Cars to be banned from driving on the tram tracks in southern section of King William St
Simeon Thomas-Wilson, City Editor, The Advertiser
Two lanes for cars will be removed from King William St and the number of right turns slashed, under an upgrade of the tram stop and track in the city’s south.
The Advertiser can reveal that the need to upgrade the City South tram stop to allow proper disability access will result in the tram line between Victoria Square and South Tce emulating the track north of Victoria Sq - where trams have their own dedicated corridor that drivers aren’t allowed to enter.
At least two intersections are set to have right hand turns from King William St removed, and on-street parking will also be cut.
The number of right turns from King William St will be cut, and right turns ON to King William St could be cut also.
Abolishing right hand turns on to King William St is also a possibility under the $17.5 million upgrade.
Transport Minister Stephan Knoll says will reduce delays across the Adelaide tram network, increase safety for road users and tram patrons and upgrade the long-neglected City South tram stop to meet Disability and Discrimination Act requirements.
“The existing tram tracks on King William Street between South Terrace and Victoria Square were constructed in the early 1980s and are reaching the end of their useful life,” he said.
“Therefore, these are necessary and important works that must occur and importantly also gives an opportunity to make the City South tram stop DDA compliant.
“This project will also reduce delays to current tram operations and improve the safety along King William Street for both road and tram users.”
To do this there will be modifications to existing traffic arrangements in the southern part of King William St.
Adelaide tram explained
Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said the funding to upgrade the tram stop was something the council was pushing for a long time, with the existing platforms not having signage, ramps, tactile ground surface indicators or enough space for wheelchair access.
“I look forward to this project making the tram network safer and more accessible for everyone,” she said.
The upgrade was allocated $11.7 million in last year’s State Budget, with Mr Knoll saying the increase in total cost was due to a change in the project scope.
The State Government has begun a consultation process with local businesses and residents, which Mr Knoll said was to minimise disruption as much as possible.
“A top priority will be providing support to local businesses that may be affected by this project,” he said.
Ms Verschoor said the council would do its bit as well.
“Council will work closely with the Government to ensure the impact of construction on local small businesses and residents is minimised as much as possible,” she said.
“Along with my fellow members, I look forward to seeing the community engagement outcomes and to viewing the final design.”
The North Terrace tram stops were upgraded in 2018; the station between Victoria Square and South Terrace is next. Picture: AAP / Brenton Edwards
In 2007 when the tram was extended from Victoria Square to North Tce right hand turns off of King William St were removed.
That extension caused concern and mass hysteria over traffic snarls and accessibility, however once complete, opposition to the project quickly waned.
South Ward councillor Alexander Hyde said the design needed to be right to ensure there wasn’t a repeat.
“The devil will be in the detail, commuters and businesses won’t be happy with any design that removes parking or limits accessibility in the city,” he said.
Charles Mountain RAA senior manager road safety said accessibility and access for vehicles from King William St needed to be factored into the redevelopment.
“There are benefits to making it tram only," he said.
“It is safer and it does provide more surety to the tram service.
“But the impacts on accessibility and access from King William St must be considered as part of any traffic management plan.”
The design works for the upgrade are underway, ahead of construction expected to begin in the second quarter of this year and completed in the third quarter - subject to weather.
Cycling facilities will be maintained along both sides of King William St.