17 March 2017

Another traffic count, with important visitors

Yesterday morning WHEN and the Lansdowne Primary School community conducted another traffic count along Hill Street, West Hobart.  Members of Parliament,  Hobart Aldermen, traffic management staff from the City of Hobart and reps from nearby affected schools were invited along to observe the phenomen and to discuss solutions.

All the visitors were amazed by the volume of traffic and its speed.  Standing outside the butcher's on the corner of Hamilton Street, we could even see the stream of vehicles coming from Mt Stuart and heading in our direction. Some near misses were observed around the Hill St Grocer, and there was an actual collision outside the Post Office at the other end of Lansdowne Crescent. 

Here are the key numbers showing the activity on Hill St between 8am and 9am:

Line across Hill St from the Pharmacy, corner Pine St
Line across Hill St from the P.O., corner Patrick St
Line across Hill St from the Butcher, corner Hamilton St
Total vehicles passing the “laser line”
(includes 10 bike commuters)
1284 *
(includes 1 bike commuter, who had resorted to the footpath)**

Adult pedestrians crossing Hill St
Child pedestrians crossing Hill St
(all were accompanied by a parent)
Total pedestrians crossing Hill St

*A collision occurred at 8.50am, causing a blockage and a number of vehicles turned around to avoid the delay.

** Bike commuters heading to the city would cut through via Bonnington Rd or Forbes Ave to get off the rat run and down to Goulburn St.

These numbers of vehicles and pedestrians more than satisfy the minimum requirement accepted by the Department of State Growth for installation of a proper Pedestrian Crossing (i.e. zebra crossing), which the community has been asking the Council for for some time.

Think about these numbers!  With 1200 vehicles per hour streaming down Hill St in the peak hour/s, and many of the drivers trying to attain the stated speed limit of 50 kph, it is difficult and nervewracking for fit and able people to cross the street.  It is downright scary for anyone under the age of 12 or over the age of 70 or with limited vision, cognitive ability or movement.

As it is largely a steady stream, 1200 vehicles per hour means 20 vehicles per minute, means a vehicle every 3 seconds.  That means the pedestrian has an average of 3 seconds to scamper to the median strip, and 3 seconds to scamper to the opposite footpath.  

So naturally we didn't see any young children walking to school on their own, they were all accompanied by a parent (walking or riding) or were passengers in vehicles (adding to the congestion). 

Many of the pedestrians trying to cross Hill Street yesterday morning, or simply passing by, took the opportunity to ask our visiting Aldermen or Members of Parliament what they were going to do about making it safer to cross the street. 

WHEN believes that a key to making our streets safer is speed. Lower speeds reduce the tension on the street, encourage better driver behaviour (such as courtesy!), help pedestrians and bike riders to use the street with more confidence, and reduce the risk of injury or death should a collision occur. 

Council is about to consider recommendations from its traffic engineering team on safer crossings on Hill Street.  WHEN's preferred solution has been stated on many occasions, but we are not holding our breath for this.  We expect that the proposed engineering interventions will, at the very least, act to reduce average speeds on Hill Street and not increase risk for bike riders.  

Want to see how long we have been raising these issues?  Check out previous posts in the WHEN blog:
Outcomes of the community workshop Nov 2016 
Update August 2016
Update April 2016 
And older posts...

Counting vehicles and pedestrians, cnr Patrick St

Counting pedestrians, cnr Hamilton St

Counting vehicles & pedestrians, cnr Pine St

20 February 2017

Music for a Warming World - enjoy it this week!


 (At the IMAS Building, Castray Esplanade, Hobart)

Tues 21st Feb: Climate change - how bad is it, how to fix it and what will it cost?
Prof Eelco Rohling (ANU)
6.00 - 7.30 pm (no charge)

Thurs 23rd Feb: Dangerous Climate Change: An Artistic Response (incl. show preview).
Prof Christine Parker (Uni Melb) and Dr Simon Kerr
1.00 - 2.00 pm (no charge)

The Simon Kerr Perspective

Simon Kerr - Guitars, Vocals, Stomp
Kylie Morrigan - 5 String Violin, Vocals
Scott Lewis - Piano, Keys,Vocals
Christine Parker - Laptop and visuals


MUSIC FOR A WARMING WORLD - Performances this week

Fri 24th Feb: Clarence Uniting Church, York St, Bellerive
7.30 - 9.00 pm (tickets at door)

Sat 25th Feb: Brookfield Margate, 1640 Channel Hwy, Margate
7.30 - 9.00 pm (tickets at door)

Sun 26th Feb: Moonah Arts Centre, 23-27 Albert Rd, Moonah
3.00 - 4.30 pm
Get Moonah tickets at https://mww-moonaharts.eventbrite.com (no door sales)
Share the Facebook Event with your friends!

Sponsored by Climate Tasmania
Contact John Hunter 0427 098 831


20 January 2017

Hobart Transport review - Have Your Say - on Private Transport

The City of Hobart is currently seeking community input on "Private Transport" (this is Module 2 in a package of four modules).  This gives us all a chance to tell Council what we think about walking, riding and driving in our city.

WHEN has put in a submission, and key points from this are included below if any WH residents would like to use them too. 

How to have your say
Note: submissions on Module 2 need to be in by 20 March 2017. 
Your submission can be as long or short as you want. You do not have to answer all or any questions in the Consultation Paper, they are there as a guide.

Onlineuse the Surveys and Forms tab at https://yoursay.hobartcity.com.au/transport-strategy
(if you choose this approach, try skimming through the notes below first)
Email - coh@hobartcity.com.au, with Transport Strategy in the email Subject line.
Post - Transport Strategy
          City of Hobart
          GPO Box 503
          Hobart TAS 7001

The Council’s documents
An overview of the whole transport strategy review process is here:  https://yoursay.hobartcity.com.au/transport-strategy

Consultation Paper 2: Private Transport can be downloaded from the Related Documents Tab on this page: https://yoursay.hobartcity.com.au/transport-strategy

What we said 

General Observations
Climate Change is the critical issue for our city and our time so it should be evident as a thread in all the sections of the document, not relegated to the final brief section. People’s private transport choices are key to reducing emissions and energy use. We recognise that much of the impact of private vehicle use in the city is via the entry or transit of vehicles from other LGAs but we are keen to see the City do everything possible to foster active transport and reduce car use.

Making West Hobart More Walkable  
We are fortunate, living in West Hobart, that distances are short to amenities and there are many short cuts and connecting pathways which make walking and riding to destinations faster and more efficient.  West Hobart is a very pleasant environment in which to walk, with trees and gardens and neighbourly contact. It has the potential to be a highly walkable suburb, with some moderate interventions.

Residents tell us (and advised the recent workshop on walkability held in West Hobart) that barriers to walking in our suburb include:
  • concerns about safety, especially for children crossing the Hill St ‘rat run’ in peak hours. [We have proposed to Council that this be addressed by traffic calming solutions including wombat crossings on Hill Street at each end of Lansdowne Crescent, and signalised crossings at the corner of Hill and Arthur Streets. Also a reduction in speed limits in the whole residential area to 40kph, and outside the schools to 30kph].
  • uneven footpaths – there are many bumps and gaps to trip up mobility restricted or vision impaired residents
  • lack of kerb ramps in some places.  Smooth footpaths and kerb ramps are essential for prams, wheelchairs, mobility scooters, vision impaired, people using walking sticks.
  • lack of seating at bus stops and at regular intervals (eg at 100m intervals may be a best practice)
  • lack of safe crossing points i.e. wombat crossings
    • zebra crossings ensure pedestrian priority
    • ramped crossings assist the aged, people with disabilities and with prams, by smoothing out the bumps and providing better visibility and communication between pedestrians and drivers.  Such crossings would invite people to cross confidently.

Making West Hobart More Rideable
Here again our residents are fortunate that we enjoy short distances to CBD-located destinations, and many streets have low traffic volumes.

Barriers to increased riding include:

  • the hills - electric bikes are a solution to West Hobart’s hills and more and more people are taking them up. This is an emerging sector of the transport mix and needs to be positively encouraged by the City.
  • the traffic volume and speed in peak hours on ‘rat run’ streets such as Hill St. We have previously proposed to Council (on several occasions) that this be addressed by traffic calming solutions including wombat crossings on Hill Street at each end of Lansdowne Crescent, and signalised crossings at the corner of Hill and Arthur Streets. Also a reduction in speed limits, in the whole residential area to 40kph and outside the schools to 30kph.
  • the complete absence of an identified safer bicycle route through the suburb – no bike lanes or signed bike routes are in place. West Hobart is included in the Hobart Arterial Cycle Network as requiring connectivity through to the city. A recommended route through West Hobart is shown on the Hobart Bicycle Map produced by Cycling South. This route needs to be marked and signed as a priority bike route for residents and visitors.
  • Shortage of bike parking hoops at destinations such as shops, parks, bus stops.  To date there are only two locations which have usable bike parking loops – these are the Hill St Post Office (2x) and Smolt Kitchen (2x).  Hill Street Grocer has (finally) installed a loop at its new shop location, but the one loop is badly positioned and usually difficult/impossible to access (hidden behind shopping trolleys and parked cars or delivery vans). 
  • Traffic speed in residential areas is a key issue for riders when they are forced to share the road with drivers.  Where there is a smaller differential between the speeds of the bike and the car using the same road space, this significantly reduces both on-road tension and the risk to the rider’s safety.   We call for speed limits in residential areas of 40kph, and 30kph in the vicinity of schools.

Car parking
We support Council’s approaches to increase the cost of all day parking in the CBD and to reduce its availability.  The next step is to reduce the all-day on street car parking by commuters in the inner suburbs such as West Hobart.  This would improve the residential amenity where there is limited off-street parking, and free up valuable on-road space for dedicated bus or bike lanes, and for traffic calming measures which would make the streets safer for all road users.

Land use planning controls
We support increased urban density in Hobart, especially along key transport corridors.  In West Hobart this would include the bus route and the expected bike paths.  Increased urban density means more residents could readily access public transport to get to work, and walk or use bikes for local, shorter trips.

Council could promote the Green Star energy points system more strongly in its building code, in particular to promote quality end of trip facilities for bike riders.

There should be no minimum parking requirement for new developments, in order to encourage car-free living.

With development applications and new subdivisions, Council should encourage provision and retention of public space for cut-throughs and connections of walking and bicycle networks.  New developments should be required to include quality separate walking and cycling paths as part of their street treatments.

Encouraging multi-modal transport
We support residential small scale versions of Park and Ride – where for example people could park their bikes at bus stops, then jump on public transport or into a friend’s car or carshare.   Bike parking loops or lockers (which offer rain protection and security against theft) could be installed at selected bus stops in West Hobart, to encourage residents to try multi-modal travel.