The current Thinker in Residence is Fred Hansen, who used to be the General Manager of Tri-Met, the public transport operator in Portland, Oregon. One of his ideas is to turn Grenfell Street into a pedestrian and bus only zone. Brilliant. There was an announcement recently with pictures about the extension of the O'Bahn into the city and along Grenfell Street. It looked fairly crappy. It had some bus lanes but they were incomplete and still required the buses to try and pull and into traffic and inevitably be blocked.
The new and better plan is on AdelaideNow and on page 7 of today's paper:
Currently, particularly during rush hour, it is clogged with cars and properly fits the description of a "moving carpark" that bus drivers give it. Mr Hansen has clearly walked down Grenfell Street and taken notice. Pedestrians and bus users are squashed on to pavements far too narrow. The solution: "You pull out a traffic lane so people are not so cramped in. At 5pm now, you can barely navigate your way down the footpath."
At 10 o'clock this morning, 51 people had voted but of them, an overwhelming 40 say the project should go ahead. If you ask me, the people have spoken.
Looking at the comments, you see many of the usual objections based on unproven assumptions. For example:
Closing this road would be stupid and think of all the traffic that would take Grote st instead.
That statement assumes a fixed and invariable number of cars. We all know that is not the case. The number of cars on streets is, in large part, a reflection of the road space available. There is no ideal amount of space. The road space in the city at the moment is largely arbitrary. Take away that space from cars and it will adjust.
The people that use Grenfell Street for driving through being diverted into other smaller Streets would start another decline of the amount of people using the City yet again and this would reflect upon the business in that area. Then people with disabilities would have to also have to have a say not just be forced out and then make it even harder for them to go shopping.
This is an interesting comment. People with disabilities are hardly catered for at the moment along Grenfell Street's pavements. This would be a huge improvement. The statement also assumes that people driving cars along Grenfell Street are the source of business for shops in the area. You just need to stand on the street to see that that is not true. Granted some drive in and out of the Harris Scarfe car park but the bulk of them just sail through treating the CBD as a thoroughfare. By far the most business comes from those people squashed on the pavement and coming from Rundle Mall on the other side.
And this one from "Old Codger of Adelaide":
Outdoor cafes do not make a street pedestrian friendly, quite the opposite. There are a few outdoor cafes already and it is a nightmare trying to get past the chairs and tables and dodging the rushing waiters.
I don't think he sees the irony.