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Flinders, Franklin st recommended for $5m city bikeway

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City council transport experts have endorsed Flinders and Franklin streets as the ideal route for a new $5.5 million separated bikeway through the CBD.

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Works to demolish, redevelop and extend the controversial Frome Street bikeway, running north-south through the CBD, are expected to begin this month.

Last year, the council and the State Government announced a jointly-funded $12 million city bikeways project to replace and extend the north-south cycling corridor, build a new east-west separated bikeway and develop a new bike-share scheme.

The city council will tonight consider a staff report which recommends Flinders-Franklin streets as the preferred route for the key east-west bikeway, dismisses Pirie-Waymouth streets as too narrow and advises that Grote-Wakefield streets are viable but not ideal.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese told InDaily his council was “very determined to proceed” with the $5.5 million bikeway and to put “behind us” controversies over the Frome Street bikeway and the earlier Sturt Street bikeway, which the council built but later demolished.

“I actually remain very confident that once people see … the higher quality outcome (on the north-south bikeway) people will be considerably more accommodating of it,” Haese said.

He said the new cycling routes through the CBD, separated from traffic, would be “safe for cyclists … good for pedestrians, good for neighbouring (property) owners and good even for businesses”.

“We’re setting a new benchmark.

“We can put that (past bikeway controversies) behind us.”

The report says several factors make Flinders-Franklin a better route for a new separated bikeway than Grote-Wakefield.

Grote and Wakefield streets feature 20 bus stops which would need to be reconstructed to accommodate a separated bikeway, about double the motor vehicle traffic, complex truck loading arrangements at the Central Market that would be “difficult to integrate with the bikeway”, less adjacent development potential and fewer workers in bordering buildings, according to the report.

The more southerly route would also be interrupted by the closure of Reconciliation Plaza, bisecting Victoria Square, during events.

Flinders and Franklin streets, by contrast, are already more popular with cyclists, feature no bus stops and 80 per cent more end-of-trip facilities in adjacent buildings for cyclists. The route also has a greater potential for widened footpaths and more street trees.

However a Flinders-Franklin separated bikeway would require “changes to traffic and parking arrangements (which) will cause concern to some members of the community” – and there may be “some impacts to existing outdoor dining areas”.

Since the construction of the Frome Street bikeway in 2014, the council has moved to demolish and replace the bikeway; it then revoked that decision in favour of a “compromise” deal where only the northern half of the existing cycling corridor would be redeveloped; it then found that the entire bikeway might be replaced after all (with councillors retaining diametrically opposite views on what they had actually ended up voting for).

Councillors hoped the most March decision would end the controversy.

In June this year, an independent assessment of the council’s Frome Street bikeway redevelopment uncovered a plethora of risks associated with the project – including “extreme” risks of adverse media coverage and that the budget for the project was not great enough to meet community expectations.

The council will consult landowners and occupants of buildings about parking arrangements along whichever East-West route is selected.

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