Well it's finally happened, Unley Council have taken ownership of the MTB and are planning on making it 4m wide at its busiest point.



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I'm not sure I like the idea of removing significant trees to widen the path. Yes the surface needs upgrading and there are some overhanging or outhanging branches that need to go; but I don't think it needs to be 4 metres wide necessarily.

Very few of the trees are  "significant", or even "regulated" (both legal technical terms).  They have only grown or been planted since the removal of the tram tracks in 1958.  (The present tram line is the gauge-converted (in 1929) Glenelg railway.*  The tram tracks leading into Goodwood Road were laid in parallel with this, giving a total of 4 tracks.)

I strongly suspect that the initial construction of the path had something of mere tokenism in it, as there was never any particular real reason not to have done the job properly in the first place.

[*There were two Railway lines to Glenelg that were both transferred to the MTT for conversion to tramways.  The other, from the Adelaide Railway Station terminating in Anzac Hwy, was removed rather than being converted, possibly due to the Depression.]

That should ease cyclist to pedestrian interactions.

From the Unley Council website:
"The Mike Turtur Bikeway is Adelaide's busiest cycling route and is used by over 1000 people daily. The popularity of this Bikeway section has accelerated the wear and tear of the surface and as a result, has made for a bumpy ride."

haven ridden the MTB everyday for years I can definitely tell you it wasn't cyclists wearing the path down. it was

  • badly planted and self sowing tree roots
  • home owners dumping their storm water on the path
  • the government dept fighting over who is responsible for the path
  • and years and years of no maintenance didn't help

I was hinting that maybe justified to remove existing trees in some spots, and compensate with new foliage in other spots.
"The Mike Turtur Bikeway is Adelaide's busiest cycling route and is used by over 1000 people daily."
I do not know MTB as well as those who ride there regularly.

I don't think you can deny that 25(?) years of cyclists riding over those pavers is going to have a significant effect. (I can remember the path being there in the late to mid 90s, so I'd say it is at least 25 years old).

The problem is not the cyclists though; the problem is a poor choice of surface and lack of maintenance.

I think a big chunk of the wear and tear I observe on linear path is primarily self inflicted - the long ruts & grooves in the path in places match the wheelbase of a standard council truck almost perfectly, and the deep cracks at the pathway edges are probably caused by drivers constantly veering off the path when they stop near bins & playgrounds etc.

If councils invested in a few of those Japanese mini 'kei' trucks for park & pathway maintenance they would save themselves a lot of money long term I think.

Theres a spot in North Adelaide that the council repair every 6 months, but if they just stop their own trucks from short cutting across the park they wouldnt need to repair it.

Just to be clear - the path is on DPTI land and it is DPTI that are making the changes to the bike path. The path will then be handed over to Unley Council for maintenance.

The first iteration of the Unley BUG (established decades ago) worked hard to get the bike path created in the first place - and it was a fantastic effort. The current Unley BUG and Unley Council have worked hard on getting the surface of the path improved.

If you plan on putting in a submission to Unley Council's Your Say - I strongly advise that you walk the route and look at the trees already marked for removal. Take the concept plan with you as it indicates the significant and regulated trees that will definitely be removed, the vegetation to be retained and the trees (significant and regulated) under consideration for removal. DPTI has already lodged the Development Application for tree removal with SCAP. Consider what a 4 metre wide black bitumen path is going to look and feel like for cyclists and pedestrians especially once shrubs and tree canopy are removed. It's worth remembering trees don't grow back quickly - it's 15 years since trees were replanted on the edge of North Terrace and they still don't provide much shade in summer.

There is no doubt the Mike Turtur Bike Way is, and will continue to be, an important route for pedestrians and cyclists heading into the city or accessing local destinations. There is no doubt the surface of the path needs to be significantly improved to make it safe but trees and vegetation are also important for bike riders and pedestrians. Adelaide is already the worst capital city for tree canopy cover in Australia (see the 2014 benchmarking report) so every tree is important – what we are seeing is death of our tree canopy cover literally by 1000 cuts.

As cyclist numbers increase we need more options to take the pressure off the MTB - upgrading Albert street (to connect with the Weller street and Simpson Pde bikeways) could be an option for fast commuter cyclists and those travelling east-west.


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