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CBD's east-west bikeway approved as Frome St rebuild begins

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The Adelaide City Council has approved the key east-west protected cycling route for the CBD as its staff prepare to demolish and rebuild Frome Street bikeway, beginning next week.

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The council last night selected Flinders and Franklin streets – cutting through the city along the northern edge of Victoria Square – to host the $5.5 million separated bikeway, which is co-funded by the State Government.

The decision accepts the recommendation of council staff to select Flinders-Franklin streets as the key east-west route, instead of Pirie and Waymouth streets – judged too narrow – or Grote and Wakefield streets – which contain a bus corridor and higher traffic volumes.

Businesses, land-owners and other stakeholders will now be consulted on plans for the protected bikeway before detailed designs are brought back to the council for approval.

Central Ward councillor Houssam Abiad welcomed the step, but said it was “disheartening” that the council was not getting the recognition it deserved for making progress on bikeways.

The Adelaide City Council last night approved Flinders Street and Franklin Street (in blue) as the route for a protected east-west bikeway through the CBD.

“I just was want to note my disappointment … that we don’t have the biking lobby in the gallery,” Abiad told the meeting.

“I’ve not received any emails from anyone in the bike lobby … that wants to come and support and clap for council.

“We see no recognition from our community … and that really I find quite disheartening and disappointing.”

Abiad conceded, this time last year, that the council had “wasted ratepayers’ money” on the vagaries of council decision-making concerning Frome Street bikeway since it was constructed in 2014.

Nonetheless, he told last night’s meeting the council should feel proud of delivering cycling infrastructure in pursuit of a traffic system that works for all modes of transport.

“This council is extremely engaged when it comes to delivering infrastructure for biking in the city,” he said.

“That engagement doesn’t just happen when there are things that people don’t like, but also on things they do like.”

South Ward councillor Alex Antic argued the council should delay any decision on the east-west bikeway until the north-south bikeway, along Frome Street, was rebuilt.

But only one other elected member, area councillor Anne Moran, supported the idea.

Antic told the meeting: “We need to tread with extreme caution with any of these projects.”

“I’ve got some real reservations about going any further … before we’ve seen the end of the Frome Street project.”

A council spokesperson told InDaily this afternoon that the funding agreement with the State Government requires both the North-South and East-West bikeways be complete by June next year.

As InDaily reported yesterday, the City of Adelaide User Profiles Survey showed a steep decline in the proportion of people who said they visit, shop or work in the CBD.

The survey also revealed taking a bus into the city, rather than driving in, was becoming more popular.

“The number of people coming into the city has dropped,” Antic told the chamber.

“I would say … a lot of that can be attributed to the difficulty people have navigating the city.

“We have to be careful that we don’t end up carbon neutral and business neutral in the city.

“I fully support safe bikeways – we all do (…however) I reserve my right generally to object to the project full-stop.”

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