Alex, Despite the lack of posts I’m hoping your article …

Comment on The Magic Roundabout of Alice in Blunderland by Mike Gillam.

Alex, Despite the lack of posts I’m hoping your article inspires some lateral thinking behind the scenes about civic care and public works generally.
I would add a few more points. I believe the construction of a pedestrian refuge by the Alice Springs Town Council is well placed at this site and has provided significant public benefits at a modest cost. In contrast the proposed roundabout will impact negatively on pedestrians and bicycle riders 24 hours a day, every day and may well deter some patrons (drivers) from visiting the popular restaurant nearby.
It will however make it easier for drivers entering Undoolya Road from Sturt Terrace, both from the south and more so from the north. This can be difficult at peak times especially just before 8am when the traffic flow from the east into town dominates – solutions therefore need to focus particularly but not solely on a brief 15 minute time slot per day.
The basic challenge for a traffic management study is to find a way to provide breaks in the east-west traffic flow that will improve ingress from Sturt while remembering that this will cause traffic coming east along Undoolya to back up and potentially gridlock through a further two roundabouts.
Given that populations in Sadadeen, old and new Eastside will keep rising with urban infill we need longer-term solutions. Much better public transport systems to take workers into and out of the CBD would help greatly. Strategic improvements to the bicycle network are overdue and would undoubtedly encourage many eastsiders to leave their cars at home when they go to work in the nearby CBD. Obviously residents can help themselves by increased car-pooling. My understanding of traffic management is limited but on the face of it this proposal for another roundabout seems flawed.

Mike Gillam Also Commented

The Magic Roundabout of Alice in Blunderland
Alex, you raise some valid concerns and yes, there is an oft repeated pattern here. Roundabouts are about maintaining the flow, efficiency and safety of vehicular traffic and this often comes at the expense of pedestrians and their ability to cross the street, efficiently and in safety. If we are concerned about the vulnerability of L’il Antz then bollards are needed now and much more so if the roundabout is built. The risks of placing a child-care centre on this problematic intersection would have been considered when the matter went before the Development Consent Authority. Perhaps if the evaluation process included some of your passion and diligence for historical research the outcome may have been different. Hopefully your placement of fresh information before the community will now encourage a review of this black-spot that will benefit drivers and pedestrians alike.


Recent Comments by Mike Gillam

Melanka building would obscure unequalled backdrop
While I broadly support the views of the writer, I’d like to correct what is clearly a typo.
The building height limit in the CBD is 14 m. not 8.5m, and for the record, I won’t be making a submission to the NT Planning Commission, a Statutory Authority advising the NT Government on planning matters including building heights in Alice Springs because I don’t regard the public consultation process as genuine.
Recent calls by the Chief Minister for expressions of interest in the development of land at Whittaker Street, just outside the western boundary of the CBD and in an area with a LOWER height limit, makes a mockery of this public consultation.
The artist’s impression shows a building that dramatically exceeds the stated limit for this area, from memory, not even 14 m but currently 8.5m.
Of course, the nature of legislation, regulations and town plans may be subject to the extraordinary powers granted to the responsible Minister who can always find some justification.
In closing I would give credit to the NT Planning Commission for its recognition of the value of protecting some critical east west sight-lines across the CBD.
However the town’s future shape and collective massing of buildings will be determined to a large extent by the uncoordinated actions of individual developers and politicians in the decades ahead.
Ultimately this is a game of chance and DESIGN, that elusive collective vision for Alice Springs, appears to be taking a back seat in the process. As a struggling tourist town we can and should do much better.


Festival broadens ambitions of Alice Cinema
At a time when the town’s commercial centre is under great stress we are very fortunate to have such dynamic and progressive people directing the cinema complex.


A funny thing happened to me on the way to the tip …
Delightfully zany, elegant, rigorously conceived and resolved, an asset to the landfill and the town. Congratulations to the artist for her uncompromising effort and those on the Town Council who placed their faith in her and dared to make this happen. I hope the obvious quality of this public art has raised the confidence of decision makers and they feel vindicated to do it again with equal rigour. Perhaps in time, as the town’s artistic side is further highlighted and revealed we may regain some of our reputation as a tourist mecca.


Dancers take over after dark
Not denying there is an equivalent need for the hard core stories but surely this is the Alice Springs News at its very best.I’m kicking myself for missing the event.


Residency is at risk, says heritage group
Hal, where to start…If you peddle misinformation some readers might hyperventilate. But I think you’re ignoring the elephant in the room here…no-one likes their time being wasted and that’s how I feel trying to unravel your torrent of opinion and innuendo. Time prevents me from responding to more of your posts. It’s not simply that you distort reality by describing The Residency as “…current inactive state…” or that it’s preposterous and insulting to say, “Have you considered that Heritage Alice Springs’ dogmatic approach to these matters contributed to the Old Riverside not being given Heritage listing?” What an outrageous example of shoot the messenger by some-one who has not seen the nomination by HAS. But wait there’s more, “…I often think the heritage crowd exceed their brief…” Really? They’re the main reason you can cite the example of the Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame at its fantastic heritage location. And again, “…We don’t have very many buildings worth listing. Too many tin sheds, and who really cares…” Your regard for vernacular architecture including sheds is out of step with rising national interest and ignores much of the development history of Alice Springs.
PS Re. leasing the Residency for use as a cafe, I reiterate the issue of onsite car-parking. From memory, 6 parks are required for every 100m2 of net floor area and any alfresco dining areas – so I’m guessing this site would have to at least double the existing parks – this reasonable condition may be waived by the Minister BUT it’s in the best commercial interests of cafe owners to provide viable parking to lessen the impact on the street during periods of peak trade. And no, the idea that a new venture would be allowed to free-load on existing public car-parking is unlikely to win much support. The RFDS has it all, why try to replicate that experience with less at the Residency?


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