PortBUG received a call this afternoon from a representative of Cedar Woods, the developers of Fletchers Slip & responsible for the apparent closure of Jenkins St. The representative was responding to recent PortBUG enquiries (also sent to Council) expressing a number of concerns about this closure & asking what alternative route was to be provided.
The representative pointed out that Jenkins Street remains a privately owned roadway & confirmed that it is NOW CLOSED to all Greenway users (pedestrians, bicycle users, skaters & – we assume – users of disability mobility devices as well). Of course – barring installation of locked gates – it may be more accurate to describe the street as ‘notionally closed’ as it remains difficult to see how closure might be enforced given the roadway has to remain open for building vehicle movements & there are still other premises located along the roadway!
The rep indicated that those wanting to proceed along the Greenway route are now expected to utilise the currently difficult-to-access, narrow & congested pathway along Nelson Street which links to the Semaphore Road Bikeway at the junction of Semaphore Road & Nelson Street (see below)!
At present it’s hard to see how this can really be described as a viable ‘alternative Greenway route’ – those using this Nelson St pathway (see below) must negotiate narrow & awkwardly located ramps & corners, a narrow & congested footpath & poorly located poles & signs just to get to the existing Semaphore Road Bikeway.
From an ‘active travel’ point of view it’s hard to understand how the inevitable disruption of the Greenway (& impacts on the local community) was not foreseen & the need for more effective community liaison overlooked! The Cedar Woods rep pointed out that because Jenkins St was and remains a private road, they felt a limited responsibility for such liaison (& we’d suggest for continued safe access by Greenway users). She did confirm what we were told last week – that eventually the narrow & substandard footpath along Nelson Street will be rebuilt as a 2.5 metre wide shared-use pathway – but she was not able to offer any insight as to when this might occur. Its construction apparently hinges on approval from DIT & Council so we presume it will not happen anytime soon!
She also pointed out that eventually Jenkins St itself will be rebuilt as a bikeway (or perhaps a shared, bike-friendly roadway – the design goals remain unknown) & will then be returned to Council as part of the Outer Harbour Greenway. However it seems likely this rebuilding will still be a year or so away, & she indicated that heavy vehicles will be a frequent presence on Jenkins Street from the end of March this year!
Obviously the rebuilding of the Nelson Street footpath as a ‘bypass’ should now be a major & we’d suggest urgent priority for Council, DIT & the developers given that the quite heavy daily use the Greenway sees (including by numerous school students & those using mobility devices).
PortBUG is quite disappointed with this outcome in terms of both pre-emptive planning outcomes & community liaison. We have been arguing for improvement of this section of the Nelson St footpath for some years & the development of Fletcher’s Slip has been several years in the making! However we believe improvement of the Nelson Street pathway is now a goal in the draft Walking & Cycling Plan & we will continue to pursue a satisfactory outcome!
In the meantime we would welcome feedback from pathway users, particularly regarding hazardous situations users may encounter! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.