Port of Newcastle proceeds would fund $160 million cycleway for Newcastle

START THE CYCLE: (l-r) Sam Reich, Megan Sharkey, four-year-old Zeb Redman and Tim Roberts support the proposed 230-kilometre CycleSafe Network for Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

START THE CYCLE: (l-r) Sam Reich, Megan Sharkey, four-year-old Zeb Redman and Tim Roberts support the proposed 230-kilometre CycleSafe Network for Newcastle. Picture: Marina Neil

A COALITION of academics, doctors and athletes has backed plans for a cycle network spanning 230 kilometres across Newcastle, with money from the lease of the Port of Newcastle targeted to fund most of the $160 million project.

Supporters of the CycleSafe Network including the NRMA, Lake Macquarie Private Hospital director of emergency Mark Lee and Newcastle Knights premiership-winning captain Paul Harragon appealed in an open letter in the Newcastle Herald to NSW Premier Mike Baird.

A report making the case for the network on health, safety and economic grounds also calls on the state government to fund it from the $1.75 billion long-term lease of the port.

CycleSafe coordinator Megan Sharkey hopes the government will include phase one of the network – a 26km, $31 million section to be built over the next three years – in this month’s budget.

Construction on phase two would begin in 2018.

It would cost $73 million, while phase three, which would start in 2020, would cost $56 million.

Under the group’s plan, the entire Cyclesafe network would be built by 2024.

“In terms of what the government has said about investing in and revitalising the city, it makes perfect sense,” Mrs Sharkey said.

“The CycleSafe Network is an opportunity to revitalise not only the region, but our health. It ticks all the boxes.”

Under the group’s plan, the entire Cyclesafe network would be built by 2024.

“[Mr Baird] was reported in May 2014 as saying that the lease would see $1.5 billion flow into infrastructure projects,” reads the CycleSafe report. 

“Of that, $340 million would be allocated to the revitalisation of Newcastle. We propose that further funding from the lease be committed to delivering the [cycle network].”

Under the group’s plan, the entire Cyclesafe network would be built by 2024.

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PATH PUSH: CycleSafe Network co-ordinator Megan Sharkey

PATH PUSH: CycleSafe Network co-ordinator Megan Sharkey

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