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Cycling routes "not safe enough" for new city high school

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The Government’s proposed city high school would include 170 bicycle parking spaces and just three individual car parks – but parents are unlikely to let their kids cycle to it, a new report warns.

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Adelaide City Council transport experts say current cycling routes to the the yet-to-be-constructed, 1000-student Frome Road high school would not be considered safe enough for school children to ride unaccompanied.

“Parents are unlikely to permit their children to ride to school if connections/routes between home and school are not considered safe,” a council staff report to the Adelaide Parklands Authority says.

“Existing potential cycling routes between home and school do not provide continuous low-stress facilities for bike riders that would be suitable for younger high school students (Years 8 to 10) to ride unaccompanied …

“Therefore it is likely that a low number of students will ride. That is currently the case at Adelaide High School, where only 10-20 students ride.”

A site plan for the new high school. Image: ACC

A site plan for the new high school. Image: ACC

The report says there would need to be improvements to the cycling network across the city and North Adelaide, extending out to nearby council areas, to get children riding safely and in significant numbers to the new school.

“In order to achieve more students riding to school, improvements to the cycling network will be required across Adelaide City Council and other surrounding council areas including [the State Government’s] road network, in a coordinated manner,” it says.

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan told InDaily the State Government was “continuing to work closely with the Adelaide City Council on a city-wide improvement in cycling routes, developing north-south and also east-west connections”.

“Construction has already begun on a new shared-use path and bridge as part of the $160 million O-Bahn City Access Project, with connections to Botanic Park, adjacent to the Reid Building, and the River Torrens Linear Park.

“In addition, the State Government is investing more than $6 million to improve cycling infrastructure and $10 million to promote low-carbon forms of transport, such as cycling.”

The report also recommends improved bus services along Frome Road, including a dedicated school bus service.

“It is unlikely that current bus services along Frome Road would meet the demand in the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times,” the report says.

A landscaping plan for the new high school. Image: ACC

A landscaping plan for the new high school. Image: ACC

Mullighan said: “While that part of the CBD is already well serviced by public transport, as with all major projects, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure will investigate what additional public transport services are required in concert with the development of the new CBD High School,” adding that students would benefit from the Government’s $50 million North Terrace tram extension.

While this month’s state budget did not contain specific funding for an improvement or extension of the Frome Street bikeway, Mullighan told InDaily that the Government was in continuing discussions with the council regarding the bikeway.

“We are continuing our discussions with the council about its proposed changes to Frome Street and how those changes will fit into broader improvements to cycling facilities across the CBD,” he said.

The designs for the new high school include a redeveloped Reid Building (pictured top) plus a second new building – as reported exclusively by InDaily in May.

The development will include three basement car parks, including one disabled-access car park, and spaces for 170 bikes.

InDaily has contacted Lord Mayor Martin Haese for comment.

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