Sydney’s pop-up cycleways will be in place for up to two years and two popular cycle routes will become permanent under plans approved by the City of Sydney.

The city is now drawing up designs for permanent separated cycleways on Pitt Street in the CBD and Henderson Road, Railway Parade and Bridge Street in Erskineville.

The remaining cycleways on city-controlled roads will stay in place further monitoring, consultation and evaluation takes place.

Concept designs for a cycleway along the missing link on Liverpool Street outside the Downing Centre and the return of the popular College Street cycleway have also been given the green light.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney’s pop-up cycleways were offering people more transport options, while helping to reduce road congestion and over-crowding on public transport.

“When Covid hit, we worked with the state government to install pop-up cycleways – a key element of its emergency transport response,” the Lord Mayor said.

“These cycleways have shown us we can make roads safer for riders, calm traffic and create attractive environments that leave room for people, provide space for outdoor dining and support surrounding businesses.

“Recent Covid outbreaks underscore how important our investment in wider footpaths and separated cycleways will be in helping to prevent the disease from spreading.

“Across Greater Sydney there has been a 40 per cent increase in people riding since the pop-ups were installed, and many who took to cycling through the pandemic will continue to ride.

“The growth in people using the Pitt Street cycleway is unprecedented, with a 500 per cent increase in the number of people riding there.”

The cycleways are part of the planned bike network in the city’s cycling strategy and action plan 2018-2030.

Justin Hamley has been a bicycle courier for 10 years and has seen the installation of Sydney’s cycleway network firsthand. He says the Pitt Street cycleway has “transformed” the inner-city for people on bikes.

“Before the pop-up cycleway it was very difficult for bike riders to navigate the area safely. The Pitt Street path is great and is now a favourite route for commuters, couriers and food delivery riders,” Mr Hamley said.

“10 years ago there were no bike paths and only very confident riders were on the roads. The Sydney network still needs work to connect, but there a lot more people of all levels enjoying riding.”

Jo Lees, construction manager at global property firm Hines, regularly cycles to her Hunter Street office from Rockdale. She says Pitt Street provides a “missing link” in her journey and welcomes it becoming permanent.

“As cycleways become more prevalent, people are more educated about safety. You still get some phone zombies and people turning never seem to look, but I think people are getting better at sharing the roadways and by and large there’s growing tolerance of people on bikes,” Ms Lees said.

“I started riding to work when I lived in Marrickville to get fit. Since Covid, I’ve chosen to ride to avoid public transport. It’s 50 minutes door to door, which is not much more than public transport, and I really feel it’s the healthiest transport choice.”