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City Centre – Car and Pedestrian Congestion

By John Tuttle 1 March 2008 16

Does anyone enjoy navigating through Civic lately? It’s kind of exciting at times, but for all the wrong reasons. Not enough places for pedestrians to cross safely, zebra-crossings at intersections causing the cars to grid-lock. The drivers get cranky and yell at each other and are distracted so they don’t see the idiot running across right in front of them. Chuck in a couple of those rogue cyclists who want free reign over both sides of the road and both footpaths (oh yeah, and right-of-way on the zebra’s of course) and you have a total nightmare.

Now I know that our answer to every traffic problem is normally to build a roundabout or just stop the cars getting access but there must be some innovative approaches that would work

I’d be interested in views / comments about the idea of setting some streets in the city centre as ‘shared zones’…cars can go at say 10 kph and pedestrians can cross at any point. Add some cobble-stone type street surface to keep the cars going slowly.

For example, a couple of 50-metre long sections along Bunda St between the two shopping centres, or the whole length of Bunda St from Mort St to Akuna St.

Pros: keeps the cars moving, even when relatively busy; pedestrians can cross more easily and safely(?); less noise from cars creeping along rather than racing full-bore from one zebra crossing to the next; keeps the street available to cars.

Cons: a bit painful if you drive through on a quiet Sunday morning; will the tools in their Nissan Sylvia’s, etc, really slow down? Might still need one or two zebra’s for less able pedestrians.

What’s Your opinion?

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16 Responses to
City Centre – Car and Pedestrian Congestion
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I reckon a 10km/h, one way shared zone street for service/emergency vehicles (and loading zones) would be a goer. Minimal traffic, but shops are still able to get deliveries.

s-s-a 3:32 pm 03 Mar 08

It surprised me that the small, largely pointless roads running between Bunda Street and Ballumbir Street underneath the new area of the Canberra Centre were opened to automotive traffic.

Lunch time = constant stream of pedestrian traffic across there. Just like the Canberra Centre/City Market crossing used to be before the lights went in.

I agree – pedestrianise all of Bunda Street from Mort to Akuna and use the side streets for disabled/motorbike/bike parking.

neanderthalsis 2:21 pm 03 Mar 08

I have often wondered at Bunda St from Mort through to Akuna being open to traffic. Restrict traffic access, increase footpath access for the cafes and turn civic into a pedestrain friendly metropolis.

astrojax 1:24 pm 03 Mar 08

yep, stop all cars in the city precinct and have a fleet of open tram buses (free) to get people about the area. maybe have limited loading zone access, in strict times (like early am, late pm) for businesses to aquire stock – but why does anyone need to drive through the middle of civic?

stereo henry 9:16 am 03 Mar 08

I agree ant – pedestrianise all of Civic. Why do cars need to use Bunda St? When Civic can be accessed by other roads?

Danman 7:38 pm 02 Mar 08

re: ant’s history lesson – fascinating! i would love to see photos of that… – Photosearch is your friend.

toriness 7:19 pm 02 Mar 08

re: ant’s history lesson – fascinating! i would love to see photos of that…

John Tuttle 10:24 pm 01 Mar 08

I disagree ant. We can’t keep the cars out…although it would be good to keep the Nissan Sylvia’s out.

The further out you push the cars, the faster they end up going.

ant 10:20 pm 01 Mar 08

All the streets in civic used to be normal roads. That’s why DJs has that grand entrance looking out onto nothing. When I was a kid they closed them off and paved them, and it was a great thing for Civic.

They need to close off more streets as Civic has expanded, and make a proper ring road for traffic. maybe make it one-way or something.

John Tuttle 9:21 pm 01 Mar 08

Bunda Mall – that might work.

Or maybe only one-way, and only to the underground parking, not connecting back to London Circuit.

bd84 8:13 pm 01 Mar 08

I wouldn’t even bother trying to drive on any of those roads unless you wanted to wait for 5 plus minutes for the pedestrians to cross.

They either need to put traffic lights up like at the crossing between the old and new centre. But personally I think the roads don’t actually go anywhere important (that other roads don’t already go) so they could just close them all off and make a mall with necessity or delivery vehicle only access with 10kph speed limit, giving way to pedestrians.

Err…They already are.

Genie 5:38 pm 01 Mar 08

They should make the crossings on Bunda street raised. Then maybe cars might stop.

sepi 2:31 pm 01 Mar 08

I think during lunch hour and 5-6pm some of the crossings on the small roads need to have traffic lights. Cars just cannot get thru the steady stream of pedestrians without screeching thru a tiny gap.

I was suprised they opened those roads to cars too. But one of the tiny roads is the only way into the sencond multistorey carpark.

I would have left those roads as motorbike parking all the way along, and closed all but one to traffic, and put a crossing with lights on the one that is open to traffic.

It surprised me that the small, largely pointless roads running between Bunda Street and Ballumbir Street underneath the new area of the Canberra Centre were opened to automotive traffic.

My thoughts are:

1) Canberra drivers as a rule don’t ‘get’ shared zones.

2) Dropping the traffic speed to 10km/h may actually increase traffic congestion, leading to more cars traveling in ‘convoys’ with less breaks in traffic for pedestrians to cross the road.

3) Crossing the road won’t be any safer. (See 1).

Meconium 1:00 pm 01 Mar 08

Cobblestone streets would be amazing but prohibitively expensive.

Good ideas and good thread, but nobody on RiotACT ever has anything constructive to say on matters like these. Better hijack the thread or it will die quickly.

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