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New Govt 'to maintain city bikeways deal'

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The new State Government has agreed to honour its predecessor’s $12 million bikeways deal, the city council says, but it’s unclear when cyclists can expect the safe-cycling corridors to be complete.

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The Government has promised to continue to co-fund construction of the north-south and east-west separated bikeways – even if the Adelaide City Council fails to meet a December 31 deadline on the project.

“We’ve had that undertaking from the Government,” council director of operations Beth Davidson-Park told InDaily this morning.

Both safe-cycling corridors were originally due to be finished by June 2018, but the Weatherill Government agreed to extend the deadline.

As InDaily reported last week, the north-south bikeway will not be finished until after construction is completed on the 36-storey Frome Street Adelaidean hotel complex on Frome Street between Rundle Street and North Terrace – expected to be mid to late 2019.

Davidson-Park told a council meeting this week that works to build an east-west bikeway – proposed for Flinders and Franklin Streets – would not begin until the north-south bikeway is finished.

“We were requested not to commence the engagement through that section (Flinders and Franklin streets) until we had surveyed residents, property owners, ratepayers in and around that precinct,” she said.

“Subsequent to that the CEO (Mark Goldstone) advised members that we would complete the work on north-south and then we would proceed with the next stages of east-west.”

Davidson-Park told councillors this could potentially push the start of the east-west project out to 2020 or later.

But she told InDaily this morning that it was possible that consultation concerning the east-west bikeway could start earlier, once all of the north-south blocks other than the section affected by the Adelaidean development were completed.

In September, the city council selected Flinders and Franklin streets to host the CBD’s east-west separated bikeway and authorised council CEO Mark Goldstone to negotiate contracts to begin works on it.

But within weeks, councillors retreated from public debate on the subject, following claims by the owner of a Flinders Street café that the bikeway would kill his business.

The council postponed design work and formal consultation on the east-west bikeway until it received the results of a survey of local residents, property owners and business owners – excluding other stakeholders.

Asked when cyclists could expect to see the east-west bikeway project underway, Davidson-Park told InDaily this morning: “How long is a piece of string?”

“We put it on hold while we focused on north-south.

“It will all depend on the outcomes of the community engagement.”

The results of the survey – asking, simply “Do you support an east west separated bikeway along Flinders and Franklin St?” – were due back last month.

But Davidson-Park said that the survey “instrument” was yet to be presented to the city council for approval, and sending it to ratepayers would likely be held off until after the north-south bikeway was done.

InDaily contacted Transport Minister Stephan Knoll for comment.

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