Adelaide: Laneways

One really interesting feature of my recent visit to Adelaide was the urban laneways; they are a great example of how providing better for cycling doesn’t always mean building some cycleways.

A shared street in downtown Adelaide - no thoroughfare for motorists but those walking and biking can get through.

A shared street in downtown Adelaide – no thoroughfare for motorists but those walking and biking can get through.

Rather like Christchurch, Adelaide has many small narrow streets interconnecting the larger grid network of major streets in the CBD. They’re not very wide (or have been made narrower by on-street cafe seating), so typically they are only one-way for motorists. However, generally they have been set up to allow for cycling in the opposite direction.

A little bit of green at the start of this street is a hint that bikes might be coming the other way. Note also the 20km/h speed limit.

A little bit of green at the start of this street is a hint that bikes might be coming the other way. Note also the 20km/h speed limit.

Some of these streets have a line marked to denote space for “contra-flow” cycling. However, rather like parts of the Frome St Bikeway we saw last week, some streets don’t even have that:

A one-way street, but bicycles are excepted from this rule (see signs)

A one-way street, but bicycles are excepted from this rule (see signs) – BTW, no, that’s not a bike lane on the left

The only hint to this state of affairs might be some signage at the start of the street:

Motorists are told to look out for oncoming bikes

Motorists are told to look out for oncoming bikes

While this approach might seem a little bit hazardous, the key to its success is probably the low speed environments involved (and generally low traffic volumes too). If we consider some of the reconstructed laneways in the Christchurch rebuild, I could envisage this working equally well there.

You go your way, I'll go mine...

You go your way, I’ll go mine…

What do you think of Adelaide’s laneway treatments?

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