We haven't heard much about the much heralded extension of the Adelaide O-bahn, from its current entry north-east of the city all the way through the city to Light Square, since late 2009. Surprising really, since the extension would greatly speed up the trip from the termination point to the U1 stop on Grenfell Street, which can double the current time taken for the trip from Golden Grove. Be a bit of a vote winner you would think.
Alas, no, because it has already been dumped by the state government, but as there are some very marginal seats north-east of Adelaide no one is admitting it. Turns out the Adelaide City Council weren't too hot on it, so they built pedestrian safety traffic islands up Grenfell Street on the intended route (part of their ongoing development feud with SA government?).
Neither where the influential "save the parklands" groups who were plenty unhappy that the route was going to cut through green areas of the eastern parklands.
The word is that the STP groups have already been told that the state government have dropped the idea
If it is true, it is very stupid. Anyone who has seen Grenfell Street, particularly during the rush hour would agree that it is ridiculous. It is like it is because it is blocked by cars. Next time you are there during the rush hour, have a look at the number of people waiting at bus stops, squashed against Harris Scarfe with other pedestrians trying to get past in the small space available. Then look at the number of cars, each generally with one occupant, blocking up the street. Compare the numbers and see just how much space is set aside for the people in the cars. And it is they who are blocking the buses.
Some of the $160m that the Commonwealth promised to extend the busway into the city was planned to be spent on bus lanes on Grenfell Street. They are the very least that are required. And they should be two lanes wide. Having two bus lanes instead of one on each side of the road can triple capacity.
Better still though would be to close the entire street off to private cars and make Grenfell Street a proper transit mall as some North American cities have done. Once people see buses moving freely and faster than private cars, there is an incentive to catch them. At the moment, it is no surprise that the buses stuck in the traffic caused by all the traffic on Grenfell Street have excess capacity.
The besty option would be dedicated bus lanes in the middle of the street that could ultimately be converted to tram lines. It has been done in Paris with great success: