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City bikeways now unlikely before 2021

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The long-overdue $12 million city bikeway project is set to have its deadline extended for a second time, with city council backtracking over preferred routes and ongoing construction delays meaning an end date is not likely until 2021.

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Both the north-south and east-west safe-cycling corridors were originally due to be completed by June 2018, but the then Weatherill Government, which contributed $6 million to the project, agreed to extend the deadline until June this year.

Now, the Marshall Government and Adelaide City Council have flagged extending the project’s deadline a second time to June 30 2021.

The north-south bikeway will not be finished until after construction is completed on the 36-storey Adelaidean hotel complex on Frome Street between Rundle Street and North Terrace – expected this year.

Meanwhile, the council has rehashed debate over which route it would prefer for the east-west bikeway – despite councillors approving Flinders and Franklin streets as the preferred location in September last year.

Work on the east-west route, which is now likely to be located along Pirie and Waymouth streets, is on hold until after the north-south bikeway is finished.

According to the council’s website, sections of the north-south route along Kingston Terrace to Sir Edwin Smith Avenue, and Victoria Drive to North Terrace are still under consideration.

“Whilst work on the North-South and East-West Bikeways has progressed, a number of events continue to result in delays to the program of works,” council papers state.

A council spokesperson told InDaily those delays related to the construction of the Adelaidean, as well as the upcoming construction of a 16-storey hotel at the Budget Car & Truck Hire site, also on Frome Street.

The State Government and city council have also proposed removing a “point-to-point” bike share feasibility study from the project’s original scope.

When the city bikeway deal was signed in June 2017, the $1 million bike-share study was touted as necessary to “bring (the city’s) bike share scheme up to international standards”.

But council papers state since then, private bike share operators have voluntarily entered the Adelaide market, meaning a feasibility study is no longer required.

Currently, Airbike is the only bike share company operating in the city, with a fleet of 40 bikes.

Council papers state another bike share company has been approved to start operating in the city early next year.

InDaily asked the council to reveal the name of the bike share company, but was told a “communications plan” had not yet been finalised and, until then, the name of the operator would not be made public.

InDaily understands negotiations with the bike-share operator remain confidential due to commercial reasons.

Area councillor Robert Simms told InDaily this morning the city’s reputation was at risk if delays continued to hamper the bikeway project.

“I think what we have seen is analysis paralysis from Council,” he said.“It’s now more than 12 months overdue and there are still delays.

“If there are going to be further delays we need to know that this is going to be resolved in the new year.”

But Deputy Lord Mayor Alexander Hyde said he would prefer to wait until the council completed a city access strategy next year before construction starts on the east-west route.

“It will inform the best ways to tackle all issues of transport (in) the city – for bikes, public transport and cars,” he said.

“It’s a good sign that upgrading cycling infrastructure is still on the Government’s agenda, noting is was money put aside by the previous Government.”

InDaily contacted Transport Minister Stephan Knoll for comment.

City councillors will debate approving the new project deadline at a committee meeting tomorrow night.

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