Good News for Cycling in the Port!
The Dep’t for Planning, Transport & Infrastructure (DPTI) has told the PortBUG that work will start over the coming week on the long-planned extension of bicycle lanes over the western sections of St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide! These new lanes are funded by the SA Government’s 2014-15 Black Spot Programme in conduction with the PA/E Council and RenewalSA.
New bike lanes will connect those existing lanes immediately to the East of the St Vincent/Nelson Street intersection (where traffic turns to cross the Birkenhead Bridge), with the bike lanes and off-road path facilities installed in 2014 over the Jervois Bridge at the end of Hart Street.
DPTI tell us that the new bike lanes “will improve connectivity to the existing bicycle lane infrastructure in Port Adelaide, to the city and to nearby shops…” & the “process has resulted in no loss of car parking… street lighting will also be upgraded as part of this project.”
Traffic approaching from the Jervois Bridge end of the street will be able to turn right into Ship Street (via a right turn lane), providing access to the Port Mall shopping precinct. Right turns from St Vincent Street into Hare Street will no longer be allowed, although west-bound traffic will still be able to access Hare Street and precinct via Nelson and Nile Streets. Left-in and left-out turn movements will still be permitted at the Hare Street T-junction.
Further to the west, the new bike lanes will continue across road entrance junctions at Mundy St, The Minories and Rann Place, as well as the harbour-front pathway and pedestrian crossing. Painted road surfacing will delineate the lanes at several of these T-junctions. DPTI state that work will commence on Tuesday 9th June and is expected to be completed by the end of August. weather permitting.
While applauding this initiative, the PortBUG has expressed concerns that the new bike lane project will not address hazards faced by bicycle users attempting right-hand turns from St Vincent Street into Nelson Street to access the harbour-front path or to cross the Birkenhead Bridge. To accomplish this manoeuvre commuting cyclists currently end up riding across 1 or 2 lanes of accelerating traffic on St Vincent Street or waiting at the lights to turn with on-going ‘straight ahead’ traffic behind them.
Neither are satisfactory situations, especially given the orientation of this intersection towards the west and the setting sun, a particular problem during the afternoon commuting period and at dusk in winter! The BUG is concerned that if this situation is not effectively dealt with now, we may never see a safe and convenient link for commuting cyclists across the Birkenhead Bridge to the LeFevre Peninsula. While we recognise that the intersection is complex and often carries large volumes of traffic, we are confident that solutions are available.
The BUG has written to DPTI requesting that a solution be found to this major safety issue. We have made some initial suggestions (see below) but intend ‘workshopping’ these further before providing a more formal submission.
Our initial suggestions include:
- providing a green-painted right turning bike lane, proceeding from the mid-road lane into Nelson Street, possibly with a green-painted ‘bike box’ at its head
- installation of a hook-turn bicycle refuge on St Vincent Street just past the eastern entry roadway into Church Street to allow bikes to wait until the traffic is clear to proceed right into Nelson Street
- provision of a similar hook-turn facility immediately to the west of the Church Street exit to St Vincent Street.
To work properly any solution will need coordination with lights and surrounding traffic and may require substantial redesign of the intersection. This may well present an opportunity to provide bicycle users approaching the intersection from the north (from the Birkenhead Bridge roadway or off-road path) with safer options for crossing the Nelson/St Vincent Street intersection to access Port CBD shops and services. The PortBUG welcomes input and ideas from those keen to see provision for safer cycling at this key point in the Port’s bike network! Please contact our secretary if you have suggestions you’d like us to convey to DPTI and the Minister.