Trams are fantastic! I personally support constructing a line between Mitcham and the CBD (through Unley). Why would anyone be opposed to it?

As yet however; Federal, State Gov’t nor Council have conducted public consultation so there is no empirical data to understand public opinion. Such a topical issue invites comments so simply talking to residents and reading comments online (related to this topic) is the only way to gauge sentiments.

Public Opinion

Traffic and travel times come to the fore as these quotes show:

Nick Apr 21, 2016 (on AdelaideNOW)

So I have to pay to get to work slower…… because of the tram? Makes sense. No Thanks, you can keep your tram.

 Andrew Faulkner (News Ltd Reporter)

Unley Rd? There’s barely room for cars.

Sandy D.Mar 1, 2016 (on North East Messenger)

Unley Council has some day dream plan of putting in a tram track along Unley Road and turning it into a pedestrian boulevard, with no place for cars. The fact Unley Road is a major road for commuters from Belair (where the tram probably would not extend to) doesn’t seem to be of concern to them. If the end game is to get cars off the roads, then why not introduce a cycling tax?

I think you get the point…

And there is surely some validity to these concerns. A tram down Unley road would have to slow traffic; but by how much?

Compared to the O-Bahn

The $160 million O-Bahn tunnel will save commuters 7 minutes per day (note that is on a two way trip, so 210 seconds one way). The O-Bahn carries 31,000 people each week to the city. Unley Road carries the same number of vehicles per day and well over 150,000 vehicles per week. If we accept that each vehicle carries approximately 1.2 people then Unley Road is used 5 and a half times more frequently that the O-Bahn.  So should a study find that a tram would slow commuters on Unley by a couple of minutes each day, should we be considering a tram-tunnel, an Unley-Underground?


The 2.1km tram extension in 2010 cost $32 million at $15.24 ,million per km. that would be $35.8 million in 2016 or $17 million per km. Based on these costs, the Unley Road Section of a tram on Unley Road would cost $45.9 million. Putting the tram underground?

Based on recent costings of similar projects in Australia it should be possible to achieve a project cost of $100 million per kilometer making the project under $300 million for 2.7km Unley Road stretch.

Why an Unley-Underground

Unley’s population Density, the road width and how heavily the road is used.

Unley Road is narrower than the Parade yet has more traffic. Unley Council has the highest population density in metropolitan Adelaide and let us not forget that density will grow. Unley Road will have medium density mixed use apartments built along its length over the coming 20 years, a couple of thousand more people.

Main roads such as Unley have some of the highest usage in the metropolitan area already, as stated, five and a half times more than the O-Bahn.

Our main roads leading into the city were never designed for the volumes of traffic they now carry and the only options are to build overpasses or underground tunnels. I don’t think an overpass would work but an Unley Underground seems to have merit.

As an aside I suspect under-grounding the tram should also be looked at for the tram through Prospect which has the second highest population density.


Opinions are my own and not a representation of a formal Council position as the Council has not considered the matter of putting a tram under ground.

It did consider in the April 2016 meeting and was the first Council to pass such the motion:

MOVED Councillor Palmer SECONDED Councillor Hughes That:

  1. Council provide in principle support to the expansion of light rail.

  2. Council participates in the development of a comprehensive study into the State Government’s AdeLINK light rail network.

  3. Council participate in further discussions with the Federal Government, State Government and neighbouring Councils within the proposed AdeLINK light rail network regarding funding and delivery options.


By Lachlan Clyne – Mayor, City of Unley

Email 1:

Email 2:

Council: 08 8372 5106

Mobile: 0427 132 494

References (Spanish line, as a one way line could be at $90 million / km) (27 Adelaide CBD tram extension SA Light rail 2008 $31 $32 2.1 $15.24) (The government-funded component of the Sydney Airport railway cost $1.024 million (2010 dollars) or $102.4 million per kilometre) 115million/km Total change in cost is 12.0 per cent, over 5 years, at an average annual inflation rate of 2.3 per cent.

Categories: Mayor Clyne's Opinion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: