Movement and Place was applied to Northbourne Avenue in the City And Gateway Urban Design Framework (December 2018). Northbourne Avenue is awkwardly envisioned as an Urban Boulevard with Transit with both high movement and high place. Is such a thing possible?
Good ideas that were never built
The Garden City Cycle Route was identified as a priority back in 2004 and added to the Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure. The idea is not new and neglected for almost 20 years. Keep in mind that we have had a Labor government in the ACT Legislative Assembly since 20 October 2001.
2004 plan for bike paths parallel to Northbourne Ave and Barry Drive, enlargement of Figure E2 Proposed Cycle Lanes and Share Paths, Ten Year Master Plan Trunk Cycling and Walking Path Infrastructure, Roads ACT, 2004.
The Garden City Cycle Route would cover over five kilometres across the inner north, with cycle connections, travelling through the suburbs of Watson, Downer, Dickson, Ainslie, Braddon, and the City. The cycle path would include a mix of off-road shared paths and protected on-road cycle lane, and be in direct proximity to approximately 17,000 homes in the inner north corridor.Labor pledges $5 million for northside bicycle paths, Newstate Media, 16 May 2022.
Garden City Cycle Route yet to begin
If you think the ACT Government is letting us down with the cycling infrastructure in the City and Gateway along Northbourne Avenue, you would be right. The City And Gateway Urban Design Framework is already three years old and little has been done for cycling.
- Protect bike lanes were promised on Northbourne and we have not got them.
- The recent tender of the upgrade of Haig Park did not include any bike infrastructure.
- The Braddon Streetscape Upgrade Listening Report (see attached) for the upgrade to Lonsdale Street stated that no cycling infrastructure was planned – but you can still park there.
- The active travel street, Mort Street, passing the Braddon precinct has not been upgrade, even though it is now designated as the preferred cycle route.
- And what has happened to the Garden City Cycle Route through the north of Canberra including Haig Park and the Braddon Precinct. Nothing to be heard.
Comment: Provide a separated cycleway through Braddon between the Inner North and Civic, in line with the Active Travel Framework, as a retrofit to Lonsdale Street under the MIS 05 (or to Mort St).
Response: Mort Street has been identified as the preferred north-south connection through Braddon for a separated cycleway. We are collaborating with TCCS to prepare for this outcome.Braddon Streetscape Upgrade Listening Report, consultation 7 April-26 May 2021, YourSay, ACT Government, email 26 July 2021, PDF 3.
Lonsdale Street and Mort Street were also discussed in the Transcript Of Evidence, Standing Committee On Planning, Transport And City Services, ACT Legislative Assembly, 4 March 2021, 141, that can be read here.
Map 19 shows the Braddon precinct. Morton Street is an Active Travel Street. Garden City Cycle Route runs along Lonsdale Street.
On map 12, protected cycle lanes can be seen along Northbourne passing Macarthur Street.
Note the protected cycle lane (in this case grade separated) in figure 15.
Urban Boulevard with Transit
The southern section.
Cycling routes in the north to EPIC.
The Framework Plans sets out how the broad structure of the city centre and nodes could be arranged in the long term. It shows how land use, public domain and connections could be arranged and integrated.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 39.
Node – Kevin Lynch, the author of The Image of the City (1960) identified nodes as strategic focus points within cities like squares and junctions. Nodes, along with, paths, edges, districts and landmarks help people orientate or find their way and move through cities. The City and Gateway framework identifies urban nodes at specific locations along Northbourne Avenue that integrate building development around transit stops. Building development at nodes includes a broader variety of building uses to support residents, travellers and workers. Nodes along the gateway corridor are more urban in nature being venues for broader people focussed activities such as moving, shopping, waiting, talking, resting and working. These nodes also warrant a higher level of public realm provision and activities within ground floors of buildings to support these activities.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 76.
Macarthur node framework plan
Dickson node framework plan
Access and movement
Active travel is in lime not yellow. Macarthur Avenue shops are in the middle.
A user focused Movement and Place approach
The city and gateway corridor has multiple access and movement roles. Its nationally significant role and character as a Main Avenue and Approach Route. It has a nationally significant role and character as a Main Avenue and Approach Route. The demand for movement and access will increase in the future with the growth of the metropolitan and gateway corridor population.
The user experience of the corridor is influenced by many factors including mode and type of journey. Journeys are made using a range of transport modes including: private and commercial vehicles, public transport, cycling and walking. Northbourne Avenue is currently car dominated and as a result provides poorly for pedestrians and cyclists. The introduction of light rail and renewed urban development will introduce higher numbers of people that will increase demand for travel, particularly active modes such as cycling and walking. The renewal of the gateway corridor will respond to the demand by providing improved facilities for public transit and active travel journeys rebalancing user needs.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 50.
Strategic cycling network
Canberra is one of the leading cycle cities in the southern hemisphere. The city’s structure and streets already underpin one of the most extensive on- and off-road cycle networks of any city in Australia and support some of the highest commuter cycling numbers.
The Framework aims to improve the safety and convenience of cycling for all ages and abilities in the corridor, making it an attractive option for short trips. Cycling helps to address two issues currently experienced in the corridor: high levels of physical inactivity and traffic congestion.
However, recent studies show that women and older people are under represented. By considering infrastructure targeted to the interested yet concerned or less confident cyclist, there is scope to attract many more riders, particularly for short trips of 2-5km.
Map 15 shows the strategic cycling network plan for the
inner north and key City and Gateway cycle routes. The map includes existing and future principal and main routes. The network will be comfortable and convenient for riders aged
8 to 80 to use. Routes utilise off road paths, protected bike lanes and quiet streets.
Future routes in the network are planned to be direct, connected to more destinations and accessible to more people. Key on-road cycle lanes, identified as future principal routes such as those on Northbourne Avenue, will be upgraded to protected bike lanes.
The key City and Gateway routes are highlighted in Map 15 and are part of the wider network. These routes are to be improved and developed as part of the City and Gateway Urban Renewal.
The network hierarchy represented includes:
– Principal routes connecting the City, town centres and the Parliamentary Zone
– Main routes typically connect to group centres and employment areas
– Local routes, typically connect to local centres and schools
Access paths are not shown on this map but represent all other routes. Such access paths provide safe connections catering particularly for the ‘last kilometre’ of journeys ending at for examples homes.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 53.
Northbourne Avenue cycle lanes and active travel streets
The existing Northbourne Avenue on-road cycle lane is a popular facility that is used particularly by confident cyclists and commuters as the most direct route for travel north and south, to and through the city centre. Feedback from consultation indicates that, for the broadest range of users, this on-road facility is less attractive because of its proximity to general traffic. Alternative routes to Northbourne Avenue such as residential side streets and Sullivans Creek shared-use path are very popular, despite being less direct. They are perceived to be safer because the routes are either separated from traffic or in environments with less and slower traffic.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 53.
Northbourne Avenue’s verge width will be increased to incorporate the existing on-road cycle lane. The cycle lane will be built at the raised level of the verge protecting and separating cyclists from traffic. Improvements to the verge will include increased footpath widths.
The Framework also proposes that the important function of side streets for cyclists be formally recognised and their designation as ‘Active Travel Streets’ be supported. They provide relatively direct routes from the neighbourhoods of the Inner North, such as Dickson and Lyneham, to the city centre. Active Travel Streets are streets which are designed to make on-road cycling and walking safer.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 53.
A protected cycle lane will be more attractive to a broader range of users, including city centre residents and residents of neighbouring suburbs. This safer design is consistent with the recently established city cycle loop and is considered a logical expansion of this route . From a network perspective, this route and modified safer facility design will also continue to provide for commuters travelling to or through the city centre.
In the longer term, as part of a coordinated transformation of Northbourne Avenue wider verges and wider, protected cycle lanes can be developed. Figures 15 identifies the options for protected cycle lane designs.
Improvements to intersections, line marking indicating bicycle use, speed limit reduction and street car parking changes are among the measures to be implemented as part of defining active travel streets in the short term. It is noted that more vehicles will use these side streets of Northbourne Avenue as development increases the number of people living on Northbourne Avenue and access developments via side streets. Active Travel Streets will alert vehicle users to cycle use and promote greater safety along side streets of Northbourne Avenue. A pilot active travel street is currently proposed for Forbes Street and Moore Street, with the first round of upgrades focused on improving the safety of cyclists.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 53.
Garden City Cycle Route
Analysis shows a gap in safe cycling connections in the eastern area of the corridor. There is an opportunity to provide a direct, convenient cycling route to the city centre and Dickson and north to Watson.
The Garden City Cycle Route is designed to fill this gap and provide safe and convenient cycle connections on the eastern side of the corridor. This new route will complement existing routes such as Sullivans Creek principal route, Northbourne Avenue protected cycle lane and new Active Travel Streets.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 54.
Using a variety of streets and places, the route will accommodate both cyclists on local trips and visitors exploring the city. The Garden City Cycle Route will use existing streets to link Watson, Dickson, Ainslie and Braddon before connecting to the city and lake edge via the inner city cycle loop on Bunda and Allara streets. The route identified in Map 15 is suggested and links schools, local centres and green spaces. The map also shows alternative or additional route options. It is recommended that further work to develop the route be undertaken, including confirming the alignment and facility design and that the route be progressively implemented. A strong wayfinding strategy is recommended to complement the Garden City Cycle Route. Branding will also be considered.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 54.
The Garden City Cycle Route is intended to cater for both short and longer trips and be suitable for users from ages 8-80. To maximise safety, the Garden City Cycle Route is proposed to be a protected lane for cyclists, separated from vehicles and pedestrians at high use and conflict locations. However, route design and treatment will vary to reflect site specific circumstances.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 54.
Sullivans Creek community route
The Sullivans Creek shared-use path on the western side of the corridor currently attracts a diverse group of cyclists. In the six months from December 2017 to May 2018 over 250,000 people cycled along the route. It has recently been widened in parts and road crossings improved, which is a reflection on its popularity. The path runs along the Sullivans Creek open space corridor, providing a high amenity as well as safe and convenient cycling route.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 54.
There are opportunities to extend this popular route to the north and south and progress improvements to existing facilities such as continued path widening and road crossing safety improvements.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 54.
Better Places and streets
What is place making?
Place making is about creating places for people. More than buildings, design or architecture; it is about the often intangible elements that people identify with and relate to and that result in a sense of connection with place and enhanced health, happiness and wellbeing.
Place making is fundamental to good design and the creation of liveable and attractive neighbourhoods and communities. It involves a collaborative and often community-led process to shape public places and streets. Decision making and change is guided by a particular focus on physical, cultural and social characteristics.
Significant benefits can be achieved by using participatory place making processes to improve quality of life and connect communities. Great places can contribute to the social, health and environmental capital of a city by encouraging diversity, building social cohesion, connecting people with heritage values and nature, and attracting investment and innovation.
Place making should focused on the following principles:City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 63.
– People-focused places and streets
– Provide for a diversity of uses and users
– Places that are connected and legible
– Places that are safe, appealing and inclusive
– Support and encourage sustainability and innovation
– Empower the community to initiate change/place leadership
– Acknowledge and celebrate heritage places
Opportunities: Revitalising Haig Park
Haig Park is a significant green space and heritage-listed landscape feature at the heart of our city centre. Currently, Haig Park is one of the inner city’s largest yet most underutilised parks. The park is linear in design, straddling Northbourne Avenue and located next to the major urban renewal areas of Turner and Braddon (Map 19).City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 65.
It is intended that Haig Park will become a distinctive and inviting destination for locals and visitors alike and offer a cultural and urban recreation experience with play areas and natural amenity. Opportunities also exist to enhance east-west connections across Northbourne Avenue for pedestrians and cyclists and to promote the heritage significance of the park.
As part of reimagining a future Haig Park, a place plan has been prepared which draws on the findings of community and stakeholder engagement undertaken in 2017. This feedback, which focused on understanding the community’s views, issues and aspirations for Haig Park, confirmed that people value and appreciate the park as a large green space close to the city centre. Many feel that the park needs to be improved to meet the changing needs of the surrounding urban area around it. Design ideas for types of activities and ways to use and move around the park suggested that the park provide for a variety of different active and passive uses. The degree of change that the community wants to see for Haig Park was varied.
The Haig Park Place Plan takes a place making approach to the evolution of the park, with three stages guiding change – short term experiments and activations that create momentum and interest; monitoring the success of experiments and activations; and responding through adaption, modification, and implementation of long term improvements based on proven experiments and activations. These stages are cyclical and allow for ongoing evolution and community participation.
A Haig Park Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is being prepared and the implementation of place plan concepts will be established in accordance with the approved CMP.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 65.
Urban places and streets
In addition to open spaces, urban places such as plazas, squares, laneways and streets are important parts of the public domain. Opportunities exist to establish a network of attractive urban places and destination streets that are connected and layered to create intimacy and vibrancy, providing for a diverse range of activities and uses.City And Gateway Urban Design Framework, December 2018, 70.