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Bike-friendly "boulevards" pledged for suburbs

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Labor is promising a $1.6 million trial of “bicycle boulevards” on two key side streets in Norwood and Prospect.

The pilot projects will be established on Braund Road, Prospect, and Beulah Road, Norwood, and will be designed to link these routes to cycle lanes in the CBD.

The boulevard concept uses traffic engineering and other techniques to reduce the speed and volume of motor vehicle traffic and attract more cyclists and walkers.

Both streets in the proposed pilot project run parallel to busy arterial roads. Premier Jay Weatherill said the bicycle boulevard concept would offer safer alternative routes for cyclists.

The two trial projects will be designed to “calm” traffic to reduce motor vehicle speeds and volumes in the suburban streets, discourage “rat-running” and use special lane markings – known as “sharrows” – that encourage cyclists to ride where they are more visible to drivers and reduce their risk of being “doored” by parked cars.

The projects will also aim to provide safer crossings where each boulevard intersects major roads.

“Providing safer cycling infrastructure across the state will remain a priority for a Labor Government,” Weatherill said.

“If re-elected, Labor will commit to funding two new bicycle boulevards that provide an attractive and safe alternative to cycling on our busy arterial roads.

“Bicycle boulevards follow quiet, low-traffic streets where cyclists of all abilities can mix safely and comfortably with local motor vehicle traffic.”

The pilots will be funded from the Motor Accident Commission road safety contribution to the 2013-14 budget.

Christian Haag, the CEO of Bicycle SA, said he was a strong supporter of the bicycle boulevard concept.

“They’re new for Adelaide but they’re very common overseas – and very effective,” he said.

“They essentially are designed to create a shared environment.

“The intent is to create a corridor on the road network that is lower speed and traffic calmed.”

Haag rejected the idea that motorists would resent restrictions on their speed in back streets.

“They’re very appealing to residents as well because no-one wants to live on a busy road,” he said.

“Ultimately this is about getting more people on bikes, reducing the number of people in cars, and reducing congestion on the roads.

“This is not about creating restrictions for cars – it’s about creating opportunities for people to walk and cycle.”

Liberal transport and infrastructure spokesperson Vickie Chapman said a Liberal Government would  “deliver road upgrades that improve conditions for cyclists and motorists”.

“We will work with local councils and the Motor Accident Commission to ensure that our state’s most dangerous cycling black spots are correctly identified, and upgrades are prioritised according to need,” she told InDaily.

“We will also work with local councils to identify routes that can be upgraded using the State Bicycle Fund to funnel cyclists and reduce conflicts between bikes and cars on other roads.

“Creating routes that are designed for cyclists will remove bike traffic from roads that carry heavy vehicle traffic and assist motorists.”

Beulah Road, part of which Haag said was used as a “rat run” (an alternative route for car commuters to avoid busy arterial roads), has already been subject to extensive cycling studies by the Norwood, Payneham and St Peters Council.

As InDaily reported in January, the council released a draft city cycling plan which contained concepts for turning the road into a bicycle boulevard.

A report to the council said Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure officers told the council that it was willing to work with them to reduce speeds on the road.

Their preferred option was to use “infrastructural and visual cues” to reduce vehicle speeds. However, if this didn’t work, they would consider implementing a 30km/h speed limit.

The plan included a range of options for these cues.

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