Following a motion from Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Couros, further community consultation will be undertaken before implementing the city's proposed east-west bikeway. Some councillors are concerned the move will kill off the infrastructure project all together.
Adelaide’s east-west bikeway has been delayed
A motion from Couros calling for more stakeholder feedback on the city’s east-west bikeway was supported by councillors Alexander Hyde, Arman Abrahimzadeh, Franz Knoll, Simon Hou and Jessy Khera at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The group voting in favour of the motion is notably consistent with City of Adelaide’s dominant voting bloc, Team Adelaide.
Couros told the chamber the administration’s recommended “iterative” consultation approach, meaning seeking community feedback after the infrastructure is built could “bully people into accepting a decision”.
The Deputy Lord Mayor proposed seeking more stakeholder feedback, to be delivered to council by March next year.
“They are our ratepayers to this city,” Couros said.
“They are the ones paying for half of this bikeway. Therefore, we need to take into consideration how it will affect them.
“I’ve got a timeline on this. I understand we have a deed in place, Lord Mayor, and I understand we are subject to this taking place, and that’s why I’m seeking we have an extension and we can have a consultation to take place and come back in March and work through what was consulted and implement that further.”
Councillor Hyde supported the amendment, saying the community only saw the council administration’s recommended route three weeks ago, and the message hadn’t had time to “filter through”.
The proposed bikeway starts at West Terrace heading along Franklin Street, before turning right along Gawler Place and reorienting eastward along Wakefield Street, where it intersects with the established north-south bikeway before ending at Hutt Street.
The bikeway is designed with separation strips to keep cyclists away from traffic, and will be mostly 2.5 metres wide, except for “selected pinch-points” where it might be narrower.
In 2016, the State Government allocated $3 million in funding to contribute to the development of an east-west bikeway in the city, with the City of Adelaide matching that funding amount.
However, the State Government funding is contingent on infrastructure being delivered before 30 June 2021.
According to the council administration’s recommendations, the bikeway could be completed before the deadline if construction begins by early 2021 and the iterative consultation approach is employed.
Councillor Robert Simms said he was “very concerned” about the community consultation amendments, as it’s “another attempt to delay this process.”
“I do think pushing for more delays is going to potentially result in us losing funding for the project and also compound the community anguish and frustration of this council and its inability to deliver this project.”
Councillor Helen Donovan was critical of Couros’ idea, saying when the consultation comes back in March, it will recommend another corridor and “further delays”.
Councillor Khera criticised the bikeway, saying if the City of Adelaide built it, the result would be a loss of 170 car parking spaces and unemployment in the city.
“The effect of ill-considering a proposal like this can and will be the loss of jobs,” Khera said.
“The loss of jobs of working-class people who depend on small employers.”
City of Adelaide CEO Mark Goldstone said the Department of Transport and Infrastructure CE Tony Braxton-Smith had told him “he is receptive to providing a final extension” of six months.
“That would be on the basis of council undertaking consultation, which would then enable us to confirm the route alignment by the 31st of March next year, and on the basis of constructing and completing by the 30th of December next year.”
Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor confirmed they have not received written confirmation but there is “a discussion taking place.”