North and Clark Streets project brief

Following on from my previous post summarising interviews I conducted along North and Clark Streets, this post looks at your ideas and thoughts for the future potential of the street. I asked you about:

  • Your ideas for new uses of the streets.
  • How the facilities could help you and your business.
  • Times of the day, week and year that you would use them.
  • Your preference for communal or private space.
  • If you are prepared to assist in funding potential upgrades.

Here is what I was told:

20141007 north and clark brief #1

20141007 north and clark brief #2

20141007 north and clark brief #3

20141007 north and clark brief #4

Based on this input:

  • Over 60% of you would like to enhance recreational uses for the street by making it greener, with trees and park-like amenities. This could relate to the lack of private outdoor space within properties in commercial areas.
  • 45% of you want a better car parking system. You tend to be more interested in a better organised parking system that suits commercial uses rather than simply increasing the number of spaces.
  • Around 80% of you who think parking is an issue would be prepared to pay for a better designed parking system.
  • Almost all companies that have regular deliveries need better space for truck manoeuvring on the street.
  • 25% of you identify networking with local businesses in the area as a potential improvement for the future street design.
  • 33% of you see some sort of commercial potential in a newly designed street.
  • Your suggestions for usage times are mainly (70%) during business hours, although you also nominate some interesting other times of potential use, such as monthly gatherings or even biannual festival-like events.
  • 59% of you would be prepared to contribute financially to a successful scheme. All of you who said yes to this would accept an increase in rates. About 20% said of you would contribute capital funding if the project has some commercial benefit.
  • 50% of you would be happy to help maintain the future street if you are happy with it. That said, most of those (67%) who are happy to help would only do so if local council takes responsibility for tasks greater than cleaning up rubbish occasionally.

Image sources

  1. Desired street use, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Times of potential use.
  3. Communal vs private.
  4. Maintenance and payment.
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North and Clark Streets community

I have conducted recent interviews with businesses on North and Clark Streets, Richmond, in order to better understand the context of my Streets Without Cars project. The interviews were split into two parts: one was about you, and your current experience of the street; the second was about what you want your future street to be.

The first half of the interview addressed:

  • Types of businesses and age of workers.
  • How you get to work, and company hours.
  • Size of business, if you rent and how long you have been there.
  • Company owned cars / bicycles.

Here is what I discovered:

20141003 north and clark community #1

20141003 north and clark community #2

20141003 north and clark community #3

Based on these findings, I came up with the following conclusions:

  • There is a wide range and even spread of different commercial enterprises on the street.
  • Majority of workers use cars to, from and during work.
  • Although very few businesses own their property, the average occupancy is lengthy: 8.2 years.
  • Street use during weekends is split evenly between daylight and night time hours.
  • Although a majority of businesses are open during the day, there is notable activity at night.
  • About 60% of businesses have company owned cars.

It was also important to get data on how the street is used in its current state. Given the commercial nature of the street, the answer was almost exclusively for parking, dispatch and deliveries.

I also investigated:

  • Volume of dispatch / deliveries per week.
  • If you require on street car parking.

20141003 north and clark community #4

Based on this, I came up with the following conclusions:

  • Over 50% of businesses use the street as their parking area.
  • There are many dispatches / deliveries per week, including 24 that involve a truck.

Image sources

  1. Business type, ownership, travel, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Operating hours.
  3. Other statistics.
  4. Street use.

North and Clark Streets traffic conclusions

My recent survey of car, bicycle and pedestrian traffic on North and Clark Streets in Richmond identified three major patterns of use.

20140924 north and clark conclusions #1

First, a large majority of the traffic is made up of car usage. The streets are least used by bicycle traffic.

  • 2,204 cars use the street each day. On average that is one journey every 39 seconds (196 trucks or vans use the street each day. On average that is one journey every 440 seconds).
  • 312 bikes use the street each day. On average that is one journey every 276 seconds.
  • 764 pedestrians use the street each day. On average that is one journey every 112 seconds.

In addition, it is interesting to see the disproportionate number of pedestrians, when compared to cars and bicycles, who either arrived at or departed from North and Clark Streets as part of their journey.

  • 9% of cars either arrive at or depart from the streets.
  • 1% of bicycles either arrive at or depart from the streets.
  • 51% of pedestrians either arrive at or depart from the streets.

20140924 north and clark conclusions #2

Second, there is a dramatic difference in traffic when comparing peak, daytime and night time periods. What we can also see very clearly is a strong pattern of cars travelling east-west along North Street during peak periods and during the day. This could be due to cars rat-running to avoid traffic along Bridge Road and Burnley Street.

  • 52% of the car traffic during peak times is heading east-west.
  • 30% of the car traffic during the daytime is heading east-west.
  • Car traffic drops to 23% at night compared to peak times.
  • There is consistent pedestrian traffic during different times of the day.
  • There is consistent bike traffic during different times of the day.

20140924 north and clark conclusions #3

Third, the street is predominantly used as an area of commercial exchange by pedestrians at night. This is primarily due to the high pedestrian traffic to and from the Roysten Pub and Mountain Goat Brewery, which turns into a bar and function room some nights.

  • Almost 75% of commercial traffic comes from pedestrians.
  • 68% of commercial traffic comes from pedestrians at night.
  • It is worth noting that there are little to no commercial activities on the weekends during the day.

In summary, my research and analysis concludes that:

  • A large majority of traffic is in cars.
  • North and Clark Streets are hardly used by bicycles.
  • Car traffic drops dramatically at night.
  • Most car traffic travels east-west.
  • Pedestrians are most likely to arrive at and depart from the street.
  • Pedestrians account for almost 75% of the commercial use on the street.

Image sources

  1. Overall traffic, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Amount and direction of traffic.
  3. Commercial street usage.

 

North and Clark Streets traffic analysis

The following images show data that has been collected during 6 x 1 hour observation sessions taken at the eastern section of North and Clark Streets, Richmond. During these sessions the number of cars, bikes and pedestrians were counted and their direction was noted. The average time taken to travel along the street section was also measured, as well as the number of arrivals and departures to and from the street. Given the commercial nature of the street, traffic that used the street for economic purposes e.g. deliveries, was counted. These observations were conducted over two weeks in August.

20140924 north and clark traffic #1

Weekday daytime
Wednesday 19th August
2:00 – 3:00pm
Overcast, 14 degrees
161 total journeys

20140924 north and clark traffic #2

Weekend daytime
Sunday 27th August
2:00 – 3:00pm
Overcast, 13 degrees
108 total journeys

20140924 north and clark traffic #3

Weekday morning peak
Friday 22nd August
7:45 – 8:45am
Sunny, 11 degrees
188 total journeys

20140924 north and clark traffic #4

Weekday afternoon peak
Wednesday 19th August
4:30 – 5:30pm
Overcast, 12 degrees
204 total journeys

20140924 north and clark traffic #5

Weekday night
Wednesday 20th August
10:00 – 11:00pm
Clear, 8 degrees
79 total journeys

20140924 north and clark traffic #6

Weekend night
Saturday 23rd August
9:00 – 10:00pm
Clear, 9 degrees
72 total journeys


Image sources

  1. Weekday daytime, this and subsequent images copyright of author.
  2. Weekend daytime.
  3. Weekday morning peak.
  4. Weekday evening peak.
  5. Weekday night time.
  6. Weekend night time.

North and Clark Streets

My street analysis helped me consider which street would be most interesting to develop. I am drawn to the streets that have more commercial properties around them, and fascinated to see how Streets Without Cars could work in this context.  Additionally, how residential areas surrounding a commercial node could make use of it will be worth exploring.

Clark Street and the eastern end of North Street is an area that exhibits a wide range of building uses.

20140909 north and clark #1

20140909 north and clark #2

20140909 north and clark #3

A bar, food manufacturing warehouses, coffee roaster, car repair and studio spaces populate these two streets. How might Streets Without Cars respond to this context and how can a project engage with such a wide variety of uses? Given the commercial context, the space of the street could be considered the place of commercial exchange: delivery, production, wholesale, retail and consumption.

20140909 north and clark #4

The streets are primarily asphalt (North Street = 9m, Clark Street 8m), with narrow foot paths (1.2m) either side. There is some planting along the nearby River Street running alongside new residential developments.

20140909 north and clark #5


Image sources

  1. Street location, sourced from Google Maps.
  2. North Street analysis, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  3. Clark Street analysis.
  4. North Street experience.
  5.  Site Plan.

Melba Ward analysis

In order to better understand the context in which we were designing Streets Without Cars, the studio collectively documented every street in the City of Yarra. Each student was given an area to map and document in order to learn as much as they can about the nature of the streets in the area. Once this research was complete, each student was to pick a street from this area to be a street without cars.

The map below shows the City of Yarra in the context of Melbourne.

20140909 melba ward S4 #1

Students divided into groups that would each tackle a district within the City of Yarra. My group was given the Melba Ward which is identified on the map below.

20140909 melba ward S4 #2

The group then divided their districts further into pieces that would be explored by individuals. My area, show on the map below, runs up the northeast side of Melba. It includes a large part of Richmond and a little slice of Burnley.

20140909 melba ward S4 #3

The first task was to map the parks, trees, property types, transport routes and road types in this area.

20140909 melba ward S4 #4

20140909 melba ward S4 #5

20140909 melba ward S4 #6

20140909 melba ward S4 #7

From this study we can see that there are a variety of parks that dominate the western side of the site. This means that many of the houses in my area are within walking distance to nice, usable park lands. This suggests that a Streets Without Cars project in this district is not required to fulfil functions the existing local parks already provide.

Around 70% of the property in the area is for residential use. However, what is interesting is the commercial activity in the northern areas, and how they are mixed in with residential properties. Perhaps a Streets Without Cars intervention in this area could capitalise on this mixed use zoning.

The primary transport use in this area is via car. What little public transport is available is only on main roads. However, given the shape of the area, this means that most places are within walking distance of public transport.

The next task was to document the streets in this area in finer detail. The streets were analysed by drawing 1:200 sections and noting information about each street, like the extent of parking, trees and bike lanes.

Analysis of every street from my area of the Melba Ward in .pdf format (16Mb) can be accessed here.

The detailed street analysis showed that:

  • The average street width is 9.7m.
  • The average asphalt width is 6.7m.
  • All streets (excluding alleyways) have footpaths.
  • 60% of streets have parking.
  • If a street has parking, there is an 80% chance it is parallel parking.
  • Only 3% of streets have dedicated bike lanes.
  • 40% of the streets have trees.
  • Around 75% of trees are mature. The remaining 25% are young trees.

Image sources

  1. City of Yarra location, this and subsequent images copyright the author.
  2. Melba location.
  3. Study area.
  4. Parks and trees.
  5. Property types.
  6. Transport types.
  7. Road types.

Government support of community projects

Given the pragmatic and realistic nature of the Design Thesis Studio Streets without Cars, it made sense to look at the ways in which the government could support these kinds of projects financially. An interview with Richard Young, manager of infrastructure and special projects at the City of Yarra, revealed the most realistic way in which a project like this could get funding, and the kinds of projects that the City of Yarra are looking to fund in the future.[1]

20140814 government support #1

The Local Area Traffic Management (LATM) studies undertaken by the City of Yarra aim to “improve traffic conditions and road safety on local streets.”[2] Council contributes financial support each year to projects that fulfil the LATM criteria, a possible source of revenue for a project like Streets Without Cars.

20140814 government support #2

The LATM studies work like this:

20140814 government support #3

20140814 government support #4

20140814 government support #5

20140814 government support #6

20140814 government support #7

It is interesting to look at the criteria the council use to assess and rank the importance of various LATM studies. Streets with the following kinds of issues are put at a higher priority than others.

  • Casualty crashes – any reported fatalities, serious injuries and other injuries in the last five years.
  • Traffic speed – any local street with an 85th percentile speed greater than 44km/h.
  • Traffic volume – any local street with an average weekday traffic volume greater than 1,000 vehicles.
  • Through traffic – any local street with a peak hour to 24 hour volume ratio in excess of 14%.
  • Heavy vehicles – any local street with a proportion of commercial vehicles to all traffic in excess of 5%.
  • Activity land use generators (e.g. hospitals and schools) – considered in terms of likely pedestrian and bicycle generation, especially by vulnerable road users.
  • Resident complaints – expressed by the number of received letters, petitions and notes to file from Council officers.

Once an area has been carefully studied and the community has been consulted, the LATM study will suggest different kinds of road works to solve the most pressing issues. Before any work is done, the community are consulted further to assess their reception to proposed solutions. Typical built responses include:

20140814 government support #8

20140814 government support #9

Young commented that the City of Yarra are interested in the ideas explored by Streets without Cars. He also noted that the Poynton Regenerated project, a project in Cheshire, England, which involved the redesign of a troublesome intersection, embodies the kinds of approaches being discussed within Council for the future of local urban design. This case study project demonstrates how streets that prioritise pedestrians can work for everyone, including a better outcome for vehicle traffic.


Footnotes

  1. Interview with Richard Young, manager of Infrastructure and Special Projects; City of Yarra; August 2014.
  2. Local Area Traffic Management Policy; City of Yarra; May 2014.

Image sources

  1. Interview with Richard Young, copyright the author.
  2. Local Area Traffic Management, copyright the author.
  3. LATM funding process #1, copyright the author.
  4. LATM funding process #2, copyright the author.
  5. LATM funding process #3, copyright the author.
  6. LATM funding process #4, copyright the author.
  7. LATM funding process #5, copyright the author.
  8. Traffic slowing devices, copyright the author.
  9. LATM outcomes, copyright the author.