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Extended tram network in 20-year vision to mobilise Adelaide CBD

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Extending the tram network in the CBD will be the target of a new 20-year city transport strategy to be co-developed by the State Government and Adelaide City Council.

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The State Government has today opened a $330,000 tender to develop what it calls a “public-facing strategy” in conjunction with the city council to improve public transport, road, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in and around the city.

New transport technologies, including on-demand services, and electric and autonomous vehicles, will also be considered.

But it is not yet clear if the public will be able to scrutinise the plan, with a government spokesperson telling InDaily the strategy would be “prepared for potential public release” early next year.

Also unclear is the funding the Government is willing to commit to implement the strategy’s recommendations, with the spokesperson adding, “this is a development of a long-term strategy and there is no further commitment of funding at this stage.”

“However, the outcomes of the strategy will be considered for funding in future.”

According to the tender invitation, the strategy’s objectives will include addressing growing network congestion, improving connections to, from and within the city, supporting city and business growth, and delivering safer transport options for city residents and visitors.

The invitation also states a “key element” of the strategy will involve consideration of tram extensions within the CBD.

“The State Government has identified the consideration of a business case for tram extensions as a priority for Infrastructure SA,” the invitation states.

“There is also merit to consider targeted tram/light rail routes outside the CBD, such as LeFevre Peninsula.”

Transport Minister Stephan Knoll said the strategy would also help deliver more “customer-focussed” public transport services.

“Obviously almost all of our bus, train and tram services either begin, terminate or pass through the Adelaide CBD,” he said.

“That’s why it is so important we develop a long-term transport strategy so the Adelaide CBD is able to better cope with public transport services now and into the future.

“We don’t want to see bottlenecks and more congestion in our CBD into the future.”

Asked if the Government would consider addressing the bus congestion problems down Grenfell Street as part of the strategy, a spokesperson replied: “more effective bus movement in the city will be a key objective of the strategy”.

InDaily also enquired if the Government would consider increasing funding to deliver more separated bikeways through the CBD.

“The strategy may identify further cycling investment needs,” the government spokesperson said.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor told InDaily the city council would ensure the strategy included improved transport options for all people, regardless or their age or ability.

She said the council would push for paving and crossing upgrades, more scramble crossing and countdown timers to improve pedestrian safety, and the installation of more separated bikeways.

Verschoor said the council’s wish list also included “a CBD tram loop and extensions to key inner-city areas, such as North Adelaide; an electric bus fleet to improve the experience for passengers and other city users (and) better coordination of road works and building works to minimise the impact to road users”.

“This strategy will help deliver safer and more efficient access, address growing congestion, and support growth in the City of Adelaide,” she said.

“It keeps a firm eye on the future by addressing the emerging use of autonomous and electric vehicles in the years ahead.”

A government spokesperson said the successful applicant for the tender would be required to submit a stakeholder engagement plan during the early stages of the consultation process.

“It is nevertheless intended to undertake stakeholder and community engagement as part of the process,” the spokesperson said.

Prospective applicants have until July 23 to submit their proposals.

The tender invitation states the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure will form a steering committee and working group in partnership with the city council to implement the strategy.

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