Pedestrian safety in the Adelaide CBD – why are there no 25km/h school zones?

The area of the Adelaide CBD and road network within 200 metres of a school

Across South Australia zones around schools have a 25km/h limit within 200m of a school, marked with zig zag lines. Except in the CBD. Although there are more than 150 educational institutions here, you won’t see any zig zag lines or school zone signs.

The nine major schools in the CBD have been mapped, showing where the 200m zones would be. 20% of the City’s streets would be within school zones if they were anywhere else in the State.

It seems that we as a community have decided that it is so important to move traffic quickly on the City’s streets that normal safety standards protecting our children should not apply. And this is despite the City having by far the highest number of pedestrians being hit in the State. The most common time for pedestrian crashes are on weekdays and between 8-9am and 3-4pm, that is, when children are going to and from school.

If we are not to have 20% of our streets subject to 25km/h speed limits when school children are present, surely a broad 40km/h speed limit seems reasonable?

The Cars That Ate Mannum

This is a story similar in name, with some comparisons, to the Cars that demanded to behave how they chose in a 1974 Peter Weir movie.

We have lived in the River town of Mannum for 14 years and been part of the Heart Foundation Walking program since 2012. I walk the walk with my dog friend Minnie who demands an outing every morning. With the Heart Foundation Walkability Checklist in hand this story of observation and questions about regional infrastructure begins.

In Mannum there is a lack of sealed and level made walking paths along most streets to suit all ability walking. Many of the walking paths are of a granite or limestone gravel construction that are often rutted and angled. So pedestrians and mobility scooters are forced to use roads in competition with the cars.

A few things stand out on our daily walks here, the first being a lack of sealed and level made walking paths along most streets to suit all ability walking. Many of the walking paths about this town are of a granite or limestone gravel construction that are often rutted and angled. Pedestrians and mobility scooters in turn use the roads in competition with the Cars, a bad option, for a safer surface to navigate the town. Our Councillor, Steve Wilkinson, campaigned for footpath upgrades more than once in Council meetings. Sadly we lost Steve, our only footpath campaigner, when he was hit by a vehicle and killed while riding his bicycle on Hunter Road east of Mannum in April 2019.

In Mannum cars are often parked on the roadside paths, forcing pedestrians to walk on the street.

As for the Cars, they randomly park on our walking paths around the town, sometimes in small herds similar to the Peter Weir movie. For some reason Cars must be parked as close as possible to the entrance of houses to reduce the time wasted walking any distance. Is this a global phenomena to reduce any chance of enhancing personal fitness? Unfortunately very few infringements or re-education notices are directed towards the Cars That Ate Mannum so far, possibly to keep the Cars happy and because a complaint must be submitted.

A car parked across the footpath forces vulnerable people with a disability to leave the footpath

So often it is not until we wear the shoes of those afflicted with a disability that we can appreciate the failings of design and infrastructure like walking surface quality or path ramps that lead nowhere with the lack of a safe path to walk or use a mobility aid. I have asked many local residents what they think of our walking infrastructure with most responses from all age groups being uncomplimentary, the Cars as expected they do not care. Our statewide “Regional Development” funding is often seen as being for tourism hiking/biking trails, town beautification or business support. But do the needs of permanent residents of the regions by way of safe and accessible all ability township paths need to be treated as a priority with “Regional Development” plans?

The Cars will still care less about blocking walking paths and those that use them until one day the Cars driver needs to walk the walk for their health or is confined to using a mobility aid. Can the Cars be educated to be more people friendly on and off the roads?

Gavin Smith
A Mannum local resident

Walking SA response to Portrush and Magill Road Intersection Upgrade

Walking SA strongly opposes the intersection upgrade at Portrush Rd and Magill Rd because:

  • DPTI (Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure) continues to focus on expensive road projects that offer short-term solutions
  • DPTI offers very little investment or focus on safer, greener, active transport options
  • It is irresponsible to acquire and demolish homes and businesses during a pandemic.

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) response

Along with the rest of the community, Walking SA is concerned about and monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and are thinking of you, your families and friends. The safety and health of our members, volunteers, supporters, staff and the South Australian community are our first priority – we are following the advice of health experts and government.

Can you go for a walk?

7 April 2020: During COVID-19 social distancing going for a walk in your neighbourhood or a nearby national park is OK, provided you are well, not in self isolation and follow social distancing guidelines. Find a trail near you for a short walk.

Walking SA activities

Further to increasing COVID-19 restrictions, please note that all Walking SA activities have been cancelled, postponed or have taken on a non-face-to-face format until the end of June 2020 or until further notice.

Walking SA administration and support is continuing remotely but the office at Marleston is now closed until further notice.

Advice to bushwalking and outdoors clubs

The Walking SA Board advises all bushwalking and outdoors clubs to:

For the future

We look forward to everyone resuming and enjoying bushwalking and outdoor activities when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Please get in touch if you need any additional information.

Walking SA and the Heart Foundation commend the upgrade to automated pedestrian crossings

The City of Adelaide recently automated signalised pedestrian crossings throughout the city in response to COVID-19. Research shows that automated pedestrian crossings lead to a significant reduction in vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and Walking SA and the Heart Foundation have received a lot of positive feedback from members of the public who are enjoying the results of this initiative.

Given the support of this ‘pilot’ implementation of automated signalised pedestrian crossings, the Heart Foundation and Walking SA call for the City of Adelaide to make this change permanent.

View statement (PDF)

The call

Letter from Walking SA and Heart Foundation.

7 April 2020

The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of Adelaide Sandy Verschoor
City of Adelaide GPO Box 2252

Dear Lord Mayor

Re: Successful implementation of automated pedestrian signalling

The Heart Foundation and Walking SA are the leading organisations in South Australian championing walking and active living for health, transport and recreation.

Our vision is to see more people walking more often.

We would like to commend the City of Adelaide on its recent automation of signalised pedestrian crossings throughout the city. Research shows that automated pedestrian crossings leads to a significant reduction in vehicle-pedestrian conflicts 1.

We have received positive feedback from members of the public who applaud your initiative in taking this action.

Not only does this automation prioritise the immediate community health concerns relating to COVID-19, it also shows a demonstrable priority for public health more generally by improving the experience of pedestrians. As the environment is improved for pedestrians, more people will choose to walk to their destinations.

Given the acceptance of this ‘pilot’ implementation of automated signalised pedestrian crossings, the Heart Foundation and Walking SA call for the City of Adelaide to make this change permanent.

Along with making this initiative permanent, we see an opportunity to alter signal timing to give pedestrians more walk time. For more information please see Walking SA’s position statement on improving pedestrian signal phasing – statements/the-green-man/

More people walking contributes to economic vitality, a carbon neutral state, reduces congestion, builds social cohesion, and promotes our state as a great place to visit and live. It also reduces burden on our health system by reducing individuals’ risk of chronic disease and promoting mental wellbeing.

If you would like further information please contact the Walking SA Executive Director at

Yours sincerely

Imelda Lynch
Chief Executive SA/NT
Heart Foundation
Tuesday Udell
Walking SA
  1. Hughes, R., Huang, H., Zegeer, C., & Cynecki, M. (2000). Automated Detection of Pedestrians in Conjunction with Standard Pedestrian Push Buttons at Signalized Intersections. Transportation Research Record, 1705(1), 32–39.