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Council's plan to reduce city car use: narrower roads


City roadways will be narrowed and car use will be actively discouraged under long-term plans signed off by the Adelaide City Council last night.

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Future city streets will be focussed on pedestrian and cyclist movements and designed to reduce motor vehicle use, according to projections buried within almost 700 pages of asset management plans endorsed by the council last night.

While currently, city streets are “focussed on vehicular traffic movement,” the document says, future streets will be “focussed on pedestrian and cyclist movements, with a reduction in private vehicular traffic”.

“Select roadways will be reduced in size to accommodate wider footpaths and landscaped buffer ones to allow more cyclists and pedestrian movement,” the plan says.

“This aims to encourage a reduction of vehicular traffic on certain transport passages.”

It also forecasts increased public transport use, with more than 2500 extra daily bus movements projected for city streets by 2038.

The council approved the voluminous document without any debate.

But this morning, area councillor Anne Moran told InDaily any plans to discourage city motor vehicle traffic actively were akin to “social engineering”.

“It shouldn’t be an aim of ours to get cars out of our city,” she said.

Moran said that while there were some streets – for example in North Adelaide – that could reasonably be narrowed without impacting traffic flow, improved public transport and cycling infrastructure should come before any move to discourage motorists from the CBD.

She added that some people, such as parents and the elderly, had little choice but to use cars for transport, and feared that any move to discourage motorists would send them to Tea Tree Plaza or Westfield Marion instead of the city.

But Lord Mayor Martin Haese told InDaily the city contained “hundreds” of smaller streets that could do with wider footpaths (and therefore narrower roads).

He cited co-funded council and State Government upgrades of laneways between the Central Market and Adelaide Railway Station as an example of how wider footpaths could benefit city businesses.

He said an “inevitable” increase in the residential population over coming years meant the council had to prioritise pedestrians before considering the needs of any other mode of transport.

“The first priority should always be pedestrians,” he said.

But he said he would never contemplate narrowing arterial roads like West Terrace and King William Street.

Haese added that public transport was the next most important element of movement planning in the city, because it was “the most efficient way of shifting large volumes of people”, and that the city also needed to prepare for the advent of electric and driverless cars.

South Ward councillor Priscilla Corbell said that the city needed both free-flowing vehicle traffic and better cycling and public transport infrastructure.

“I’ve been an advocate from the state of making our city more cycling and pedestrian friendly,” she said.

“[However] we recognise that cars are an important form of transport.

“I’d be open-minded to having a look at a master plan about how vehicle movement can be better managed.”

She said that her understanding of the plans was that they would affect current council assets, rather than involve new road projects.

Fellow South Ward councillor Alex Antic told last night’s meeting he was concerned the council was instituting “the death of the motor vehicle by a thousand cuts” because it approved the removal of one car park to facilitate a wider footpath in front of a Peregrine Corporation development planned for Union Street in the East End.

Council Associate Director for Infrastructure Phillip Burton said in a statement that: “We are forecasting additional demand on our transportation services based on the targets of the [State Government’s] 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide.”

“We also know that on certain streets there will be an increased demand for suitable pedestrian and cycling facilities, including the provision of universal access principles, to allow more effective movement around the city.

“Council will look for opportunities to widen footpaths and provide associated greening outcomes as part of its future works planning.”

The council will reconsider its asset management plans at a meeting next week.

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