Sunday, 21 April 2013

Clipsal Bowden Development

Back in 2008, our State Government bought a very large parcel of inner city land where the Clipsal factory used to be. It is on the corner of Park Terrace and Port Road in Bowden. The plan is for the site to be developed into Transport Oriented Development known as Bowden Village.

Rather than the usual style of development, which consists of carving up a piece of arable land and plonking showhomes on it, this is being carefully designed from the outset. Developers are required to follow specific design guidelines. Already, properties are for sale:

They include townhouses:

and 3-level terraces as well as others:

Already, you can see how the streets will look. They are built in such a way that slow driving is encouraged:

One of the artist's impressions shows a large bridge:

Whether it is pedestrian only rather than an awesome bike and pedestrian bridge is unclear. It is also not clear where it goes. Time will tell.

The whole thing is organised by a new agency called Renewal SA which is run by that clever fellow Fred Hansen from Portland Oregon. He was responsible for putting their public transport system (Tri-Met) on the map.

As I understand it, the development is one of the reasons the tramline was extended to the Entertainment Centre, although I think whoever planned that may have forgotten that there was already a railway station there - closer to the site than the tramstop is.

One of the reasons for developing the site close to transport is to give residents the choice of using modes of transport other than cars and potentially not to have to own a car at all if they wish. The tram's ok but it's pretty slow from the Entertainment Centre to the CBD. It's also a bit of a walk from the other side of the redevelopment. The train is faster but not all trains stop at Bowden station so you can have a bit of a wait. It also used to be a bit dingy but that has improved significantly since the Loose Caboose café opened there.

Given the development's proximity to the CBD, you have to wonder why cheaper forms of transport are not being considered (or at least don't appear to be). Just across the other side of Park Terrace begins a safe cycle route all the way into the city. Much of the way it is pretty wide and in places has already been upgraded:

And who would not want a view like this on their morning commute:

This fairly rudimentary map shows the development relative to the city along with the current bike and walking route in purple:

As I say, a lot of the work is done. The trick is tidying up the loose ends. That is, making it part of a wider network. Join it up to the development using either the bridge or a decent signalised crossing. And at the other end, make it join seemlessly to the major roads through the city - where decent protected paths will of course be in place by then (!). Half the work is done. You also of course need to ensure that developers accommodate all of this as well. It's one thing to be able to get home or to your destination but you also need somewhere safe and easy to put your bike once you get there.

There really is potential for this sort of thing all over the place.

The point is, you don't need to spend $100m on a tramway to provide a decent, economical (and very cheap) alternative to driving.

I should add that I stole the pictures of the townhouses and terraces from the pdf's I linked to. They're on the lifemoreinteresting website.

Also, if there are ever any plans to develop pedestrian and cycling links from Bowden to the city, they really need to work on the signalised crossing over Park Terrace that is next to the railway crossing there. I had to wait 4 mins and 50 secs after pressing the button!


  1. I found "A spectacular walking/cycle bridge will join Bowden to an upgraded west parklands and provide new connections to the city." on the connectivity page. It continues with "In fact this arch will form the starting point of the last section of a greenway corridor that will begin in Outer Harbour." Sounds great but I'll believe it when I see it.

    1. I really should read more before I start spouting this nonsense. That does indeed sound good. As you say though, the proof is in the pudding. One persons "spectacular walking cycling/bridge" is another person's way too narrow shared use bridge that does not really go anywhere.

  2. If you read the Government's 2008 Budget announcement, which in lieu of any rescinding announcements would still seem to be current policy, you'll see that the tramway to the EntCent is a stage in getting tram-trains to West Lakes, Port Adelaide and Semaphore via the existing Outer Harbor Line.

    You're right about need to have secure bike parking at home. Also needed at destinations, along with a triple-safe cycling network in between. And of course repeal of MHL but sadly and inexplicably this Government is adamant it won't ever do that.

    1. Thanks for this. I remember the tram/train announcement. It seems to have gone very quiet though. The only city that springs to mind when I think of 'tram/train' is Karlsruhe in Germany. It apparently has a very good system. It works as a tramway inside the city and then the trams share the mainline railways once they're out and can travel at decent speeds. Rather than have the trams and trains share the Outer Harbor line, I would have thought they might as well convert them if the trams are going there anyway - of course with the West Lakes and Semaphore extensions. We'll see how they go.

      Totally agree with you. I do not understand why they do not even discuss the MHL issue. I understand Rachel Sanderson did at her recent bike forum. I couldn't make it so don't know what came out of it. Probably not a great deal.

  3. Planners are fixated on orienting development around transit, so don't see opportunities for encouraging healthier options, like cycling, or perhaps cycling.