First look at Gouger Street upgrade plans

The first designs for Adelaide City Council’s plan to revitalise the Gouger Street dining and market precinct have been revealed, prioritising pedestrians with wider footpaths, multi-use activity zones and a lower speed limit. See the images

Jun 19, 2024, updated Jun 19, 2024
A render of the Gouger Street upgrade from the eastward view of the street, featuring an  informal pedestrian crossing with new median and green pedestrian nodes. Photo: City of Adelaide.

A render of the Gouger Street upgrade from the eastward view of the street, featuring an informal pedestrian crossing with new median and green pedestrian nodes. Photo: City of Adelaide.

The renders of a proposed Gouger Street upgrade were presented to the council’s Infrastructure and Public Works Committee last night. 

Concept plans propose reducing the number of on-street car parks from 109 to 82, including four access bays and 39 flexi zone bays that can accommodate loading, parking, activation or outdoor dining.   

The plans intend to manage on-street parking for different periods of the day and increase the street’s walkability to encourage visitors to use public transport or to park further away. 


Current westward view of Gouger Street. Photo: City of Adelaide


Proposed view of Gouger Street with a double-lane loading zone. Photo: City of Adelaide

The project has been earmarked a $15 million budget, with final costs to be determined by the final design. The upcoming council budget has allocated $1.25 million to produce the detailed designs in the 2024/25 financial year.

Councillor Simon Hou said the feedback he’s heard in the precinct includes a desire for better lighting, more CCTV cameras and prioritising repaving to fix uneven paths. 

Gouger Street’s footpath paving was installed in 1997 and is not due for planned renewal until 2037. According to the report, the paving is in good condition overall but there’s a perception of it looking old and dated.

The road surface is overdue for renewal since being installed in 1960, with patched and uneven areas along the street.


Current view from Compton Street to California Street South laneway. This photo: City of Adelaide


Proposed northward view from Compton Street to California Street South laneway. Photo: City of Adelaide


Hou said he’s also heard business owners’ concerns about the economic impact of major works in the area on their operations. 

“Firstly it’s not enough funds, $15 million on one hand is not going to help you replace all the pavers on the street,” Hou said. 

“Second, looking at today’s economics, they are afraid that if we have got any major works along Gouger Street that might impact their business, they will not survive until the project finishes.” 

Gouger Street currently has the lowest vacancy rate of all the city’s main streets at only 3 per cent. However, the Adelaide Economic Development Authority’s figures show visitation hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

The council report says while free on-street parking in front of businesses is appealing, there is “a growing awareness vehicle traffic and parked cars reduce the appeal of profitable outdoor dining areas through noise, fumes and visual impact, particularly in high turnover parking areas”. 

To reduce noise and increase safety, the plans outline an opportunity for the 50 km/h speed limit to be reduced to 30km/h. The reduced speed limit will need to be approved by both the council and the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. 

The right-hand turn for vehicles into Gouger Street from Mill Street will also be removed under the plans for pedestrian safety. 

Currently, Mill Street is a two-way street with unrestricted entry and exit to Gouger Street. The report recommends maintaining the two-way traffic but eliminating the right-hand turn.

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Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith said she is concerned about the randomness of the street furniture pictured and the aesthetics of the street. 

“These images actually worry me because we’ve got cement troughs, we’ve got cement circles, we’ve got round corrugated iron things,” she said. 

“We killed the tree roots because the trees are in corrugated iron tubs which is a no-no…then three or four different kinds of lighting, there are hockey sticks, dingle dangle lights across the middle, and there are the flying saucers on these images.

“There doesn’t seem to be anything in the text that says we’re going to have a design solution that is specific to Gouger Street that is uniform and it seems to me that there’s a lot of kind of random activities… it’s just so busy.” 

A rendering of the proposed westward view of Gouger Street during evening events, which shows potted trees in iron tubs. Photo: City of Adelaide

The plans include a protected north-south cycle lane between Moonta and Compton Streets and cargo bike storage space near the markets. 

Lomax-Smith said she found the view of cycling within the plans “dismissive”. 

“I actually dislike cycling, I can’t cycle, I have no interest in cycling myself but I go to the market often enough to see people do come on their bikes,” she said. 

“The idea that people don’t go to the market on a bike seems to me to be very dismissive and we need to actually give them some capacity to come and park.” 

Councillor Phillip Martin said transport should go beyond thinking about cars and bikes. 

“We have to think very broadly about accessibility beyond bikes, it has to go to scooters, astral travel or whatever it is that’s going to be the mode of travel in the next 20 years, not exclusively cars,” he said. 

“The fewer cars will add to the ambience and the success of the precinct.” 

The Gouger Street upgrade is only 30 per cent of the way there, with further consultation and council approval needed before works can begin in 2025/26. 

The plans are part of the City’s Mainstreet Revitalisation Program, with Gouger Street prioritised to come after the Hindley Street upgrade

Martin said reducing carbon footprint should remain a priority throughout the main street upgrades. 

“There is a strong view that it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint with these main street redesigns by recycling as much content as we can, so that means even if the top of the lamppost changes, the lamppost remains,” he said. 

This stage of the plans will need to be approved at the council meeting next week, with community and stakeholder engagement and procurement of the detailed design consultants taking place from July to August this year. 

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