Roads blocked under ‘courageous’ Light Square design plan

Vehicle access to Waymouth St from Morphett St would be blocked and other traffic restrictions imposed under an “ambitious” blueprint to redesign Light Square being considered by Adelaide City Council.

Jul 04, 2024, updated Jul 04, 2024
Vehicle access along the west of Light Square would be changed under a redesign plan.

Vehicle access along the west of Light Square would be changed under a redesign plan.

The council’s master plan for Light Square/Wauwi would  prioritise pedestrians with safer, well-lit open spaces while increasing tree canopy by at least 25 per cent.

Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith said the master plan, which was presented to the council’s City Planning, Development and Business Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday, was “courageous” and a “genuine return to park lands”.

“There are two kinds of projects in the city; there are baseline renewals of slightly derelict streets where you tolerate the fact that it’s going to look the same afterwards better, or you can do something that’s perhaps more audacious and slightly dangerous, and we’ll have disputes around it,” she said.

“A lot of our main street upgrades are cautious, business as usual, it’s a bit of spruce up but nothing dramatic, nothing exciting.

“So the cheapest thing we can do is nothing, the cheapest thing you can do is business as usual. This is a bit ambitious.”

Two options for the Light Square revamp were presented, but both would remove:

  • the left-hand turn from Morphett Street into Waymouth Street
  • the slip lane from Morphett Street heading north and into the TAFE carpark
  • the exit from Philip Street to Morphett Street

Currently, this is the Western layout of Light Square. Photo: City of Adelaide

Option one would relocate car movement from Morphett Street to the square’s eastern side only. It would replace road crossings with direct access to open space, replace 4096 square metres of road pavement with green space, increase tree canopy by 30 per cent and increase lawn space by 35 per cent.

Option 1 of the Light Square Master Plan. Photo: City of Adelaide

Option two would retain vehicle movement along Morphett Street on either side of the square, but increase the central green area by removing slip lanes, pushing traffic lanes outwards and shrinking the width of current parking and pedestrian verges.

Option 2 of the Light Square Master Plan. Photo: City of Adelaide

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Deputy Lord Mayor Keiran Snape said he was in favour of option one, as was Kadaltilla/Adelaide Park Lands Authority, which was also consulted on the plan. Snape is a board member of the park lands authority, which Lomax-Smith chairs.

“The word courageous was thrown around a lot,” Snape said of the Kadaltilla meeting.

The committee voted on Tuesday night to alter the timeline to look at a staged approach rather than going out to public consultation in July/August as planned.

Councillor Mark Siebentritt said while the realignment of roads and greening were great parts of the plan, it was important to manage expectations.

“How do we run a consultation process in a way that doesn’t set the expectation that we’re just going to go out and do it the next couple of years, which looking at the various other types of capital projects we’ve got on it might be difficult,” he said.

The council has allocated $250,000 for detailed design of the priority elements of the Light Square upgrade for 2024/25 which is part of their $110 million capital works budget. Their latest capital works include the $15 million Hindley Street upgrade, and Gouger Street revitalisation.

The council agenda noted the Light Square master plan was an opportunity to receive state government funding from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Councillor Henry Davis said the plans should not be released for community consultation until there was more information about the cost, and referenced the 80s television series Yes Minister.

“The quote [about being] courageous comes from Sir Humphrey that says, ‘when he calls it brave means you’ll lose votes and when he calls it courageous you will lose the election’. If that’s what Kadaltilla were referring to when they were talking about courageous, no doubt,” he said.

“I just think it’s absolutely bonkers that this council would consider master planning and going down a pathway and spending more money, but we have no idea what the cost is.”

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