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.
Advertisements

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.

Naked streets

20140124 laweiplein drachtenLaweiplein in Drachten, the Netherlands.

How do we improve road safety in residential areas? The answer’s simple: make it riskier.

Naked streets is a concept developed by Dutch traffic engineer, Hans Monderman, who proposed that by creating a greater sense of uncertainty and making it unclear who has right of way on a street, drivers reduce their speed and all street users increase their level of risk compensation. This last principle originates from behavioural theory that suggests people adjust their behaviour in response to the perceived level of risk: in riskier environments, pedestrian and drivers respond by behaving more safely.

The practical application of a naked street involves the removal of all hard safety measures, including safety barriers, traffic lights, warning signs, speed humps, pedestrian crossings and road markings. These are all replaced with road surfaces that do not clearly distinguish between vehicle and pedestrian space, ambiguity in defining traffic rules, and a street environment that fosters eye contact and human interaction. The Woonerfgoed, a Dutch network “focussed on the quality of life on the street” further define the naked street or woonerf (Dutch for living street) as a “street primarily meant as a social space, where people can meet, pedestrians and cyclists can move around freely, and children can play safely.”[1] The woonerf was introduced to the Netherlands in the late 1960s and requires that drivers drive at or near walking pace, or under 20km/h.[2]

Monderman drew international attention with a project in 2001, where he was responsible for the upgrade of the Laweiplein, a crowded four-way intersection in the town centre of Drachten in the northwestern Netherlands. He removed the usual clutter of traffic lights, warning signs and pedestrian crossings, and replaced them with an integrated carriageway / footpath surface and a raised roundabout island of grass. Reviews of the changes a year after completion revealed that:

  • Congestion had decreased
  • Traffic accidents had reduced by half, despite traffic volume increasing by a third
  • Drivers and cyclists were more likely to indicate prior to changing direction
  • Despite the measurable increase in safety, local residents perceived the intersection to be more dangerous[3]

A favourite demonstration of Monderman’s was to walk backwards and with eyes closed into the intersection. Instead of honking or worse, striking him down, the car and bicycle traffic diverted its way around him. The typical binary experience of stop or go was replaced with a slower, organic, more alert and more human process of negotiation. The increased perception of risk was, according to Monderman, essential: risk induces safe behaviour. If residents had not felt less secure in the Drachten redesign, “he would have changed it immediately.”[4]

In the past thirty years, naked streets have successfully been applied around the world. The concentration is highest in Europe: by 1999, there were 6,000 of them in the Netherlands; in 1991, London’s Kensington High Street was transformed into a shared space environment; the upgrade in 2011 of East Street in Horsham, Sussex, was a significant improvement over the existing car-dominated environment; projects have been successfully implemented in Denmark, Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden and Spain among others.[5] An instructive video showing movement through one such project in Graz, Austria, can be viewed here.

20140124 east street horsham before

20140124 east street horsham afterEast Street in Horsham, Sussex: before and after.

We think that naked street principles, whose essential agenda is to balance traffic movement with social uses of public space[6], is an exciting proposal for Drummond Street. The street is already well used, but high speed car and bicycle traffic, particularly during the morning rush[7], is a considerable impediment to being able to enjoy the space safely. This perception was echoed by your briefing aspirations to us, where many of you identified traffic improvements as important to you.


Footnotes:

[1] Introduction to the woonerf; Woonerfgoed; Delft.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Hans Monderman quoted in Tom Vanderbild; The Traffic Guru; The Wilson Quarterly; Washington; 2008.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Philip Booth; Green Streets are Naked Streets; Resurgence and Ecologist; Devon; 2006.
[6] Naked Streets Policy Briefing; Living Streets; London; 2009.
[7] According to our traffic surveys conducted along Drummond Street in October last year, there are 6.5 times more car and bicycle trips per hour during the morning peak than off-peak times.

Image sources:

  1. Laweiplein Drachten, How’s Our Driving? in How We Drive. Copyright Tom Vanderbilt.
  2. East Street before, East Street, Horsham – A shared space that can’t be shared? Copyright for this and the following image belongs to As Easy As Riding A Bike.
  3. East Street after.

Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, Innsbruck

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #1

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #2

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #3

This is a fascinating public square designed by LAAC for an open competition initiated in 2008 by the local government of Tyrol in western Austria. LAAC won the competition and completed construction of the square in 2012.

The square is 9,000sqm in area and is resolved as an undulating surface of white, reinforced concrete. Its aim is “to create a contemporary urban public place that negotiates between the various contradictory conditions and constraints of the site. [It] establishes a stage for a new mélange of urban activities characterised by a wide diversity.”[1] We like this project because it takes a single, unifying idea – an undulating concrete surface – and employs it across a large public space to create a diverse range of spatial experiences. In places, the concrete rises up to form bench seats, in others it defines pedestrian entries into the plaza, and in yet others it is shaped around fountains and monuments. Photos of the plaza show a wide variety of people happily coexisting within it, from businessmen, to skaters, to the elderly, to families with young children.

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #4

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #5

While a predominantly blank concrete surface might not be a suitable design solution for Streets Without Cars, Eduard Wallnöfer Platz offers a few valuable lessons:

  • Designing for diversity is both important and possible. One of the clearest messages we received from your briefing input into Streets Without Cars was your wide range of backgrounds, interests and activities. We don’t want to exclude people from Drummond Street, nor do we want to dictate how you use it. Whatever design we come up with, it needs to be inclusive and flexible.
  • A singular idea can draw together a very large space into a unified whole. The context of Drummond Street has all sorts of asymmetries: there is a slightly different rhythm of houses along each side; it opens onto Curtain and Fenwick Streets in different ways; the presence of Shakespeare Street is unusual; there is a slight rise towards the north; even the street trees are not in perfect alignment. We want to create a design solution that draws these peculiarities, as well as the peculiarities of the brief, together into a unified whole.

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #6

20140120 eduard wallnoefer platz #7


Footnotes:

[1] Sourced from project description of Eduard Wallnöfer Platz; LAAC; viewed online 20140120.

Image sources:

  1. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, context plan. All photos sourced from A AS Architecture and copyright Günter Richard Wett.
  2. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, overview.
  3. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, aerial view.
  4. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, undulating surface.
  5. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, bench seating.
  6. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, detail at night.
  7. Eduard Wallnöfer Platz, at night.

Project brief

Our community consultation process has resulted in a number of thoughtful and interesting ideas, all sourced from your input. We asked about:

  • Your ideas for alternative uses of Drummond Street
  • Ways you can imagine yourselves using these facilities
  • Times of the day, week and year you think you will use them
  • Whether you prefer communal or private uses
  • Whether you are prepared to maintain and pay for upgrades

Here’s what you told us:

/Users/Warwick/Dropbox/MiSlo/projects/0022-Streets Without Cars

Ideas: outer coloured circles indicate popularity of idea; inner white circles indicate interest in using idea

20121217 neighbour use

Use: times of the day, week and year

20131217 neighbour accessibility

Accessibility: communal or private

20131217 neighbour maintenance

Maintenance and payment

Based on this input:

  • You love the qualities already offered by the street. 82% of you suggested installing more of the existing infrastructure i.e. trees, other plants and lawn areas. The aesthetic quality of the street and the ability of more trees to act as a carbon sink were also highlighted as important.
  • You can see yourselves undertaking a wide variety of activities on the street, from sun baking to dog walking, playing football to gardening. Some of these will add to activities you currently undertake within your properties, others will replace them.
  • You feel greatest affinity with treating the street like an extension of your homes. Living (68%), eating (45%) and socialising (59%) are amongst the most popular activity categories.
  • You support altering the way traffic enters, moves through and exits the street. 36% of you suggested blocking through traffic, reducing speed limits or improving ground surfaces for pedestrian activities.
  • You love the sun. 95% of you indicated you would use upgraded street facilities during warmer months, as well as warmer winter days. 45% of you prefer the idea of using the street on weekends.
  • You resoundingly support the idea of retaining the street for communal use. 82% of you requested communal facilities, while only 14% requested an either private, gated or hybrid street.
  • Most (82%) of you are prepared to maintain parts of the street yourselves, though many suggested Council maintenance of larger lawn or paved areas would be preferable. Some of you commented that opportunities for working bees and other neighbourhood social opportunities would be welcome.
  • Many of you are prepared to pay for upgrades to the street. 77% of you were happy to contribute financially. 36% suggested an up front capital investment, while 59% suggested additional Council rates.

Image sources:

  1. Activity ideas. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  2. Usage patterns. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  3. Communal vs. private. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.
  4. Maintenance and payment. Copyright Mihaly Slocombe.