Call for new cycling plan after bikeway debacle

An Adelaide City councillor who helped vote down the east-west bikeway has called on Town Hall to spend up to $20,000 on a plan for new CBD bike routes.

May 10, 2021, updated May 10, 2021
Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Area councillor Franz Knoll has lodged a motion for tomorrow night’s council meeting, calling on staff to produce a “Cycling Infrastructure Strategic Action Plan” that would outline how the council can improve bike access into and out of the city.

Knoll wants the plan to identify a cycling network that would connect the city and park lands to existing bikeways in city fringe suburbs.

He also wants it to include a prioritised list of proposed cycling projects and upgrades to “enable better planning for future council investment and external funding bids”.

According to council staff, it would cost up to $10,000 to consult the public about the plan and a further $10,000 to develop high-level cost estimates for the prioritised list of projects.

Knoll was one of eight councillors to vote down the proposed $5.8 million city east-west bikeway in March following backlash from some business owners and community groups.

The decision meant the council was forced to forgo a $3 million State Government grant.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor has appealed to the State Government to spend the grant money on other cycling infrastructure projects in the city, but the Government is yet to reach a decision.

Knoll told InDaily the council had done minimal research on a whole-of-city approach to cycling infrastructure and discussions about where it should invest in new bikeways “keep on going around in circles”.

He said if the State Government decided to reinvest its $3 million grant on cycling infrastructure, having a plan in place would help the council to determine where the money could best be spent.

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“Until now, there hasn’t been a proper, collaborative conversation about cycling in the city,” he said.

“Other than the north-south (bikeway) through Frome (Street), there has been no real conversation about cycling with anybody.

“I thought… I wanted to put an action plan together because there isn’t a network planned.

“For me, it’s about enabling people to get to the city easier and giving them all the things to make them more comfortable.”

Franz Knoll. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Knoll said he had begun regularly cycling into the city about one month ago and the experience had made him understand the “major difficulties” that cyclists face when trying to access the city from suburban bikeways.

He said the plan should focus on diverting cyclists to “secondary streets” that are more spacious for cyclists and less congested with cars.

“We have so many little laneways that you can get down quicker than the main streets simply because the lights aren’t there and they’re quicker to navigate,” he said.

“We already have a lot of good cycling streets, so if we can bring all those together and make it quick and easy for people to get to that infrastructure, then we’re going to make that safer.”

Knoll added that separated bikeways could also feature in the plan.

Council staff estimate it would take until November for a draft plan to be developed, if councillors support Knoll’s motion.

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