Public Works Committee: City Tram Extension Project Adelink

There were great fears, and still are, that with the closing of the Royal Adelaide Hospital and the lack of activation of that site, albeit that the new hospital was announced around 10 years ago, we still do not have a master plan for that site, and we still do not have new tenants in there. The transition is taking a lot longer than was anticipated, and the traders in the East End have been already severely affected by the loss of trade. They saw the tram as a glimmer of hope to getting more people to the East End, so I have been supportive of this tram project.

However, one of the reasons that I decided to stand for parliament was as a result of the tram extension along North Terrace towards West Terrace. My office was in the Qantas building across the road from Parliament House. I had been there for around five years at the time and I had enjoyed the location. However, when the tram was put in, my personal business was affected. We lost all the loading zones in front of our business, and we lost all the trees along North Terrace in front of our office, so people could no longer drop in or pick up. In a modelling agency, you have uniforms, people used to be paid by cheque and parents would drop off children and load. Basically, we lost all that access.

Even worse, we lost all right-hand turns anywhere in the city. Coming from the north, as I did from Prospect, I used to be able to turn right at North Terrace from King William Street and get to my office. That was taken away. I requested hook turns, as they have in Melbourne. That was rejected, so I thought I could go around the back of the Festival Centre because that was the other way that you could get through. They then put in a new set of lights there because of the tram and you could not turn left between 7am and 7pm. Actually, you could not turn right; you could turn left.

However, because they built the tram with a raised median strip, I could not then turn left and then right into my car park, which was Woodson's Lane, or the Stamford Plaza car park, which also required the same manoeuvre—a left and then a right—so I could not get across. I worked out a way, where I could go up Kintore Avenue and around and then get into my car park. However, getting home, I could come out from Woodson's Lane to the new intersection.

Now you cannot turn right and go behind the Festival Centre, so the only way you could get out of there, besides going around the whole city, would be to do a U-turn, which was illegal at the time. I note that a lot of people do a U-turn there now because the Festival Centre road has been closed. They had police on the intersection straight after the tram was put in, and at least 20 of us were spoken to about doing a U-turn there, which meant there was practically no way for me to get access to my business or car park.

Because of the raised median strip, it meant that people coming to my office from Port Road could not get across, from West Terrace they could not get across and from the north they could not turn right. Basically, I tried to move out of the city as soon as possible because the tram had made doing business near impossible for me. I moved all my after-school and after-work courses to a Saturday in the hope that people would catch a tram, a bus or find some other way in, because the city traffic in the evening, the no right-hand turns and the inaccessibility, made business impossible the way I had done it for the previous 10 years or so.

I then looked for an office on Melbourne Street, where there was better parking availability, but I had to survive through the 10 months or year remaining on my lease hardly making any money. I moved my business out of the city because of the tram. Whilst I was positive about the tram, and I knew that the East End traders wanted a tram, I made it very clear to everyone I spoke to, including the Adelaide city council and the Public Works Committee, that if they were going to put a tram in it needed to be with the same formulation we currently have from Victoria Square to South Terrace.

They should not repeat the mistakes of the North Terrace to West Terrace tram, which took away two lanes of traffic. It took away a lot of parking, it took away loading zones and it took away trees and added in traffic lights. It had a raised median strip, which meant there was no accessibility anywhere. The tram is a good idea if you have it as it is on the other side of Victoria Square, where you can drive on the tramline, you can turn right where the tramline is and it does not take up all the space.

They should not repeat the mistakes of the North Terrace to West Terrace tram, which took away two lanes of traffic. It took away a lot of parking, it took away loading zones and it took away trees and added in traffic lights. It had a raised median strip, which meant there was no accessibility anywhere. The tram is a good idea if you have it as it is on the other side of Victoria Square, where you can drive on the tramline, you can turn right where the tramline is and it does not take up all the space.

The only good thing is that, because it is a cultural boulevard, there are not as many commercial businesses that rely on people pulling up along North Terrace. That begs the question: why would you try to discourage people from walking when you have just spent millions of dollars on a boulevard, the idea of which is to promenade along and enjoy? We have removed all the traffic lanes. I think there is only one right-hand turn affected. However, we now have a tram that does not turn right.

If you are coming from Glenelg and would like to go to the East End, say when the Festival is on and there is lots going on in the East End, or you would just like to go to a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night, you have to get off the tram either at Rundle Mall and walk through to Gawler Place to the next tram stop or go around the corner, get off at the Railway Station and then wait another 10 to 15 minutes for a tram in the other direction to take you towards the East End. To my mind, that means you might as well just walk, so what was the point of $6 million per 100 metres to extend three tram stops?

The government, apparently, is not redoing this intersection properly so that it can go in all directions, as it used to when there was a tram there previously, because it was too expensive. Apparently, that would have cost $20 million extra. That is a lot of money, I agree. However, this government found $10 million extra to speed up this project so that it could make sure that it would be ready in time for the next election. When it has a political imperative, this government can find money from wherever, but when it is practical and sensible why would you spend $10 million when you could have spent the $20 million and have a proper intersection at North Terrace and King William Street?

If you have a planned future of trams, it is ridiculous to do it in such a hotchpotch way that we are going to have to go through this again and dig up North Terrace and King William, definitely the busiest intersection in my electorate and possibly one of the busiest in the state. Why not do it properly? Why not do it once? Why not do it this time? Whilst I hope that the tram will take more people to the East End, I think it might be quicker to walk there, given that at this point the tram does not turn right. It is a shame that the government is not spending the right amount of money to do the job properly and to do it once.

Motion carried.