Proposed bicycle parking

20140228 bicycle pavilion

Our proposal for Streets Without Cars includes generous bicycle parking to accommodate the estimated 2.6 bicycles currently stored inside each Drummond Street household. As previously touched upon, we have based our design on the successful Parkiteer bicycle parking model installed around 69 Melbourne metropolitan train stations.[1] Our version shares the following Parkiteer qualities:

  • Roofed to provide shelter from rain, wind and sun
  • Walled with transparent open screens for increased street surveillance and safety
  • Fitted with secure bike racks to enable locking of bikes

There are two characteristics of the Parkiteer model that we have changed, however these are dependent on the way you think you are most likely to use the storage facilities. We welcome your comments, and will happily alter our design to suit. The differing characteristics are:

  • Our parking pavilions do not require paid membership. They can be accessed by anyone at any time
  • They are also doorless, eliminating the need for swipe access membership cards

Essentially, our question is this: would you prefer an open bicycle parking facility that permits free entry and no membership, or a secured bicycle parking facility that requires swipe card access and an annual membership? In either scenario, the pavilions will have bike racks to which bicycles can be secured.

20140228 bicycle plan

Streets Without Cars incorporates 96 secure bicycle parking spots, divided across three pavilions at either end of the site. These are accessed via a continuously paved section of the street that permits both north and south bound bicycle movement. Car movement is limited to northbound traffic only.


Footnotes:

[1] Parkiteer is an initiative of the Bicycle Network Victoria.

Image sources:

  1. Bicycle pavilion. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. Bicycle plan. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
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Site plan

Following on from the zoning strategy we established in response to your ideas for Streets Without Cars, we have now designed a more detailed layout for Drummond Street. It is structured around two key organising principles, one that governs the arrangement of the street west to east, and the other north to south.

The street is organised into five ribbons running along its length. From west to east, these are:

  1. A narrow pedestrian ribbon for access to the odd-numbered houses along the west edge of Drummond Street.
  2. A narrow vegetable patch ribbon accessed from either side.
  3. A combined pedestrian / bicycle / car ribbon, carrying northbound car traffic and north / southbound bicycle traffic.
  4. A wide pedestrian / bicycle ribbon containing the majority of the proposed “rooms” in our design.
  5. A narrow pedestrian ribbon for access to the even-numbered houses along the east edge of Drummond Street.

20140223 site plan ribbons

The street is also organised into twelve bands across its width, variations between which are contained within the second rooms ribbon described above. As Drummond Street has a slight gradient, rising around 2m from Curtain Street to Fenwick Street, the bands are stepped into a series of gentle terraces. Towards the edges of the street, these terraces revert back to ramped surfaces to accommodate bicycle and car traffic. From north to south, the twelve bands are:

  1. Front door
  2. Bicycle storage
  3. Orchard
  4. Playroom
  5. Sandpit
  6. Meals area
  7. Pond
  8. Living room
  9. Pond
  10. Kitchen
  11. Retreat
  12. Front door

20140223 site plan bands

Note that we are proposing two front doors: this is not a mistake, both the Curtain and Fenwick ends of our project have been designed to welcome!

When we overlap the two organisational maps, we arrive at the below site plan. It aims to establish slow but free-flowing traffic alongside a diverse array of street activities. Drummond Street should belong to pedestrians, not cars, so the street activities are our highest priority. By inviting cars into the street at very low speeds (below 20km/hr), we enhance the sense of security for pedestrians, while forgoing none of the convenience of car transport.

We have preserved the generosity of the existing median strip by incorporating lawn areas only lightly designed: we envisage these will be flexible, multi-functional rooms whose potential uses go well beyond anything we can imagine today. We have located them alongside more deliberately designed rooms (like the meals area and retreat) with the intention that they enhance one another through mutual occupation. We have kept the existing mature trees dotting the length of the street, planted a fruit orchard, a number of substantial garden beds, and established a 120m long vegetable patch running the entire length of the site.

A legend for the colour coding in the site plan can be read by clicking on the image and zooming into each section. Broadly, the paler green sections are lawn areas and darker green sections garden beds. The grey areas are paved, pale blue areas ponds and yellow areas filled with various built activities, including a sandpit, meals area and kiosk. The translucent grey areas running through the centre of the street are roof canopies.

20140223 site plan


Image sources:

  1. North-south ribbons. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. West-east bands. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  3. Site plan. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.

Sneak preview

Work on Streets Without Cars is proceeding quickly. We have a lot of the site planning locked down and are starting to create visualisations of the new street. We want to know what it will look like and how it will feel. We’re asking questions like: how many trees will there be? How much light will filter through their canopies? What other planting opportunities are there? How much space do we have for activities? Here is a sneak preview of two of our more developed rooms with some of these questions answered.

20140220 living room

The living room is all about socialising, playing and cooling off in the heat of summer. It is a generous plaza that connects with the heart of our design, the meals area, which comprises a barbecue, seating areas and shade. The ground is sloped across one terraced platform so it catches rainwater, creating a natural pond (to be augmented by water collected off the roof during dryer months), perfect for a splash or feet dangle. The roof of the meals area is broken into sections and lifted to a 35 degree slope, ideal for mounting a solar panel array.

20140220 erica's garden

Erica’s garden and the hidden retreat above are tucked around the corner behind the kiosk. The garden’s lawn areas are wrapped around plush garden beds filled with perennial flowers. They are the ideal spot for a quiet picnic or lazy Sunday afternoon read. Over the bicycle storage area, the retreat provides room for calm contemplation and views south down Drummond Street towards the city.


Image sources:

  1. Living room. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. Erica’s garden. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.

Crash on Drummond Street

20140218 car crash

In case you missed it, there was a crash on the corner of Drummond and Newry streets two weeks ago. We weren’t home at the time, but one of our neighbours, Ben, passed on the photo and explanation.

It appears a taxi travelling north up Drummond missed the stop signs at Newry and pole-axed the silver car. To be clear, we’re talking about the upside down silver car in the photo. The taxi driver was unhurt, but the other driver was attended to by the firemen. We’re not sure how she fared, we hope she’s okay.

Good evidence perhaps for naked street principles?


Image source:

  1. Crash on Drummond. Copyright Ben Bowering.

Street layout

Based on your ideas for Streets Without Cars, we’ve arrived at the following key programme zones. We have deliberately related the zoning terminology to the rooms of a house, rather than the areas of a park, as we see Drummond Street first and foremost as an extension of its residents’ homes. It is also an extension of the idea of the living street, touched on previously here, where the street is designed for pedestrian use first and car / bicycle traffic second.

  • Front doors
  • Living
  • Meals
  • Retreat
  • Playroom
  • Sandpit
  • Orchard
  • Vegetable patch
  • Corridor
  • Storage

We have distributed these “rooms” across the site according to questions of access, relationships to existing trees, positions of side streets, and relationships between one another. For instance:

  • The meals area is at the heart of the street, central to all other activities that revolve around it.
  • The living room and playroom are located either side of this heart so they combine to form one continuous living zone.
  • The retreat is nestled between the mature trees at the south end of the site.
  • The corridor, which takes bicycle and car traffic, is located to the west edge of the site, where it connects with northbound lanes at either end.
  • Storage for bicycles is located at the ends of the street, adjacent to the front doors, to make access as easy as possible.
  • The vegetable patch is stretched out across the full length of the site so it is directly accessible by all residents.

20140210 bubble diagram

What do you think of this layout? Does it make sense? Have we missed an exciting opportunity for a relationship between rooms? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Image source:

  1. Bubble diagram. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.

Carparking layout options

Drummond Street currently measures 28m in width, 15m of which is dedicated to two car lanes, bicycle lanes and car parking. If we change this to a single lane of northbound car traffic, we can significantly increase the amount of green activity space along Drummond Street (from the current 7.5m width to at least 14m). To preserve the parking spaces currently running parallel to the southbound (east) lane, we have looked at three alternatives that involve increasing parking along the west edge of Drummond Street.

Depending on the size of parked cars and how closely they are parked together, there are currently between 32 and 34 car parking spaces.

20140205 car parking 90deg

90 degree parking: This option provides 32 parking spaces and requires 10.5m of street width (1,110sqm) to accommodate both the parking spaces and carriageway to allow cars to turn into them. It leaves 13.5m of green space.

20140205 car parking 45deg

30 degree parking: This option provides 29 parking spaces and requires 9.1m of street width (1,000sqm) to accommodate both the parking spaces and carriageway to allow cars to turn into them. It leaves 14.9m of green space.

20140205 car parking 45deg

45 degree parking: This option provides 26 parking spaces and requires 8.5m of street width (920sqm) to accommodate both the parking spaces and carriageway to allow cars to turn into them. It leaves 15.5m of green space.

Note that the areas of dark green between the parking spaces and sidewalk are raised vegetable boxes intended for community gardening. The large areas of light green are the parkland area left over after parking and carriageway are taken out.

In addition to traditional car parking spaces, we are exploring ways to provide additional carshare parking, with the possibility of upgrading these to electric car charging stations in the future. We are also looking at shared bicycle storage facilities to further encourage your already substantial bicycle usage.

It is important to consider the trade-offs inherent in the above comparison. On the one hand, we want to provide sufficient car parking for residents, but on the other, we want to address the future needs of our city and not just the present. While perpendicular parking nets the greatest number of parking spaces, it also takes up the most amount of street. 45 degree parking nets 6 fewer parking spaces, but returns 190sqm of street to other uses. Given current trends towards ownership of fewer and smaller cars, and increased patronage of alternative transport methods, will Drummond Street need as many car parking spaces in 5, 10 or 20 years as it does now?

Would you be prepared to sacrifice a few parking spaces for more parkland, vegetable gardens or shared lawn area?


Image sources:

  1. 90 degree parking. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. 30 degree parking. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  3. 45 degree parking. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.

First sketches

We’re excited to announce that we’ve started work on the design of Streets Without Cars. Our ideas are evolving very rapidly as we explore different aspects of the project, from traffic management and programme arrangement, to building form and planting design. Below are a few of our first sketches, together with discussion points for consideration.

20140202 traffic management

Our traffic research revealed a very high frequency of non-local traffic moving south along Drummond Street during the morning peak period (1 car every 10 seconds). Car traffic at other times is much less frequent (1 car every 75 seconds). We are interested in the idea of removing the southbound car lane to prevent Drummond Street being used as a shortcut for the morning commute. By paving or planting over the defunct lane, we would also then be able to convert it into a generous public space.

20140202 road surface

The principles of living and naked streets involve muddying the distinction between car and pedestrian spaces. To encourage cars to move more slowly through Streets Without Cars, we think the asphalt road surface has to go. We are considering replacing it with Bluestone paving. This will transform the feel of Drummond Street from a road to a plaza. The Bluestone material also links our intervention to Melbourne heritage generally, and local laneways specifically.

20140202 bicycle parking

Interviews with our neighbours revealed two pieces of information that tell an interesting story: 1) You collectively own a lot of bikes, on average 2.6 per household, and 2) You have nowhere to store them, so they live in your corridors and bedrooms. What if we build a secure and weather-protected bicycle storage facility out on the street? Parkiteer bike cages at Melbourne Metro stations are already doing this, why can’t we?[1]

20140202 roof canopy

Interviews also revealed you are most interested in using the street during summer months and warmer days. But what if we build a roof to provide shelter from the rain? We could slot in barbecues and bench seats underneath, and cut the roof out around the existing mature trees. The roof canopy would provide attractive spaces for wet days, as well as shelter from the increasingly hot summer sun.


Footnotes:

[1] Parkiteer is an initiative of the Bicycle Network Victoria. Running since October 2008, there are now 69 cages at Metro train stations around Melbourne. Usage statistics reveal growing patronage of the Parkiteer network and an increasing trend to plan them into new stations.

Image sources:

  1. Traffic management. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. Road surface. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  3. Bicycle parking. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  4. Roof canopy. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.