t have to wait years to begin building our sections of the Greenway.[ix] 

Media contact:          Greens Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213

Take action! Email the Marrickville Councillors. More on the bike path action page here:




[i] See the Marrickville Council Paper for the 24 June 2014 Council meeting – Item 11, Attachment 10, ‘Marrickville Council Resourcing Strategy – Asset Management Plan TRANSPORTATION’, page 78 – Bicycle Facilities Budget, as available to download at . The budget indicates that Regional bike route 5 (RRO5) will be completed in 2014-5, with funding allocated to complete one further regional route (RR07) in 2015-6 and another (RR12) by 2017-8.

[ii] For details of the level of underspend in Marrickville Council’s bike budget see the Answers to Questions on Notice provided put by the Greens to the 18 March 2014 Marrickville Council meeting. In relation to the cost for Marrickville Council to meet its bike targets, Council staff advised: “The remaining Bike route program is estimated at approximately $7,042,000 in 2014 dollars, subject to detailed investigation and design. …. It is emphasized that these estimates are preliminary and are likely to vary when detailed investigation and designs are undertaken.” A full copy of the Questions and Answers can be found at

[iii] Marrickville Bicycle Strategy available to download from the Marrickville Council website at .

[iv] As above, see Answers to Questions on Notice provided to the 18 March 2014 Marrickville Council meeting. At Answer to Question 8 c Council staff advised: “Council has completed approximately 95km of the bike plan, or 9% of the proposed routes”.

[v] Based on Census data, reported at page 26 of the ‘Inner Sydney Regional Bicycle Network – Demand Assessment and Economic Appraisal’ (September 9th 2010), as available to download from

[vi] Marrickville Council’s total annual bike budget is $310,000 pa, out of a total annual Capital Budget of $28,772,363, as outlined in the Marrickville Council Paper for the 24 June 2014 Council meeting – Item 11, Attachment 2, ‘Operating and Capital Budget 2014-5’ (link as above). The City of Sydney has allocated $28.5 million for bike paths next year (see ). The City of Sydney Council’s 2014-5 Capital Works expenditure is $245.2M with contingency of $5.0M, as detailed in Council papers at:

[vii] See Canada Bay ‘2013-17 Delivery Plan & 2013-14 Operating Plan’ – Snapshot of Council’s 2013-14 which includes $1 million for the Iron Cove Creek Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge project, in addition to the general infrastructure upgrade program, as available to download from

[viii] Based on the draft Leichhardt Council’s draft 2014/5 Budget, to be adopted at the Council’s 24 June 2014 meeting.

[ix][ix] The Greenway is one of the ten Regional Routes – Regional Route 1 – for which Council has not budgeted any spending over the next 3 years. For a copy of the 10 priority Regional Routes see Answers to Questions on Notice (below) and the Marrickville Bicycle Strategy.

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