Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Case Study: Bourke St.; Sydney, Australia

Location: Woolloomooloo Bay, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Sydney
Population: 4.8 million
Length: 3.4 km
Right-of-Way: 20 m
Context: Mixed-Use (Residential/Commercial) Main Street
Cost: 24 million AUD (18.5 million USD), including ground services and streetscape improvements
Funding: City of Sydney Council
Max. Speed: 40 km/h


Bourke Street is Sydney’s first large-scale bidirectional, separated cycle track, and is part of the city’s strategy to increase the quality and scope of the cycle network in the Sydney area.

The 3.4 km project is an upgrade of an existing cycle route connecting Cowper Wharf Road in Woolloomooloo Bay to Phillip Street, Waterloo. The design provides improved safety and amenities for cyclists and pedestrians.

Boarding Island

Parking Protected Cycle Track


Key Elements

Separation. A cycle track separated from motorists and pedestrians, located between the sidewalk and parked or moving vehicles.

Protection. Physical barriers such as medians, curbs, buffer planting, and rain gardens maximize separation from motorists and pedestrians, providing cyclists with a sense of protection while also improving the pedestrian experience.

Lane Narrowing. Appropriate lane widths calm vehicle traffic and recapture the right-of-way for walking, cycling, and beautification.

T-Intersections. Low-volume T-intersections at side streets resulted in the development of a “Shared Environment Intersection.” This design gives the right-of-way to pedestrians, and provides equivalent rights to cyclists and motorists within the intersection.


Lessons Learned

Being the first of its type in an established conservation area, there was small vocal opposition regarding the possible loss or damage to heritage protected trees, potential loss of car parking, potential injury to cyclists by car doors, and possible injury to pedestrians by cyclists.

Cycle training and behavior change programs along busy cycle routes promote a cycle positive culture and acclimate users to a new and shared use of public space.

To ensure a safe environment and maintain an amenity for pedestrians and residents, the following measures provided an integrated urban intervention:

  • Reduced speed limit to 40 km/h, installing traffic calming devices, and removing road center lines to reduce vehicle speed.
  • Installed curb extensions to increase sight lines and reduce pedestrian and cycle crossing distances.
  • Improved streetscape and cycle route lighting.

Keys to Success

Political leadership of the City of Sydney Council.

Experienced professional leadership and management within the City of Sydney Council.

Experienced consultants.

Collaborative partnership with the Roads Authority.

Motivated civil contractors.


Public Agencies
The City of Sydney Council, Sydney Buses, Roads and Maritime Services

Private Group and Partnerships
Local business and retailers

Associations and Nonprofits
Bike Sydney

Designers and Engineers
Group GSA, GTA Consultants, and Northrop

Project Timeline

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.