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Your views: on bikeways and concerts

Opinion

Today, readers comment on Adelaide City Council’s bikeway rejection, and a bid for music events at Adelaide Oval number 2.

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Commenting on the opinion piece: Adelaide’s wide streets, narrow minds

A brilliant description of the factional, cultural and historical roots of the problem: deep fear of change, groupthink, a council addicted to carparking (revenue) and a society obese with just in time affordable convenience.

So why, despite being an elected member who advocates bicycle friendly planning, did I vote this motion down, when it was already known that the dominant faction and presiding member intended to kill it off? Simple – confidential, last-minute legal advice. To say more would see me break the law. 

So what next? For a city purportedly ‘designed for life’ it is outrageously  more than a quarter century since our ‘liveable’ city last had a City Plan. The ‘ad-hocery’ that has resulted, incoherently overlays strategy after strategy with spot planning with zero unifying intelligence. Engineering ‘trumps’ integrated design and planning.

Having already lodged motions for a city plan, and for an integrated master plan for the Greater Central West Precinct, I am lodging a Motion on Notice for the April Meeting of Council, calling for a report that tells us how we can achieve not just one, but perhaps two or even three by integrating one-way motor vehicle movement on Franklin, Waymouth and Hindley Streets, with integrated enhanced pedestrian amenity plus dedicated two-way bicycle lanes.

There’s plenty of space for all three modes of movement, not to mention the increasingly ubiquitous scooter.

The sun can only rise in the west when we rebalance the spaces to make better places. – Greg Mackie, Central ward councillor

David, I could not agree with you more. As a cyclist who was knocked off my bike twice while commuting from the eastern suburbs, it is truly a disgrace and an embarrassment that the conservative law makers of this otherwise wonderful city continue the fight against sustainable transport and cyclists in particular.

I was in New York a few years ago and, despite my initial concerns, I found myself hiring on-street bikes and riding round the city on its designated cycle lanes and I felt completely safe. To think I can’t do the same in my own city is incomprehensible.

As you say we should be leading the way, it is shameful that we are not. – Martin Easson

Along with my wife, I swapped a veranda for a balcony when we moved from Woodcroft to live in Franklin Street a couple of years ago.

We wanted embrace city living, swap a car for a couple of eBikes, and enjoy cycling to the nearby fringe villages to shop and enjoy a coffee. While I feel confident in sharing the road space with cars, my wife as a novice cyclist is petrified of the traffic in the city, and Franklin Street in particular.

We were looking forward to the provision of the East-West bikeway as a means of safely connecting to the parklands and beyond.

I was present in the gallery for the special meeting of the council to listen to the arguments either way. Crs Martin, Simms and Donovan all made cogent contributions to debate, relying on evidence to support their cases. Sadly, the rest of the council were disingenuous and relied on spurious and unsubstantiated claims ranging from loss of revenue, and negative impacts on business through to flawed consultation and danger to pedestrians to argue their case.

As a former councillor and deputy Mayor (Onkaparinga), planner and SAPOL accident investigator I can only lament the position that the conservative Team Adelaide faction and an impotent Lord Mayor has now put us in.

My Adelaide is one with an integrated transport system that provides safe active transport options. We can do better than this. – Peter Schulze

The Adelaide City Council’s dangerously excessive dependence on revenue from car-parking seems to be not only a main reason for the failure to support an east-west bikeway, but also the impending departure from this city of Go-Get, the successful national car-share business.

Go -Get has operated in Adelaide for more than a decade, as it will continue to do in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra. The opportunity to rent a vehicle on hourly rates is very attractive for inner-city dwellers, and indeed makes it possible for households to give up owning their own car.

But over the past few years, council’s reluctance to allow the company to increase the number of its vehicles in council-allocated parking spaces on Adelaide’s streets in order to meet the needs of several thousand Go-Get members has led to increased service difficulties and frustration.

So we have now lost Go-Get, whose management has obviously decided that it’s no use fighting this City Hall, which is plainly torn between a desire to appear – perhaps even be – clean and green on the one hand, and the urge to maximise returns from its own parking enterprises on the other. – Wilfrid Prest

If the loss of 179 parking spaces in Franklin street is classified as ‘catastrophic’, how do you describe tragedies like fires, floods and the like.

Get real and give cyclists a go. Supporting rehabilitation and medical treatment costs more in the community. – Victoria Beresin

Couldn’t agree more. Smog in the city centre is highly visible from the ‘top of Taps’, especially on hot, still days. – Martin Flanagan

I couldn’t agree more with your opinion piece. The Games or Utopia come to mind, unfortunately this time in reality. – Eddie Bampton

An embarrassing decision. Very hard to understand. I presume the hypocrisy of holding the TDU will mean it will move to another state. – David Sutton

Our climate, our flat city, and wide streets make us perfect as a cycling city. Get safer bike lanes and tourists would love it and we’d get more locals on bikes. 

It would drop the noise and pollution. And Adelaide could be innovative. Just look at Barcelona. – Kaye Morton

The history of how Amsterdam became so cycle-friendly makes fascinating reading.

The turnaround began long ago, in the 1970s, after cycling carnage due to cars taking over the city. Canals that had been converted into highways were converted back into canals. Significant cycling infrastructure was built, like parking.  

That city, and many others such as Copenhagen, have a wonderful atmosphere due to the humans riding bikes being more visible and interactive than when they are hidden inside a car. These cities are also quieter and healthier. The business community has embraced the environment, adapted and grown.

It is disappointing that we talk about doing something to slow the speed of climate change, but then we do this. And we are using public transport less since the pandemic began. And we are buying noisy, smelly American-style petrol and diesel pickup truck type vehicles more than ever.

Are we hypocritical talkers, or are we serious about doing? – Gary Reeve

How disappointing. Well planned cycling infrastructure should make it safer for pedestrians by making it safer for cyclists so that they don’t ride on the footpath. 

As for loss of carparks, more people cycling should result in less cars and lower demand for parking. If cycling was prioritised here as it is in some cities, the net result should be a cleaner, safer and more accessible city, with greater awareness of cyclists as legitimate road users. – Nicolette Di Lernia  

I take umbrage with two of your statements in this article.

Firstly, “No other city has such plentiful and cheap car parking in the CBD”. I’m not sure what you define as cheap, but it’s not by my standards. I actually think it’s expensive – very. And anecdotally, so do the majority of Adelaideans. Have a close look at what happens in shopping centres in Adelaide with free car parking. 

And then, ironically you say: ‘We’re trying to rescue the city from a post-COVID collapse’. You’re right. So why wouldn’t the mean-minded ACC try offering free car-parking and see what happens for the retailers in the city.

You’d be better off advocating for that than whipping out the old chestnut of trying to compare us to somewhere else, as though there’s some kind of onus on Adelaide to behave in the manner you see fit. This is Adelaide. Full stop. End of story. – Jane Capulet

This is an appalling and regressive decision. I would be very interested to learn the council’s reasoning for turning down much-needed funds for obvious health, community and business benefits.

Is it as simplistic as an east-west bikeway being seen as a threat to parking meter revenue? – Pablo Muslera

I often ride with my 11-year-old and 15-year-old daughters and have never found any issue with what we have.

The proposed spend of nearly $6m, for the few hundred of us who would use it, can’t be expected to be paid for by the ratepayers and taxpayers. Andrew Macdonald

I totally agree with this article. I am one of the increasing numbers of MAMIL’s that try to stay healthy and fit through cycling the roads of Adelaide.

The bike lanes along most arterial roads are poor, with potholes, bumps, rubbish, glass all needed to be navigated. Some bumps are so large they are actually painted by councils to ensure they are avoided by cyclists instead of just being fixed. I can’t recall a weekend where we haven’t been verbally abused by other road users who even on an early Saturday morning will feel the need to pass us by as close as they can even when there are three lanes for them to use, down say Anzac Highway as an example.

I, like many cyclists have also been hit by cars. The lack of attention to cyclists by motorists is astonishing. There really needs to be some public awareness campaign about cars needing to give way to cyclists in bike lanes, particularly when cars are turning across a bike lane to the left or right.

But what Adelaide really is missing is the foresight to consider how roads can be improved for cyclists to come into the city and then back again (from all directions) without having to compete for space with vehicles.

Cycling during peak periods is just too dangerous and cycling for leisure around the city is usually avoided. Adelaide can be such a progressive city in this space, but what we often read about is councillors and politicians just not being progressive enough in this area. – Reza Evans

Adelaide. Where road signs for cars are placed in the middle of cycle paths, where cycle paths end just before intersections where they are needed most, where cyclists are frequently injured and killed because they are mixed with heavy traffic, where cyclists use footpaths to survive their ride to work, where people are too scared to use their car for short, flat commutes in the sun, where cyclists are forced to wear helmets because cycling is dangerous by design, where it is unsafe to cycle to school and traffic jams exist just for school drop offs, where cars take precedence over healthy living and the environment, where there is only one (heavily disputed) separate cycle path in a city with possibly the highest number of car parks (per capita) worldwide, where progress for all is subject to the needs of a few, where the city council returns funding for a cycle path to the state because they don’t want to use it.

Adelaide. Designed for cars. – Edwin Roman

Colonel Light laid us out a perfect city for bicycling. Why we haven’t capitalised on the opportunity is down to small-minded and entrenched interests in city property, unclean energy and all the business and income associated with it.

Adelaide wants to think it is green but it is not. The international examples make this very clear.

The question is: how can this be changed? It is not a practical problem, but a political one. One answer would be for the State Government to mandate streets for cycle lanes and fully fund the projects. This would surely convince ratepayers to demand bikeways and could even involve compensation for businesses who demonstrate loss of income.

The economic cycling benefit is too large, amply demonstrated in multiple countries and cities, for it to be lost to small vested interests. – Andrew Reilly

A disgrace. The city is not fun to ride around, it is a constant tussle with motor vehicles. The parklands are good but the shared paths with people walking can be a hazard for everyone, especially cyclist who push the limits of being civil.

Most of the city bike paths are a small white line on the side that crosses parking, I did not feel comfortable riding with my 10-year-old son there.

Dedicated bike paths, also for the growing eScooter contingents, make it safer for everyone involved, including cars and pedestrians, as the cross over is less which reduces accidents such as opening car doors.

Get rid of the side parking by making car parks cheaper, widen the foot paths and add the bike paths with more trees and nature. A more user-friendly city with less pollution and more green spaces. Why say no to that and lose $3 million in funding for a better city? – Shane Williams

Commenting on the story: City council to lose $3m bikeway funding after rejecting latest plan

It is time that the state government and specifically the Minister for Transport started showing some leadership. 

Greater Adelaide lends itself to bicycle transport, and yet we have no connected bicycle infrastructure and less separated bicycle lanes in the city than some country towns. Continued focus and expenditure on moving a car traffic jam three blocks down the road is very short-sighted and driven by 1950s American-style lobby groupthink.

The decision by the Adelaide City Council not to build an east-west bike route is disappointing for all South Australians. The city council is incapable of making decisions on bicycle infrastructure while it is conflicted by being one of the largest car park owners in the state.

Adelaide was a city inside a park but it is turning into a smog-driven traffic jam. How many modern cities in the world have so few protected bikeways and purposely congest their roads with trams and buses on the same stretch? London introduced the congestion tax 18 years ago. Imagine Adelaide with a congestion tax replacing the Adelaide Council car parking income, and building housing where those carparks now stand. 

The sprawl of Adelaide’s suburbs are currently the same length as Los Angeles. Amsterdam was a city of smog and cars until strong leadership changed to healthier forms of transport. Like Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, forty years ago the city of Curitiba in Brazil created its first pedestrian street. Curitiba is now the gold standard in sustainable urban design, with around one-third of the CBD only accessed by busses, bicycles and pedestrians.

The expansion of car exclusion was driven by the shop and business owners realising the benefits. Here in Adelaide, the move toward a healthier more mobile environment is hindered by five businesses. It is not good enough. – Roger Coats

How can a city label itself as “Designed for Life” when it has more car parks per square metre of office space than almost anywhere else in the world.  Please think about what South Australia will look like in another twenty years, not just up to the next election.

As a person who lives in a semi-rural area 45 minutes from the Adelaide CBD by car and over an hour by public transport – even if I drive to some transition point then hop a bus – I don’t go to the CBD unless necessary, and try to combine it with other business in the broader Adelaide area.  

The tram extensions and bikeway in Frome Street have made combining a trip to the CBD as part of a broader visit to Adelaide area businesses too difficult, and I have moved almost all my business and shopping needs to other areas – Burnside, Marion, and Mount Barker.

Also the local councils have restricted parking times in areas around Glen Osmond road or near the tram route where I used to park to take public transport into the CBD. I have given up. – Paul Turk

Commenting on the story: Wrong note: Botanic Gardens opposed Adelaide Oval outdoor concerts bid

Journalists are always attracted to the most obvious dog fight of the day, so readers may not have realised the extent of public resistance to the Adelaide Oval Stadium Management Authority proposal.

It wants permission to hold eight concerts annually, and to profit from formalised paid parking of up to 1350 cars, on Oval No 2 (outside the big oval) and nearby sites.

I’ve observed council Your Say park lands surveys for years. But I’ve never seen such a level of administrative contempt responding to the comprehensive (and sometimes forensically explored) public comments submitted about this proposal.

Many of the administrative responses ignored the facts, and some assumed the tone of a Monty Python script in its discounting of logical rationales. It’s no wonder that South Australians are so cynical about the city council’s park lands management. Last year council had obviously concluded a ‘done deal’ with the Stadium’s board, and this year it has been going through the YourSay motions to legitimise it. But it’s been a sham from the beginning.

The AOSMA won’t relax until it has full council approval to access sections of land surrounding the oval for profitable events. If council rubberstamps the 25 March Park Lands Authority agenda recommendation, it will not only confirm true bastardry of procedure and cunning revision of policy, but will also activate one of the most exploitive commercial bids since approval to build that $42m AOSMA hotel in 2019, due east of Oval No 2.

AOSMA’s motivations are obsessed with further monetising the oval’s park lands surrounds. – John Bridgland

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