The City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters has sought a Supreme Court injunction to stop the State Government from introducing traffic changes through Adelaide’s premier main street, The Parade in Norwood, without consultation with the Council.
The changes would see large swathes of The Parade’s median strip at the key intersection of The Parade and George Street replaced with ‘right hand turn’ traffic lanes at a projected cost of $330,000 – which the Council understands will be funded by the State Government and delivered by two private Parade property owners .
City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters CEO, Mario Barone, said the decision by the State Government had come out of the blue and ignored more than four years of discussions, negotiations, consultation and agreements between the Council and the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) regarding improvements to pedestrian safety at the intersection.
“The proposal, which the Council understands has been agreed to by the State Government, will turn Adelaide’s premier main street into a main arterial road. This is completely at odds with the amenity of The Parade precinct and what the community wants for The Parade and DIT’s own categorisation of The Parade as a public transport route,” Mr Barone said.
“After four years in the making and three rounds of consultation with the community, local traders and the Department, the Council is best placed to have a clear understanding of what the community and the majority of traders want and expect from The Parade now and into the future.
“The Council is unclear why the State Government has completely changed its position on the installation of a scramble crossing simply based on the wishes of two traders out of more than 300 traders located on The Parade and at the same time, as the Council understands it, permit those traders to deliver the project on a public road.
“We have letters dated as recently as June 2020 from the Minister for Transport and his Department supporting a proposal to install a scramble crossing to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flows. This support was subject to a requirement from the Minister for a 12-month trial of no right-hand turns during peak periods at the intersection. The installation of the scramble crossing was released for tender and the appointment of a contractor was imminent just prior to a large property owner seeking a judicial review of the decision to install the scramble crossing. Then in September, we were suddenly informed by the Department of Infrastructure & Transport that it would instead proceed with the construction of right-hand-turn lanes, a proposal which had not previously been discussed and which does not accord with the Masterplan for The Parade.
“We wrote to the State Government in October seeking information regarding the reversal of what has been endorsed, but more than a month on we have heard nothing and the Council has not been provided with any details of any agreement which has been entered into between the State Government and two property owners and importantly, the Council has not been provided with a copy of the plans showing what will be constructed. In fact, the Council has absolutely no details of what is proposed, yet work is proceeding.
“Unfortunately, we have no choice but to begin legal proceedings in order to obtain information on what is proposed.”
The Council has proposed a ‘scramble crossing’ and has agreed to the State Government’s requirement for a 12-month trial to restrict right hand turns during peak hours. The cost of installing the scramble crossing is approximately $80,000. Scramble crossings allow pedestrians to cross in all directions, including diagonally, at the same time, and improving vehicular flows. Similar crossings have been installed in other high volume pedestrian areas such as, the intersection of Pirie Street and King William Street, and Pulteney Street and Rundle Street.
Mr Barone said that following the Council’s decision in December 2019 to agree to the Department’s consideration of banning right hand turns during morning and afternoon peak times, the Council was encouraged to complete the detailed designs for the scramble crossing and proceed to tender and construction.
The Council said the new traffic lanes proposed by the State Government would impinge on the pedestrian-friendly scramble crossing proposed for the heart of Norwood by the Council and previously endorsed by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT).
Mr Barone said road traffic surveys undertaken by the Council and the Department showed the number of vehicles that made a right hand turn from The Parade into George Street during peak periods was minimal and the installation of right hand turns as now proposed would have minimal to no impact on vehicles wishing to turn right.
“The installation of dedicated right-turn lanes as a permanent installation, without a trial period on the basis of such low demand, is completely unjustified,” he said.