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On your bike, council staff told

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Local government staff are about to be told to “get on their bikes”, with one local council buying a fleet of bikes for work-related travel.

Norwood Payneham St Peters Council is negotiating to buy surplus bikes from Adelaide City Council (ACC) to set up the staff bike scheme.

The surplus bikes will come on the market after May this year, when Adelaide hosts the global cycling conference Velo-city 2014.

ACC will be “buying a number of bikes for the delegates to use during the conference, so they can get around and explore Adelaide by bike”, a Norwood Payneham St Peters (NPSP) Council report says.

Once the conference is finished, the ACC wants to offload the surplus-to-requirements bikes, estimated to cost around $450 each.

“The procurement of bikes after the Velo-city conference also provides a timely and cost-effective opportunity to establish a staff bike fleet for use on work-related trips, a proposition, which is currently being investigated by Council staff,” the NPSP report says.

“Establishing a staff bike fleet for use on work-related trips would promote active transport and save the Council money on taxi fares, bus ticket fares and fuel costs associated with work-related trips.”

NPSP councillors considered the proposal at their December meeting and gave it the nod.

“The Council accepts ‘in-principle’, the offer from the Adelaide City Council to join its Adelaide City Bikes Scheme (or equivalent scheme) and authorises staff to enter into discussions and negotiations with the Adelaide City Council to join the Scheme, including the procurement of twenty (20) bikes after the 2014 Velo-city global cycling conference,” the council minutes state.

Another proposal for a cycle boulevard along Beulah Road has been pushed into another round of investigation and costing.

The Norwood Payneham St Peters City-Wide Cycling Plan arose from a State Government-funded project in mid-2012 that resulted in the release of a draft project brief in December 2012, a draft plan in July 2013 and a final draft plan in December 2013.

While $47,000 has been spent so far on the proposal, estimates show turning Beulah Road into a cycling boulevard now appears more costly than first estimated.

“Overall, the infrastructure changes and ongoing maintenance will be more costly than the cost estimates for the travel behaviour change programs,” the council report said.

“Currently no funding has been allocated in the Council’s Long Term Financial Management Plan to implement the City-Wide Cycling Plan. Endorsement of the final draft of the City-Wide Cycling Plan does not automatically imply that the prioritised infrastructure and travel behavioural change programs will be funded.

“If endorsed, a detailed three (3) year Implementation Plan stating priorities, cost estimates and funding options available to the Council and scheduling will be developed for the Council’s consideration as part of the 2014-15 Budget.

“If approved, these cost estimates would then be factored into the Council’s Long Term.”

At its December meeting, the council voted to start work on an implementation plan before considering issues of cost and funding as part of the 2014-2015 budget.

And if the bike plan seems a long way off, the State Government’s proposal for trams along the same route appear to be even further away.

NPSP Mayor Robert Bria told ABC radio’s Spence Denny today the tram project was more distant than the bike proposals.

“We won’t see the trams for some time yet,” he said.

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