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History repeats again... Sydney CBD makeover spooks business

Posted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:37 am
by monotonehell
Happens in every city, every time something like this is proposed. "Oh noes change!" ... 5921427260
Sydney CBD makeover spooks business

BUSINESSES spooked by a proposal to transform the Sydney CBD are hoping the NSW Labor government won't survive to implement the plan.

The proposals to turn the CBD into a network of bike paths and 10km/h "shared zones" are part of a memorandum of understanding to be signed today by NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Along with a "separated cycle network" and shared zones for pedestrians, cars and cyclists, the MOU commits the state and the city to light rail in the CBD, improved bus flows around Wynyard station and a reduced speed limit of 40km/h throughout the city centre.

Of major concern to small business will be the bike paths proposal, with cycleways on the outskirts of the CBD already arousing anger and the threat of a class action from retailers.

Businesses claim the existing bike paths -- a joint initiative by the council and state government worth $534 million -- are not being used and result in a loss of amenity and parking spaces.

While business groups officially were non-committal yesterday, calling for more consultation on the plan, one business representative told The Australian the MOU reflected Ms Moore's view of Sydney as "an airbrushed version of Amsterdam, with little pictures of happy people holding hands".

"Her cycleways have been a shemozzle," the source said.

"But nobody's got any confidence the Labor government is going to go past March next year, so it will all be reviewed by a new minister."

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said the plan showed "the state is marching to the beat of the city's drum".

"That might suit the residents of the City of Sydney, but it doesn't suit the 600,000 people who come into the city each day."

Mr O'Farrell said he would review the plan, if elected next March. "I'm not going to feel bound by the MOU any more than I'm going to be bound by any other agreements entered into by Kristina Keneally as Labor approaches the next state election campaign."