Planning for pedestrians is rare in South Australia. Aided by funding from the State government, plenty of Councils have developed a bicycle plan, but few have done the same for walking – none in recent years.
So we welcome the City of Marion updating it’s 2012 Walking and Cycling Strategy with these Guidelines 2018-2022.
The Guidelines have been prepared by the consultants, Oxigen. Their adoption has not been without controversy, with broad-ranging calls for narrower streets and wider footpaths being rejected by Councillors.
Nevertheless there is enough in the adopted Guidelines in terms of safer road crossings, more street trees and “increasing footpath width where appropriate” to provide a source of support for residents wanting to improve the walkability of Marion’s suburbs.
The Guidelines make it obvious that much could be done, especially in the newer, hillier suburbs south of Darlington. There, pedestrians suffer from bad street layouts that make distances from home to anywhere much more lengthy than they would be on the plain. Here are two snapshots from the Guidelines contrasting the road layouts of Edwardstown and one of the newer suburbs, such as Sheidow Park or Trott Park:
Street trees are rare, as this aerial of Sheidow Park indicates:
While improving connectivity will be difficult, a lot can be done to improve walking conditions at street level. Fortunately a new source of funding to do this should become available via the State Liberal Government’s Greening Neighbourhoods Program.
We have yet to see the details, but it is understood that funding from the Open Space Levy paid by developers will soon be available to help pay for the greening of suburban streets, including street trees and infrastructure such as treenet inlets. These would act to keep the trees healthy, discourage tree routes from snaking under footpaths to suburban lawns (wrecking the pavement in the process), while at the same time helping to make our drains better able to cope with the flooding.