Just for those interested in developing Adelaide's bicycle network, here's the gist of my 'State Budget' post today to the Port Adelaide Bicycle Forum (PortBUGs facebook group) - in italics below...
'The PortBUG read with alarm a sentence on page 124 of the State Government Budget Papers which seemed to indicate a reduction in the State Bicycle Fund - the very modest pool of funds that DPTI draws on each year to support Councils in building new bicycle facilities and maintaining existing ones.
Mention was made of funding reductions through:
‘rationalisation of lower priority services, including a reduction in... grants provided to local councils for cycling paths’.
We understand that over the past few years the SBF has hovered around $2M, to be shared amongst all of South Australia's councils. Not much really, especially when we consider the amount of work and investment required to transform Adelaide into a 'Bike Friendly City'!
We now have it on good authority that the SBF may have been reduced as low as $300,000 for the coming year. If true this seems to be tokenism at its worst! Over 2016-17 the Port Adelaide Council alone relied on a grant of $164,000 to continue the implementation of its Bike Plan!
The PortBUG has today written to Transport Minister Stefan Knoll seeking clarification of this budget outcome and of funds available to Councils over the next few years.'
So think about it - if the rumour mill is true and Councils will now only have $300K to share around each year, where is that going to leave those Councils who need to build new bikeways? A couple of hundred metres of off-road pathway will easily eat up $100K.
As an example, the Port Adelaide/Enfield Council wants to rebuild the footpaths and kerbside verges along Sudholz Rd at Oakden/Windsor Gardens to create a shared-use pathway between Grand Junction Road and the Torrens River and the O-Bahn busway. This path would provide secure bicycle access for residents to the north of the Torrens (and indeed to the north of Grand Junction Road) to both the Linear Park and the Oakden busway interchange. And of course each new bicycle commuter is 'one less car' (or in this case, one less car park needed at Oakden!)
But a project like this could entirely use up this 'new' SBF, even with the State only going halves! My understanding has been that the SBF has hovered around a couple of million dollars for a few years now. That of course was always stupidly inadequate, but to now reduce it by 80-90% just seems monumentally crazy and short-sighted!
Many Councils struggling with the whole idea of bicycle (and Active Transport) planning and investment will just give up and stick to roads and rubbish! Those that have really made an effort (like the City of Adelaide, PA/E and Charles Sturt) are likely to see implementation of the bike plans falter and stall with major and long-lasting impacts as staff move elsewhere or lose focus and skills. For the tiny amount of money involved these cuts just seem pointless and retrograde. A real step backwards!!!
And all of the $300K will go on vague glossy inspirational brochures on what they promise to after the next election or the one after that...
I doubt there will be brochures! The SBF is used very specifically to fund (usually on 50:50 basis) projects undertaken by local government. DPTI manage the SBF and Council's access it via an annual application process - they put projects forward to DPTI and they're judged and allocated funds on their merits or strategic value. You can read up on recently funded projects here. One thing I was really surprised to read of in the budget papers was an undertaking to fund a feasibility study for the State Governments so-called 'election promise' of a bikeway from Adelaide to Melbourne to the tune of $100,000! I've never been able to figure out where this idea came from or why someone thought it might be a priority...
A $100K feasibility study might require a lot of research into local wineries and first class rural accommodation, eh wot? Meanwhile the otherwise excellent Amy Gillett shared trail remains stalled at Mt Torrens due to a failure of vision by successive ministers.
Our recently elected government is slashing funding to many things, no big surprise they slash any cycling initiatives as well.
The best method of course is to complain and complain loudly - time to start writing letters and encouraging others to do so.
The last response I received from Vincent Tarzia was "I'm a cyclist too". But I'm 99.9% sure this is just a standard response they learn in Liberal party induction and orientation.
Kristian, my recollection from Vincent's days on NPSP council is that Vincent is a cyclist.
AC member Sophia MacRae retired from NPSP council when she moved interstate for work, or I would check with her.