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Long wait for full separated bikeway though the CBD

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The bike lobby has hailed the newly rebuilt sections of Frome Street bikeway as a success, but cyclists can expect a long wait before they see a complete north-south separated bikeway through the city.

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The Adelaide City Council has confirmed it will be unable to build the Rundle Street to North Terrace section of Frome Street bikeway until the construction of a 36-storey hotel complex, the Adelaidean, is finished.

The development is taking up driving lane space along the strip.

Design work is now underway to build a new separated bikeway north of that stretch – along Frome Road to the River Torrens – but the hotel development means there will be a gap in the bikeway until at least mid-to-late 2019, when the hotel development is due to be complete.

“The city works permit for the existing Adelaidean development site set-up ends in mid-late 2019,” the council’s director of operations, Beth Davidson-Park, said in a statement to InDaily this morning.

The Adelaidean development will prevent the city council building a new separated bikeway along the Rundle Street to North Terrace section of Frome Street until at least mid-to-late 2019. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

“(However) the design for the bikeway on Frome Road, between Victoria Drive and North Terrace is under development.”

Cyclists currently use a narrow painted bike lane on the western side of Frome Road and a painted bike lane on the footpath along the eastern side.

Council transport experts have previously warned that parents are unlikely to let their children ride to the new city high school under construction on Frome Road, Botanic High, because nearby cycling routes are not safe enough.

The school, which is designed to include 170 bicycle parking spaces and just three individual car parks on its basement level, is due to open in term one next year.

The Frome Street separated bikeway has been the subject of intense controversy since it opened in 2014.

The original design eliminated a driving lane in each direction and featured concrete bollards at kerb height, which opponents of the bikeway had labelled “tank traps”.

The new design features a thinner bike lane next to the footpath, two lanes of traffic in both directions during peak hour and a wholesale upgrade of the “streetscape”, including new footpaths and plants.

The section of Frome Street between Pirie Street and Grenfell Street has now been rebuilt in the new design, and the next stage – Grenfell Street to Rundle Street – is underway.

The completed section of new bikeway between Pirie Street and Grenfell Street. Photo: Bension Siebert / InDaily

 

 

Construction workers building a new section of bikeway along Frome Street between Grenfell Street and Rundle Street. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Parts of the existing bikeway are also being dug up south of Flinders Street in preparation for the new treatment.

Chair of the Bicycle Institute of South Australia, Fay Patterson told InDaily cyclists were loving the rebuilt parts of the bikeway.

She said the new design had been a good compromise between the competing interests of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians, and that it had improved the overall aesthetics of the street.

“We love it,” she told InDaily this morning.

“(The) council has told us it’s being well received by non-cyclists as well.

“We’re really seeing it as a win-win-win thing.”

She said the cycling community was relieved that the heat had gone out of the Frome Street debate and that she hoped the new bikeway would set a template for more across the city.

“It’s a real relief that it (the debate) is coming to a close,” she said, adding that she believed the wholesale upgrade of Frome Street, including new footpaths and greening, had ensured the political success of the new bikeway.

But Patterson said it was “a pain in the butt for everyone” that the Adelaidean development would stall progress, adding that a safe cycling corridor through the city, entirely separated from traffic, would help convince many non-cyclists to try cycling as a safe alternative mode of transport – once the bikeway is finally complete.

“It’s just going to be one of those things,” she said.

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