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Canberra still learning how to design shareways

By Paul Costigan 22 July 2015 58

Bunda-P1120328

I recently took the opportunity to observe the new shareway along Bunda Street.

When I first arrived I watched a large bus make its way at speed along the street. Not surprisingly, pedestrians did not insist on their right of way over the oncoming hulk of metal.

I also saw several cars and small trucks that didn’t realise (or care?) that they did not have right of way. Many were driving at over 20km per hour. Consequently, pedestrians had to step back to allow them to pass. Pedestrians also did well to notice a cyclist’s rapid advance and allow him to pass.

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It was up to the pedestrians to insist on their right of way or to choose the safer option of waiting for a space in the traffic. However, pedestrians seemed more comfortable to venture out and assert their right of way in areas where the the road had a raised surface.

Shareways work best when the street infrastructure is kept simple. Unfortunately, allowing for parked cars along Bunda Street (as opposed to only having a few loading zones) has cluttered up the kerbsides too much.

In addition, I am sure the architectural designers liked Bunda Street’s over-the top iron clad garden features, but all they seem to achieve is to add to the visual clutter.

As for all that distracting painted road decoration, the less said the better—except to say that it also adds to the distractions. This is a concern when being observant and watchful of others is so important.

There are more successful, less intrusive and more appropriate approaches to adding plants and the necessary infrastructure along shareways. As with any good design solution, the best advice is to keep it simple!

Before I venture too far in offering more negative comments about this shareway, let me say that they are a welcome alternative to the usual dominance of the automobiles on our urban streets.

Given that such initiatives are uncommon in Australia, it is even more important to get the basics of the design right. Unfortunately Bunda Street is only marginally successful due to the use of confusing design features. We can do a lot better!

Likewise in Dickson, 40km per hour zones have been introduced in most of the streets within the shopping precinct. This is a good thing and well overdue. But the new signage and traffic slowing devices are minimal and suggest that those who implemented the change did not really believe in the slowing down of cars. As a result, traffic speeds have not changed that much.

Dickson-P1120496

The worst example of ineffective signage is just off Cowper Street where the sign is positioned far to the left, almost into the nearby trees. I doubt many drivers have seen it. But then again, maybe the sign was meant to slow down pedestrians on the footpath!

No matter how many signs and other traffic controlling techniques are applied to our streets, getting people to understand shareways remains a challenge in Australia.

We live in a culture whereby automobiles reign supreme. All other forms of travel, especially walking, can be very dangerous activities when you need to share public spaces with cars. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians caught half way across a street being challenged by a vehicle that appears suddenly around the corner or from elsewhere that then demands the road at all costs.

There are protocols on most occasions, but not all, for how we pass each other as pedestrians. But once one of us in a car, watch out— they are coming through no matter what!

I hope that our government’s roads people assess these initiates very soon and work out what should be improved. The design for shareways requires designers who understanding simplicity and that extraneous clutter and decorations are not part of the solution.

I encourage the introduction of more shareways across Canberra but it must be done using more effective designs.

It would be good to hear about other experiences of shareways in Canberra and elsewhere.

What’s Your opinion?


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Canberra still learning how to design shareways
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Nilrem 4:06 pm 01 Sep 15

Evilomlap said :

rigseismic67 said :

Today at 1205pm a largish man was struck by a small car driven by an old lady in the middle of the shared zone.
I totally agreed with his punching a large dent in the side of the car in anger.
This shared zone is a joke, someone will end up badly injured.
Put in some speed humps, make it one way or put the crossings back you fools who made this mistake.

That’s really unfortunate, but comes as no surprise. That ‘shared zone’ is a joke. It’s unclear who has right of way, and ambiguity in road rules is a catastrophe waiting to happen. I’m glad the guy wasn’t seriously injured.

Yep, a few weeks since thsi thread started, and the Shareway is still a joke. Cars drive through it too fast and they DON’T give way. An even bigger joke is the pedestrian lights under the Canberra Centre footbridge. The Shareway ends and the speed limit goes from 20 km/h to 40 km/h for the duration of the lights! What’s that about?!

Evilomlap 1:06 pm 01 Sep 15

rigseismic67 said :

Today at 1205pm a largish man was struck by a small car driven by an old lady in the middle of the shared zone.
I totally agreed with his punching a large dent in the side of the car in anger.
This shared zone is a joke, someone will end up badly injured.
Put in some speed humps, make it one way or put the crossings back you fools who made this mistake.

That’s really unfortunate, but comes as no surprise. That ‘shared zone’ is a joke. It’s unclear who has right of way, and ambiguity in road rules is a catastrophe waiting to happen. I’m glad the guy wasn’t seriously injured.

rigseismic67 12:18 pm 01 Sep 15

Today at 1205pm a largish man was struck by a small car driven by an old lady in the middle of the shared zone.
I totally agreed with his punching a large dent in the side of the car in anger.
This shared zone is a joke, someone will end up badly injured.
Put in some speed humps, make it one way or put the crossings back you fools who made this mistake.

dungfungus 3:20 pm 27 Jul 15

Maya123 said :

bryansworld said :

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

I rarely slow for speed humps, as most can be driven over at normal speed. In my case, the speed limit.

There are concave speed bumps appearing all over Canberra lately.
Us old folk used to call them potholes.
They are the equivalent of tank traps for push bikes.

Maya123 3:19 pm 27 Jul 15

Evilomlap said :

Maya123 said :

bryansworld said :

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

I rarely slow for speed humps, as most can be driven over at normal speed. In my case, the speed limit.

Whether or not you ‘can’ go over them at normal speed, doesn’t mean you ‘should’. They are safety measure, they are not there to inconvenience you. Do you drive a large 4WD? If not, I can say that having adjusted/replaced the suspension on dozens of normal (ie non-off-road) cars over the years it’s easy to spot the ones that bounce over speed bumps. You’re not doing your wheel alignment any favours either.

I never had* a suspension problem with going over them in my 2WD Holden Vectra (which also drove on rough dirt roads at times, and occasionally off road), and neither did my friend who services my car (and drives over humps similarly). At one stage this was his job; suspension, so he is experienced in this area. Some speed humps are so mild they might as well not be there, such as those on Goyder Street and those near the Bowen Drive construction site. I still see lots of cars timidly going over these, including large 4WDs. I suspect speedhumps are not there to slow people down even lower than the speed limit (40kph on Bowen Drive), but to bring people down to these limits. As long as one is driving at the speed limit, they don’t need to slow further, unless something else indicates this. A really nasty speed hump can be found on the dirt Brooks Road, off Bungendore Road. I would strongly suggest slowing for that one.

* (I say had, because about a week ago a car in front of me stopped suddenly with little warning, except tentative driving, to turn right from the non-right turning lane. I took evasive action by steering sharply left and missed, but the car behind didn’t and ploughed into me, writing my car off. I was told I should have jumped the gutter at speed, even if that had ruined the suspension, because that could have been fixed. I agree, but hindsight is all well and good, as I didn’t know the car behind me would not react in time.)

Evilomlap 1:23 pm 27 Jul 15

Maya123 said :

bryansworld said :

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

I rarely slow for speed humps, as most can be driven over at normal speed. In my case, the speed limit.

Whether or not you ‘can’ go over them at normal speed, doesn’t mean you ‘should’. They are safety measure, they are not there to inconvenience you. Do you drive a large 4WD? If not, I can say that having adjusted/replaced the suspension on dozens of normal (ie non-off-road) cars over the years it’s easy to spot the ones that bounce over speed bumps. You’re not doing your wheel alignment any favours either.

Evilomlap 1:11 pm 27 Jul 15

Maya123 said :

bryansworld said :

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

I rarely slow for speed humps, as most can be driven over at normal speed. In my case, the speed limit.

There are some really effective ones – like the ones on MacPherson St in O’Connor to stop people racing through the school zones there. They don’t look very menacing but go over them at anything more than a crawl and you’ll wish you hadn’t. I see them at some road works as well.

Maya123 12:53 pm 27 Jul 15

bryansworld said :

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

I rarely slow for speed humps, as most can be driven over at normal speed. In my case, the speed limit.

bryansworld 12:13 pm 27 Jul 15

Evilomlap said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

And I’m noticing more and more that speed humps don’t seem to slow many people down either. Time to make them bumpier.

Evilomlap 11:53 am 27 Jul 15

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Sadly, people that speed generally don’t pay attention to speed limit signs. You could have a giant neon “Speeding vehicles will be blown up with land mines” sign and it wouldn’t make any difference.

bryansworld 10:19 am 27 Jul 15

dungfungus said :

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Last time I drove there at 20km/hr I was overtaken by two bicycle riders resplendent in lycra with heads down.
The signs need to be painted on the road for them.

No-one should speed in the the Shareway. Paint the sign on the road for everybody. Put in speed humps for everybody. Lower the speed signs for everybody. Let’s abandon tribal warfare for safety outcomes that save human lives and prevent injury.

dungfungus 8:54 am 27 Jul 15

ChrisinTurner said :

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Last time I drove there at 20km/hr I was overtaken by two bicycle riders resplendent in lycra with heads down.
The signs need to be painted on the road for them.

ChrisinTurner 2:43 pm 26 Jul 15

I think the whole thing is a good idea except the signs saying ’20 km/hr’ and ‘shared zone’ are too high on the poles to be seen by most drivers. “Shared Zone” should be painted on the road at the entries. 10 km/hr would be more appropriate but it is so much better than the original 60 km/hr when I started living in the area.

Postalgeek 12:52 pm 24 Jul 15

I might add I think shared spaces develop a false sense of trust.

I teach my kids to never trust any car with a driver (including myself) and to always position themselves to the side of a car. Never in front or behind which are directions of travel. Doesn’t matter whether the car is slow moving or stationary, the exception being pedestrian crossings where they have to wait for the driver to stop. I don’t feel comfortable sitting down at a sidewalk cafe with cars parking nose in a meter away from tables.

Youtube is littered with examples of people hitting the accelerator instead of the brake. Mistakes happen and 1 ½ tons of vehicle is unforgiving.

Postalgeek 12:17 pm 24 Jul 15

Wonder how long shared spaces will last should malignant/religious narcissists and other nut jobs really start to catch on that cars are easier to procure than bombs and guns:

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2013/08/car-deadly-force/6421/

http://www.rt.com/news/202431-jerusalem-attack-car-israel/

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-21/three-dead-after-driver-ploughs-into-crowd-in-graz-austria/6561262

http://news.yahoo.com/man-shouting-allahu-akbar-drives-crowd-france-injuring-211915875.html

http://www.spin.com/2014/03/two-dead-at-sxsw/

http://www.news.com.au/world/car-driven-into-crowd-at-los-angeles-venice-beach-one-dead-11-hurt/story-fndir2ev-1226691080765

and then there’s the elderly/confused driver with the accelerator instead of brake mistake…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Monica_Farmers_Market_crash

I’m loathe to put it out there, but planners need to think about the unthinkable.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping someone from mounting a curb and ultimately there’s not much anyone can do, but shared spaces do seem to present a smorgasbord…

Maya123 10:35 am 24 Jul 15

There can be a perceived danger risk with shared areas:
http://knowledge.allianz.com/mobility/transportation_safety/?1841/Why-making-streets-risky-improves-road-safety
I haven’t been to Bunda Street recently, but from the photographs it appears the road looks like business as usual and that is a problem.

Evilomlap 10:25 am 24 Jul 15

JC said :

Fritz said :

Bring on the election… hopefully Canberra will vote in a more intelligent and responsible government next time.

Got anyone in mind? A Liebral goverment lead by Jeremy Hanson would be an absolute and utter joke. All they know what to do is say the opposite to the current government in the hope of getting voted in by default, rather than actually presenting themselves as a viable alternative.

My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately this is true at the Federal level as well. It’s become “vote for us because we’re not them”. This doesn’t look likely to change any time soon but it’s not just their fault, it’s us voters as well. We’ve become as a whole so jaded and disinterested we’ve allowed this tit for tat flip a coin method of changing governments to become entrenched. Nowadays if you write to your local or Federal member you seem like a nut job rather someone genuinely interested in how this country is being governed.

Postalgeek 10:09 am 24 Jul 15

Fritz said :

The train will be another. Another contributor mentioned that “Northbourne Avenue is a car park in peak hour” – with the train along it Northbourne Avenue will be significantly worse as the Government wants to increase population density and congestion along this road to help justify the train. As Northbourne Avenue is a key thoroughfare (both locally and interstate) into the city it will totally stuff-up traffic flow.

If someone decides to move into a corridor overtly densified for light rail and plans to join the Northbourne car park instead of catching the train, well, on the plus side their workplace is spared from one stupid person for however long it takes them to get down Northbourne.

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