Pop-up bikeways on the cards in Adelaide’s CBD as indecision stalls east-west route
ABC News 12 May 2020
Pop-up bikeways in Adelaide's CBD that could utilise existing car lanes are to be considered by the city's council as a temporary solution to long-awaited cycling infrastructure.
A councillor is going to propose pop-up bike lanes as an experimental measure in Adelaide
The $5.5 million east-west bikeway has been delayed since announced in 2016
There are calls for more funding of cycling infrastructure to avoid traffic gridlocks post-COVID-19
City of Adelaide councillor Robert Simms said he wants to draw from "what's happening around the world and in other states" by implementing temporary bike lanes in the CBD.
"We want to look at what we can do in the short-term to accommodate more cyclists on our streets while we get bikeway construction underway," he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
"We've got lots of car parking that is not being used because of the pandemic. And even with the easing of restrictions at the moment we're still not going to see the volume of people coming into the city for some time.
"It could mean less [motor] lanes on arterial roads.
Debate stymies east-west bikeway
Debate over a long-awaited east-west bikeway through the CBD appears no closer to being settled as opinions on the best route continue to vary in the council — as they have for much of the latter half of last decade.
Proposals for the $5.5 million project have included using Grote and Wakefield streets, Flinders and Franklin streets, and Pirie and Waymouth streets.
The route is designed to connect with Frome Road's north-south bikeway, which has itself been the subject of controversy after its initial design was partially ripped up and re-designed in 2017.
"We've had big discussions about the east-west bikeway in Adelaide and where we are going to put it," Cr Simms said. "Maybe this is a chance for us to trial some routes, trial some options in a pop-up way and whether they work, before we get the permanent infrastructure happening."
Cr Simms' motion will be considered by the council at its monthly meeting Tuesday night.
Calls to boost infrastructure spending
Bicycle Institute of SA chairperson Katie Gilfillan said the high number of cyclists seen during COVID-19 restrictions proved it was a highly popular form of exercise among the community and deserved more funding from the state and local governments.
By way of example, BISA figures found more than 1,600 cyclists on average used the River Torrens Linear Park shared walkway during April this year, compared with just over 800 in April 2019.
"Within the City of Adelaide a lot of people would know there has been some significant delays on those bikeways," Ms Gilfillan said.
"We've been waiting on an east-west bikeway for some time and we were really hoping that, like Melbourne, Sydney, Milan and Paris, that post this COVID-19 period we would see that project pushed forward faster."
She said the State Government had increased its Planning and Development Fund to $50 million for "shovel-ready" local projects this year and hoped much of that money would be directed towards cycling infrastructure.
"On top of the extra funding they've got for local councils now we'd also like to see the State Government genuinely increasing funding for bike riding, which currently gets around 0.6 per cent of the total transport budget," Ms Gilfillan said.
"We'd like to see that increase to 5 per cent and for us to keep rolling out quality bike infrastructure that's low stress, so places where people don't have to battle with cars a lot."
This included more expenditure on arterial road crossings for routes that cyclists use through local streets.
"The majority of us use quieter local streets and they're often quite good, but we do need to get across those busy roads and they can be pretty hectic," Ms Gilfillan said.