Johnston Street traffic conclusions

The traffic surveys of Johnston Street identified a number of patterns in the frequency, usage and movement of cars, bicycles and pedestrians through the street between Hoddle and Gold Streets. The overall observation of the study area shows that Johnston Street functions as a busy arterial road, carrying significant volumes of traffic, especially cars.

20140929 johnston traffic conclusions #1

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  • 16,240 cars use Johnston Street per day. The frequency of cars along the street is one car journey every 7 seconds, travelling at an average speed of 38km/h during peak times and 44km/h during off-peak times.
  • 1,232 bicycles use the street per day. The frequency of bicycles is one bicycle journey every 62 seconds, travelling at an average speed of 27km/h during peak times and 29km/h during off-peak times.
  • 2,952 pedestrians use the street per day. The frequency of pedestrians is one pedestrian journey every 26 seconds, travelling at an average speed of 9km/h. The average speed of pedestrians remains fairly consistent between peak and off-peak periods.
20140929 johnston traffic conclusions #3
Average speed and time during peak hours
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Average speed and time during off-peak hours
  • On average, cars spend 32 seconds travelling between Hoddle Street and Gold Street during peak periods and 27 seconds during off-peak periods.
  • During the morning peak, cars travelling west towards the city take 32 seconds to move through the street; while cars travelling in the opposite direction take 27 seconds. This pattern is inverted during the evening peak.

20140929 johnston traffic conclusions #5

  • On average, bicycles spend 45 seconds travelling between Hoddle Street and Gold Street during peak periods and 42 seconds during off-peak periods.
  • On average, pedestrians spend 134 seconds travelling between Hoddle Street and Gold Street during both peak and off-peak periods.

20140929 johnston traffic conclusions #6

The overall observation reveals a substantial difference between peak and off-peak periods.

  • In off-peak periods, the frequency of cars along Johnston Street is one car journey every 10 seconds. In peak periods, the frequency is one car journey every 4 seconds.
  • In off-peak periods, the frequency of bicycles along Johnston Street is bicycle journey every 86 seconds. In peak periods, the frequency is one bicycle journey every 37 seconds.
  • In off-peak periods, the frequency of pedestrians along Johnston Street is one pedestrian journey every 36 seconds. In peak periods, the frequency is one pedestrian journey every 19 seconds.

20140929 johnston traffic conclusions #7

The observations also looked at the number of journeys that arrive into and depart from the subject area. This showed that only a small percentage of cars, bicycles and pedestrian journeys start or finish within the subject area and that most of the traffic along Johnston Street is made up of those that are passing through.

  • 5% of car journeys are arrivals and departures. In peak periods, 40 cars arrive or depart per hour. In off-peak periods, 33 cars arrive of depart per hour. A total of 818 cars arrive into or depart from the subject area per day.
  • 7% of bicycle journeys are arrivals and departures. In peak periods, 11 bicycles arrive or depart per hour. In off-peak periods, 12 bicycles arrive or depart per hour. A total of 284 bicycles arrive into or depart from the subject area per day.
  • 16% of pedestrian journeys are arrivals and departures. In peak periods, 17 pedestrians arrive or depart per hour. In off-peak periods, 23 pedestrians arrive or depart per hour. A total of 460 pedestrians arrive into or depart from the subject area per day.

A summary of conclusions that have come from the traffic surveys are:

  • Johnston Street is a traffic thoroughfare, with a high percentages of traffic (cars, bicycles, pedestrians) passing through as opposed to arriving or departing.
  • The high volume and frequency of cars along the street means that Johnston Street is primarily occupied by vehicle movement.
  • Johnston Street is not as well used by pedestrians and bicycles.
  • The direction and volume of journeys along the street changes over the period of the day. Weekday morning peak periods carry large volumes of traffic towards the city and destinations further along Johnston Street such as Smith Street and Nicholson Street. Weekday evening peak periods carry large volumes of traffic towards Hoddle Street, the Eastern Freeway and Victoria Park Station (especially for pedestrians). Weekday afternoons, weekday nights and weekend afternoons carry higher volumes of pedestrian journeys towards the city and destinations further along Johnston Street such as Smith Street, Brunswick Street and Nicholson Street.
  • Peak periods, as opposed to off-peak periods, yield higher usage of the street by cars, bicycles and pedestrians.

Image sources

  1. Average frequency of journeys, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Peak and off-peak journeys.
  3. Speed and time during peak hours.
  4. Speed and time during off-peak hours.
  5. Average journey times east and west.
  6. Peak and off-peak frequencies.
  7. Arrivals and departures.
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Johnston Street traffic analysis

The following traffic data for Johnston Street was collected over 6x 1 hour observations, undertaken during a two period in August and September. The observations were made during the following periods:

  • Weekday morning peak
  • Weekday afternoon
  • Weekday evening peak
  • Weekday evening
  • Weekend afternoon
  • Weekend evening

As part of the each session, the following observations were collected:

  • Number of cars, bikes and pedestrians (including pedestrians accompanied by prams or dogs) moving through the street.
  • Direction of travel.
  • Number of arrivals into and departures from properties on the street.
  • Average time taken to travel between Hoddle and Gold Streets (and vice versa).

The following graph collates the data collected:

20140929 johnston traffic #1


Image source

  1. Johnston Street traffic data, copyright of author.

Johnston Street street analysis

20140929 johnston street #1

The study area for my Streets Without Cars design project is the section of Johnston Street in Collingwood bounded by Gold Street to the west and Hoddle Street to the east. A number of streets and laneways such as Campbell Street, Palmer Street, Harmsworth Street, Francis Street and Sydney Street enter Johnston Street from the south.

The street comprises a medium density property layout, with a mixture of one to two storey shops, offices, workshops and residences. Johnston Street is approximately 21m wide, with 14m dedicated to east-west bound vehicle movement, shared bus / bicycle lanes and parallel parking. The footpaths on either side of the street are 3m wide with immature tree plantings.

Building types / land use

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Movement and transport

Car movement

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Bus movement

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Bicycle movement

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Pedestrian movement

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Public / private open space and vegetation

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Image sources

  1. Building footprints, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Building types and uses.
  3. Building types and uses – legend.
  4. Land uses.
  5. Car movement.
  6. Bus movement.
  7. Bicycle movement.
  8. Pedestrian movement.
  9. Transport types – legend.
  10. Open space and trees.
  11. Open space and trees – legend.
  12. Street section.

Johnston Street

20140911 johnston street #1

Johnston Street is one of Melbourne’s historic streets, established as early as 1857. It functioned as an early civic and commercial centre for Collingwood.[1] The early depiction of Johnston Street is that of a pedestrian-prioritised and human-scale street: wide footpaths, active street edges and ground-level frontages, a mixture of building types, fine grained architecture, canopies over pedestrian routes and a tram service as the main mode of transport. The tram route was inaugurated in 1887 and ran until 1939.

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This is not the condition of Johnston Street today.

For Streets Without Cars, I have chosen Johnston Street in order to tackle the negative transformation that it has undergone due to the demand of cars. As cars came to dominate the street-scape, Johnston Street has developed into a busy east-west arterial road that feeds significant volumes of vehicle traffic between the eastern suburbs and the CBD.[2] As a result, the image of Johnston Street as it appears today is far from its early beginnings: narrow footpaths, poor connections, inactive street frontages, heavy traffic environment, lack of shade/shelter over pedestrian routes, gated windows/doors, lack of trees, lack of amenities for pedestrians and cyclists (e.g. benches), numerous under-used/derelict or vacant buildings and struggling activation of the street. The current main function of Johnston Street appears to be that of a thoroughfare.

20140911 johnston street #3

Johnston Street also has immense potential: street edges lined with remnants of historic facades, eclectic building uses, a diverse local community, a rich culture of street art, numerous furniture and crafts-based small businesses, and a large residential community on and adjacent to the street.

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The study area that I have chosen to focus on as part of the Streets Without Cars studio is the section of Johnston Street between Hoddle Street and Gold Street in Collingwood. I feel it represents the best of both the negative and positive characteristics of Johnston Street, and has the potential to offer more to pedestrians and cyclists, and less to cars.


Footnotes

  1. Draft Johnston Street Local Area Plan; City of Yarra; 2012
  2. Ibid.

Image Sources

  1. Johnston Street, Collingwood, copyright of author.
  2. Johnston Street circa 1906, sourced from the State Library of Victoria.
  3. Negative qualities of Johnston Street, copyright of author.
  4. Positive qualities of Johnston Street, copyright of author.

Langridge Ward analysis

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Langridge ward is one of three wards within the City of Yarra and includes the suburbs of: Collingwood, Abbotsford, Clifton Hill, Alphington and part of East Melbourne. The suburbs and character of the ward vary from north to south, with greater parkland and less urban density towards the north and higher urban density and less parkland towards the south, closer to the CBD. The general overview of the urban analysis is:

  • Building types: the land uses in the area are generally mixed and diverse, but residential is the dominant building type throughout the ward. As you move north towards Alphington and Clifton Hill the grain of housing becomes less dense and parkland increases.
  • Road types: pattern of fine grain residential streets are dispersed throughout the ward but the density of road networks becomes greater as you move south towards the city. In addition, Hoddle Street is a main arterial that connects the entire ward from north to south.
  • Transport: pattern of transport shows that as you move closer towards city, the suburbs are supported by better public transport routes, while northern suburbs Alphington and Clifton Hill have fewer public transport links and greater arterial roads.
  • Open space: further north, suburbs such as Alphington and Clifton Hill have more open and green space. Most of the green space is concentrated around the Merri Creek and Yarra River.

A street survey was carried out, including all the streets within the Langridge ward. The ward was further divided up into smaller areas and the study area reviewed by me includes parts of Collingwood and Abbotsford bounded by Hoddle Street to the west, the Eastern Freeway to the north, Yarra River to the east and Gipps Street to the south. The street survey which includes the thirty seven streets reviewed by me can be downloaded here, it also includes the urban analysis of Langridge Ward.

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The overall summary and conclusions of the street survey are:

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After conducting the street survey and reviewing all the streets, the street that I have chosen for the Streets Without Cars studio is Johnston Street.

johnson street survey


Image sources

  1. Langridge Ward plan, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Langridge Ward survey area.
  3. Summary of street types.
  4. Summary of edge building types.
  5. Summary of car parking.
  6. Summary of footpaths and lanes.
  7. Summary of bike lanes.
  8. Summary of trees.
  9. Overall summary.
  10. Street survey of selected street.

Living and naked streets

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Historically, streets within Western city centres were naturally shared spaces. It was only in the 1950s, when private vehicles began to dominate the street, that different road users became segregated into distinctive zones with pedestrians sidelined to narrow, restricted footpaths.[1]

20140827 naked streets #2

Part of the agenda behind the Streets Without Cars studio is to re-imagine the streetscape as a pedestrian-focused space, and explore the possibilities for alternative street development once the car is given less significance within the street hierarchy.

20140827 naked streets #3

The living street and naked street models are examples of alternative street development aimed at developing streets as public shared spaces which are safer, more social and pedestrian-focused.

20140827 naked streets #4

Living streets

The living street or woonerf model began as a movement in the late 1960s in Delft, The Netherlands, as a reaction to the dominance of cars impacting the traditional streetscape of the city. It was pioneered by Dutch engineer, Joost Vahl, and sanctioned in 1976 by the Dutch government as a new residential street model.[2] The main agenda behind living streets is creating streets as shared social spaces that facilitate a variety of uses, not primarily as a vehicular thoroughfare, but as a residential garden to be equally used by pedestrians, cyclists and cars.

The key principles of living streets are:

20140827 naked streets #5

The main operational and design features of living streets are:

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Naked streets

The naked street model was advocated in the 1970s by Dutch traffic engineer, Hans Monderman, appointed by the Dutch government to resolve the escalating traffic accidents within the town of Friesland, Netherlands.[3] The main agenda behind Monderman’s theory was to create safer, shared streets through the deliberate removal of conventional street paraphernalia such as traffic lights, curbs, road markings etc. This strategy creates a higher level of perceived risk of accident, and corresponding increase in risk-mitigation behaviour. It works to “exploit the natural skills of humans to negotiate movement, resolve conflict and engage not only with each other but with their context.”[4]

The key principles of naked streets are:

20140827 naked streets #7

The main operational and design features of naked streets are:

20140827 naked streets #8

The case study of Exhibition Road, London, is an example of how the living street and naked street models have been more recently applied to transform a previously vehicle dominated, cluttered street environment into a shared, safe and socially conducive street environment. The re-development was completed in 2012 by Dixon Jones and involved the removal of all street signage, a reduction in traffic speed to 20km/h, street art and furniture and continuous textured surface treatment.[5] Reviews of the changes after completion showed that:

  • Traffic volumes were expected to reduce.[6]
  • Increased pedestrian activity in the area.
  • Safer street environments.
  • Attractive public space.

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This case study demonstrates how shared street models, such as living and naked streets, provide an outcome that can be beneficial to both pedestrians and vehicles. Both provide good examples for the Streets Without Cars studio, demonstrating the possibilities of creating better street environments where traffic movement and pedestrians can coexist.


Footnotes

  1. Introduction to the woonerf; Woonerfgoed; Delft.
  2. Bruce Appleyard and Lindsay Cox; At Home in the ZonePlanning; volume 72, number 9; 2006; p. 31.
  3. Hans Monderman interview with Sarah Lyall; The New York Times; 2005.
  4. Naked Streets; Re: Streets.
  5. Exhibition Road London redevelopment; E-Architect; 2014.
  6. Exhibition Road Phase 4 report; Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; 2014.

Image Sources

  1. Morice Town Home Zone, copyright the The Neighbourhoods Blog.
  2. Car use figures in Australia, author’s own image.
  3. The argument for pedestrian-prioritised streets, author’s own image.
  4. Living and naked streets models, author’s own image.
  5. Living streets principles, author’s own image.
  6. Living streets operational and design features, author’s own image.
  7. Naked streets principles, author’s own image.
  8. Naked streets operational and design features, author’s own image.
  9. Exhibition Road, London, before redevelopment, copyright Olivia Woodhouse.
  10. Exhibition Road, London, after redevelopment, copyright The Daily Mail.