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Your views: on roads, traffic, heritage and TAFE

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the state’s road-building mindset and the impact on built heritage and public transport, and a push to privately outsource TAFE courses.

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Commenting on the opinion piece: Barbarians at the gatehouse

What an excellent and perfectly apt editorial on the Government’s planned destruction of the Urrbrae Gatehouse, part of Peter Waite’s wonderful bequest. 

If the state government proceeds with destruction of this building and at least 20 mature eucalypts in the Waite Arboretum, it will be a betrayal never to be forgiven or forgotten by South Australian voters.

It would break the Government’s recent promise to respect and protect heritage, and value our history, mature trees and the generous bequests made by our pioneer families. Carol Bailey

I have been using this intersection as a motorist and cyclist for 25 years travelling east-west during peak hours. What I don’t understand is the problem itself.

Yes, it gets a little congested for about half an hour each day (you may have to wait two sets of lights to get through), but surprisingly not in the north-south, city inbound and outbound direction which requires the demolition of the gatehouse. Most occurs in the east-west Cross Rd direction (which demolishing the gatehouse will not change).

From what I can see from the plan, the major change is to allow east-west Cross Rd traffic to turn right into Fullarton Road 24 hours a day, which is currently restricted from 7am-7pm during weekdays. Why would you want to turn right from Cross Road into Fullarton Rd unless you were a local? About 10 years ago the Dept of Transport put a no-right-hand-turn sign to stop that. They obviously thought that it was a worthwhile thing to do. So what is the problem now?

Re safety, I just looked Cross Rd and Fullarton Rd Intersection Upgrade – Department for Infrastructure and Transport – South Australia (dpti.sa.gov.au). In the last five years there were only 2 serious injury crashes. There were 26 collisions, which averages out at four per year. Personally I think that the statement in the proposal to spend $61 million and demolish the gatehouse rests on the statement that “The intersection is currently experiencing travel time delays in peak periods”.

I also noticed signs posted on Cross Rd leading to the intersection, authorised by the Liberal Party of Australia prior to the last Federal election, that they will “fix the intersection”. Obviously some people are seeing a problem that I haven’t been able to see in 25 years.

Fyi I’ve lived in Sydney and spent  a lot of time in LA, and if anyone thinks that that intersection is a problem they need to get out more. – Richard Gawel

 Thank you, David Washington. What an excellent overview of the travesty that our roads and transport system has become and is headed for if we continue on this disastrous and stupid path towards even more car worship.

The Marshall government, having managed the initial  COVID crisis very well, has now rediscovered its true colours as it barges blindly onwards destroying the genuine liveability and uniqueness of Adelaide, ignoring Mr Marshall’s promise to preserve heritage.

More roads attract more cars, and make us more and more like any big characterless city.  The proposed demolition of both cottage and heritage on the Fullarton Road corner as a sacrifice to the god of the car is typical of the government’s short sighted, money focussed amenity-and-nuance ignoring approach, while the travesty that is our public transport system languishes in increasingly inefficient privatised inadequacy.

What is happening to the Pretty City? We need a visionary and intelligent government that recognises, enhances and builds on the treasures the this city has and can continue to be a treasure in the future.

If we keep aspiring to be the same as any LA or Detroit we will deserve the  question:”Adelaide? Why would you want to go there?” – Peter Bleby

Adelaide is fast becoming a dystopian nightmare. The City of Churches has long since become the City of Car Parks, but now we can throw in the City of Adelaide Council’s “Drivers’ Month”, their move to increase speed limits in the park lands and their years long opposition to building even a basic bike network in the city centre.

Now we are widening intersections at massive expense and immense destruction – heritage buildings and mature trees are being lost. And this achieves what? Drivers may save a few minutes at an intersection, only to join the next line of cars around the corner.

Adelaide could be so much more than six lanes of congestion with associated pollution and a fair chance of finding a place to park – but there needs to be some vision presented to the public of what the future could hold. Public transport investment, a cycle network that isn’t severely compromised (Frome Street is all that currently exists), widening of footpaths in the CBD along with greening of the city – all these might make a difference, but only if enough is done to persuade people to get out of their cars.

Currently, only 36% of people come into the city by car, but 85% of the road space is given over to cars – car lanes and parking.

If we continue to design Adelaide around the car, we will get the city we deserve.

I don’t think the City of Adelaide Council can be trusted with the future of Central Adelaide. Urban planning and transport in Adelaide should be taken over by the State Government which can then be held accountable at the ballot box. – Ben Smith

Why won’t anyone seriously support the connector? Whether it appears dystopian, as you describe, misses the glaring reality that it would remove the increasingly heavy road trains which are proposed to rumble down Cross Road to South Road. 

The Gatehouse is just the beginning – what happens when the bulldozers reach the two rail crossings or Cabra’s significant red brick wall, what happens to the blessed shade when all the plane trees are axed, what happens to the homes fronting Cross Road? Will they demand and be taxpayer-funded to choose similar high solid walls for noise abatement as happened on Portrush Road, for which Mr Pyne took great credit?

A Northern connector would avoid years of hassle (again, I refer to the “heat” generated by Portrush Road’s use by heavy vehicles e.g. Magill/Portrush Rd widening).

Public transport isn’t the answer in this instance – just remember what happened to the suggested tram line in the centre of Norwood Parade!

It’s time for someone with authority to tackle Mr Braxton-Smith – it should be the new Minister. Good luck with that. – Kay McBryde

Thanks for a powerful piece which addresses all the concerns of road building in Adelaide, South Road in particular, with the extraordinary destruction of community that will result from carrying on with it.

Not to mention the fact, well established by research of such projects, that they never work in the long term. Maybe even the short term.

As you point out, we need that money to go into public transport and this will help resolve present traffic issues on our roads. It will also provide permanent jobs of better quality than ‘building roads as job creation’. 

And may we extrapolate in other ways. A bigger South Road compared with….more and better health care? Building the second major desalinisation plant which we will desperately need shortly and already would permit us to green Adelaide without the fears we all permanently have in South Australia that we will run out? A bigger South Road compared with improving education in South Australia? There are so many things we are told we don’t have money for, and yet this.

We should all be utterly ashamed that we time and time again vote in politicians who have such limited and damaging ways of ‘managing’ our State.Cathy Chua

Commenting on the story: Urrbrae gatehouse demolition preferred as moving would ‘decrease the heritage value’

I couldn’t agree more with Joanna Wells (Your views, Monday 14 Dec) on the Urrbrae gatehouse. 

Come the next election I will be in Corey Wingard’s electorate and have previously written to him on various issues but he is yet to even respond, unlike my current MP who has phoned me a couple of times to discuss said issues.

I will not be voting for Wingard (have told him so) as this Government has made some absolutely shocking decisions since winning in 2018. They will be a one term government if they continue on this path that ignores public outrage.

In 1979 the Government moved the old Marine and Harbours three-storey building in Victoria Square 34 metres north to make way for the SGIC building. Only the façade and one-room depth of the heritage building were retained. Still, it was moved!

Interesting reading at “Heritage Politics in Adelaide during the Bannon Decade” especially from p61. Heritage issues then were no different to today. We have learned nothing. – Jenny Cole

For Minister Wingard and his department bureau heavyweights to even contemplate the demolition of the Gatehouse is disgusting to say the least.

There have been many excellent opinions expressed in InDaily in the past week. I would like to add a point of relevance about “moving” the building.

Reminder: there was such a similar relocation undertaken in the late seventies in Victoria Square. “The South Australian Harbours Board Building facade was the subject of a unique engineering feat for South Australia in 1979 – it was (placed on bogeys and moved on rail lines) to its present site 34 metres to the north to make way for the SGIC building (since re-named ‘GHD’). The four-storey building was originally built for the National Mutual Life Assurance of Australia (NMLA) in 1884. It reflected the financial optimism of the period, just before South Australia plunged into a depression (excerpt from ‘Adelaidepedia’).

Hence the reason for its conservation. As a TAFE student at the time it was a truly amazing feat to be able to watch the relocation.

Similarly, by moving the Gatehouse, the building can be saved as well as improved for its cultural heritage conservation.

The mentality of demolishing everything that certain individuals perceive as “old” for the sake of so-called progress is a load of bunkum. Or more seriously in this case, a loss of votes for the present government at the next election. – Paula Furlani

The disregard for cultural heritage expressed through the proposed demolition of this significan, beautiful building  despite  the  compromise of relocation being acceptable, is an indictment on the duty of care entrusted to our Government. – Ken Martin

 Relocation may well reduce the heritage value of the lodge house, but demolition absolutely eradicates the building and its heritage.

Also it’s time to stop hacking down trees for traffic. Work harder and find a better plan, this is just lazy thinking. – Josephine Shearer

A lot of research and effort goes into verifying buildings for heritage listing. Time and again we see the historic reasons behind these listings being ignored. 

There must be other solutions for consideration. You can’t put it back, no matter how remorseful one may feel at its demolition. This has happened in my own home town, despite buildings being listed as significant. – Judith Evans

It is an absolute disgrace that the Urrbrae gatehouse is ear-marked for demolition.  Yet another piece of our history ready to be bulldozed!

Come on SA, grow up. Realise that we need to preserve architectural assets for future generations. – Kerry Harrison

Commenting on the opinion piece: Leaked ‘draft’ letter prompts concerns for TAFE students

So, I wonder if I have this right? Just as we tentatively start to think that COVID-19 may be able to be contained, and that a recovery might be on the way, we are going to constrain that recovery by deliberately destroying one of the most trusted institutions in South Australia so that the Marshall Government can try and prove that for the first time ever, opening up public services to private competition produces better results.

Skills will be central to any economic and social recovery here in SA, and a strong, well-resourced TAFE sector is a precondition to building those skills!

Whether it’s creating a sovereign naval shipbuilding enterprise, early childhood education, disability care, aged care or building a renewable energy future, skills will matter. 

Constraining our ability to grow those skills, constrains our future and is just plain dumb! – Ian Curry, National Coordinator, Skills, Training & Apprenticeships Policy, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union

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