04 April 2017

Council agrees to safe childrens crossings on Hill Street

Thanks to the efforts and persistence of the West Hobart community - the schools, businesses, residents, parents – with counting traffic, circulating petitions and writing letters, keeping on putting forward the issues to the City of Hobart, we have some positive progress to report!

Council this Monday passed the following motion UNANIMOUSLY, with additional points added that Council also lobby the State Government for a 40 km/h speed limit right along Hill Street and that the needs of bike riders be included in the design (i.e. Attachment A mentioned below) of traffic calming interventions.

The motion:  
1.    Community engagement be undertaken based on the concept design marked as Attachment A to item 6.3 of the Open City InfrastructureCommittee agenda of 29 March 2017.

2.    The General Manager work with the schools and interested businesses to lobby the Transport Commissioner for the provision of adult crossing guards at the Hill Street / Lansdowne Crescent / Patrick Street and the Hill Street / Lansdowne Crescent / Pine Street intersections.

3.    Further investigation, including advice from the Transport Commissioner be undertaken to install improved pedestrian crossings at the Hill Street / Lansdowne Crescent / Patrick Street and Hill Street / Lansdowne Crescent / Pine Street intersections taking into consideration sight distance, bus turning and property constraints and in accordance with the Australian Standard.

Options to be investigated include:
(ii)     Wombat crossings at the above roundabouts; and/or
(ii)     Replacing the Hill Street / Lansdowne Crescent / Patrick Street roundabout with traffic signals.

4.    A further report be provided, detailing the results of the community engagement and recommending a design to be implemented in Hill Street, incorporating consideration of the consultation and the feedback from MRCagney and Victoria Walks.

5.    A further report be provided to the Council’s Community, Culture and Events Committee in relation to a possible event and community art project for West Hobart.

6.    The line markings at the Hill Street roundabouts be painted as a matter of urgency.

These decisions by our elected Aldermen send a clear message to staff on the direction that the community and Council wants to go.

Our work is not over!

We will have to remain vigilant and active to ensure that the children's crossing guards be approved by the State Government and implemented as soon as possible.

Also we will need as many residents as possible to get involved when the public consultation on the design of the "improved crossing points" on Hill Street is opened up.   WHEN and Bicycle Network Tasmania will be taking a close look and will be supporting treatments which provide maximum safety for both pedestrians and bike riders.
For example, a crossing like this provides space for riders to get through the "pinchpoint".

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