Protected cycleways are becoming more the norm around Chch these days, even if the occasional one still stirs up a bit of debate. But we’re certainly not the only Australasian place to encounter these “controversies”. Back in June 2014 (when this was first posted), one relatively little protected cycleway over in Adelaide was attracting some attention positive and negative. Even since then, this bikeway has lived a perilous life at times but survived to remain an example of what can be done even in relatively non-cycle-friendly territory…
Last week’s visit to Adelaide for Velo-City Global 2014 was also a great opportunity to see what our Trans-Tasman neighbour is up to on the cycleway front. And the jewel in the crown to date is the newly-opened Frome Street Bikeway.
The Frome Street Bikeway connects Adelaide’s central city via Frome St to the cycleways in the south (long-term it is also planned to connect the city to the north as well). The “headline” act seems to be the separated bikeway along lower Frome St and Regent St Nth. This street section used to be a four-lane traffic route; now it’s had a “road diet” to reduce it to two traffic lanes, maintain car parking, and introduce generous cycleways separated by concrete islands (wide enough for car doors opening).
A potentially tricky part of separated bikeways is how they deal with intersections. In the case of this bikeway, side-roads are strongly highlighted with green surfacing and “watch for bikes” signs. The major signalised intersections don’t appear to have any separate signal phasing for the bikes at present but I guess, if significant problems with turning traffic conflicts arose, they could be retro-fitted at a later date.
Head further south from here however and you encounter a cycling route comprising the other key tools of Christchurch’s planned Major Cycleway Routes: quiet streets and off-road pathways.
Part of this route includes the use of one-way local streets that allow cyclists to ride “contra-flow” in the opposite direction. This is a great way to provide an advantage for riders over drivers.
Such contra-flow treatments do need care, however, and typically the end of the streets have a special entry/exit point to make the arrangements clear to everyone.
One of the nice features along the route is the use of flush destination signage built into the kerb islands at the intersections. As well as destinations, they also indicate estimated distances and travel times to get there.
The Frome Street Bikeway has attracted a strong response, positive and negative, amongst the locals. It’s even become a political football, with one City Councillor (and pending mayoral candidate) threatening to rip it up if he gets into power. But the City Council is standing strong against all the reaction, and even claiming a growth in cycling numbers already along the route.
What do you think of the Frome Street Bikeway?