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Glenelg tram expansion needs more planning to avoid further congestion

Wednesday, 14th Feb 2018

The Glenelg tram has been identified as a major contributor to congestion on three major Adelaide roads, as revealed in RAA’s latest travel time survey.

While the tram is an important part of Adelaide’s public transport system, RAA Senior Manager Road Safety Charles Mountain said more planning is needed before the Glenelg tram service is expanded, as outlined in the State Government’s Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan.

“The impact that the Adelaide to Glenelg tram has on congestion levels is a source of frustration for many road users, based on feedback we have received from RAA members,” said Mr Mountain.

“The congestion on Marion Road, Cross Road and Morphett Road had been caused by increasing traffic volumes and the roads’ intersection with tram crossings.

“While the state’s Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan (ITLUP) details the need to increase tram services to address population growth in the area and encourage public transport use, it doesn’t outline the effect this will have on motorists or what can be done to mitigate it.

“By having more trams, and increasing the frequency of services, we would expect there to be a negative impact on traffic flow, particularly on the arterial roads that pass through tram crossings.

“The run up to these tram crossings is already congested, so by increasing service levels, this will have a detrimental effect on travel times, particularly during the peak periods.”

During the morning peak period, the slowest travel speed recorded on sections affected by the tram was 14km/h, occurring on both Anzac Highway from Mornington Avenue to Marion Road and also on Marion Road itself for northbound vehicles travelling between South Terrace and Cross Road.

On the Marion Road section, average speeds were consistently slow across the morning peak, dropping as low as 7km/h at 7.50am. On the Anzac Highway between Mornington Avenue and Marion Road, average speeds dropped as low as 10km/h at 8.20am with this 670m section taking up to 3.5 minutes to travel along.

“In terms of infrastructure upgrades, the most logical solution would involve grade separation of the tram line and road at these congestion points,” said Mr Mountain.

“Thought also needs to be given to the impact of any future South Road upgrades which, most likely, would place pressure on Goodwood Road and Marion Road due to traffic displacement during the construction phase.

“In the meantime, we would like to see the state Integrated Transport and Land Use Plan updated to recognise the significant congestion that occurs due to vehicles having to wait at tram crossings, so that it can be addressed as part of any future planning for Adelaide’s road network.”

When looking at the entire network, Greenhill Road and Prospect Road were found to be the slowest routes in the 2017 RAA Travel Time Survey, with motorists only reaching an average speed of 24km/hr on these roads.

“When you consider the sign-posted speed limit on Greenhill Road is 60km/hr, it shows just how significant the congestion is when motorists aren’t even able to drive at half that limit,” said Mr Mountain.

“The slowest section along Greenhill Road is Devereux Road to Portrush Road (14km/h), while Prospect Road is at its slowest between Methuen Street and Fitzroy Terrace (13km/h).”

Congestion continues to be a problem for motorists on Main North Road, with an average speed of 25km/hr in the morning peak and 31km/hr in the afternoon peak.

“The 700m section of Main North Road between Darlington Street and Grand Junction Road was the slowest section with an average speed of just 9km/hr, but it dropped as low as 6km/h at times,” said Mr Mountain.

“We have consistently reported on how congestion affects this road, particularly highlighting the intersection of Main North Road, Grand Junction Road and Port Wakefield Road which is in need of an upgrade, but there appears to be little progress in implementing a solution,” said Mr Mountain.

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