09 May 2017

Survey on improvements to Hill Street

The Lansdowne Crescent Primary School School Community Association has released a survey to collect your views on a range of potential projects for improving the safety of walking in West Hobart, particularly for pedestrian crossing Hill Street. The SCA is trying to get a feel for the feeling of the general community on these issues.

Background information can be found in our recent post on the Council's current proposals for Hill Street.
It would be fantastic if you could spare a couple of minutes to complete the survey and then pass the message on to everyone you know that lives in, has kids that go to school in, or regularly visits West Hobart.  It is only 5 questions and takes just a couple of minutes to complete.  We will also be promoting the survey on our Facebook page.  Feel free to share it.

The survey can be found here:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DDGK2SV  

 

And don't forget to also tell the Council  directly what you think about the proposals.

07 May 2017

Seed saving - workshop and seed swap



The good folks at Green Harvest Organic Gardening, based in Queensland, are making a trip down to Hobart, braving the cold, to present at the Seed Storm 2-day workshop on 27-28 May (Saturday-Sunday) in Hobart. 


The workshop aims to help home gardeners and growers increase their seed saving skills with a range of experts and hands-on experience saving seed. Green Harvest CEO, Frances Michaels, will be talking about seed purity, correct cultivar ID, cross pollination control, seed storage and drying techniques, seed viability and germination testing.

Green Harvest believes that seed saving has never been more important, as open-pollinated heirloom seeds offer the genetic resilience and diversity to sustain food production despite changing climatic conditions. Seed production has become somewhat of a ‘lost art’ commercially in Australia with the bulk of vegetable production using imported hybrid seed. The team is looking forward to meeting gardeners and growers who are interested in seed production being reintegrated into Australian agriculture and home gardening.


There will be a free community seed swap in Hobart Sunday 28 May: more details at www.facebook.com/seedfreak events. Join in and nab seeds!

More details at:
http://seedfreaks.com.au/events/seed-storm-2017/
https://www.facebook.com/seedfreak/videos/1676307365999877/

03 May 2017

Improvements on Hill St - Have Your Say

The City of Hobart has advertised, for public comment, the next phase of safety improvements on Hill Street, West Hobart.

All residents with an interest in the safety of all road users and and in the general liveability of Hill Street: please read our comments below, go to the Council's Your Say page, read the information provided (the FAQ are worth reading), and either fill in the online survey there or make a written submission to Council.  Below is our summary of the proposal and our comments.

What's in the plans?

The plans show four new "kerb outstand and median refuge island" combos which will be installed as safer pedestrian crossing points on Hill Street:
  • at Hamilton Street
  • at Petty Street 
  • at Allison Street
  • at Faraday Street.
These improved crossing points will enable pedestrians to cross the street more safely at these four locations.  They are now located at intersections, which is good, as most pedestrians choose to cross at intersections rather than in the middle of the block.  Some of the kerb outstands have driveway access points, as they sit across current driveways.  Footpaths will stay at 2 to 2.5m wide.  The kerb extensions are proposed to extend into the roadway at the same distance as the notional parking lane (2.2m).  

The central median refuge will be 2m wide, ample to cover a person with a pram or with a bike.

A central painted median of 2m width is proposed to be extended throughout Hill Street.

It looks like the areas for parking will be marked with either painted boxes or a solid line at 2.2m from the kerb. It seems that a parking space has been removed outside the chemist - that will improve sightlines for all road users at this busy crossing point.

The traffic lanes are proposed to be left at 4 to 4.25m wide.

And Future actions

Council will investigate the safety aspects of installing zebra crossings on Hill Street at each end of Lansdowne Crescent.  "If these can be provided safely, taking into consideration sight distance, bus turning and property constraints, then they will be designed and implemented as soon as possible".

Council will also support the residents to:
  • work with the Department of State Growth to provide safe crossing locations in Hill Street for school children, including the use of adult crossing guards; and
  • organise a local event in Hill Street, with the aim to encourage walking and community activity in the street.

Comments and Concerns

  • The two sections of Hill Street within this plan on the outsides of Lansdowne Crescent (i.e.  Lansdowne to Arthur, and Lansdowne to Cavell) are part of the recommended rideable bicycle route through West Hobart (refer to the Hobart Bicycle Map and the 1995 Hobart Bike Plan).  Bike lanes should be considered on these flat sections, with bike network signage directing riders to go around Lansdowne Crescent, to provide safer cycling space for residents to ride to work and to school.
  • In support of this, the proposed design needs to be adjusted to be ready for the future installation of official bikelanes.   The painted median along these "non-crossing point" sections should be 1m wide (instead of the proposed 2m) - this would provide sufficient road space for the installation of 1.5m wide notional bikelanes on each side.  At the proposed "crossing points", the median refuge island will be OK at 2m wide for protection of people crossing the road, if the kerb outstands can be reduced in depth to 1.2m (from their current proposed 2.2m).  This would enable the notional bikelanes to continue uninterrupted through the potential pinchpoint and would still improve safety at these crossing points for pedestrians. The slight deviation in the travel lane created by the refuge would provide a variety in the lane which would encourage drivers to slow down a little at these points. The 1.5m wide notional bikelane at the crossing points should be marked in green paint to alert all road users to the potential conflict point.
  • This picture illustrates these changes to the proposal:

How we say
the median and kerbs should be revised to support safer bike riding on Hill Street
  • On these same two sections of Hill Street, the vehicle travel lanes should be marked on the road at 3m wide.  This lane marking will visually reduce the effective width of the driving lane. This technique is known to improve the tracking of vehicles on the road and encourages a reduction in the average travel speeds of drivers.  It also provides a more defined space for bike riders, offering some spatial separation from faster moving vehicles.
  • The kerb ramps must be flush (i.e. no lip) to ensure no tripping of bike or pram wheels 
  • There has been ample evidence provided that Zebra crossings at each end of Lansdowne Crescent would improve safety for children and older residents crossing Hill Street.  Zebra crossings provide legal priority for pedestrian road users.  We believe they should be installed as soon as possible, preferably in conjunction with a table ramp which makes them into Wombat crossings.
  • We support the Council's assistance with arranging staffed children's crossings at these two points
  • We support the Council's assistance to create community events along Hill Street.




01 May 2017

In the Garden - May

Here are May's planting notes.

MAY Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Sugar Snap Peas  x x x

(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)




Snowpea x x x

(1st planting -pregerminate and then sow direct)




Protect from birds until 100mm high.




Garlic x x x x
Into Punnets:




Lettuce (slow) Plant out in July

x x
Cabbages  (small species) Plant out in July
x x x
Cauliflower "Garant" - Plant out in July
x x x

Happy gardening.

Margaret (and tks to Greg S).

28 April 2017

Tactical Urbanism - please do!

TACTICAL URBANISM.

Ever wanted to have some fun whilst also actively making a difference in your community? This just might be what you've been looking for.
The Tactical Urbanism movement is all about citizens taking the lead in making small, temporary and low cost interventions to the townscape of their neighbourhood.
Luckily, a host of free practical guides and sources of information and inspiration has been made available.  Better Hobart have helpfully grouped them together for ease of reference. Simply click on the link below.
So if you fancy holding an event, creating your own Pocket park, drawing attention to traffic issues, community gardening or even making a statement in this years Park(ing) Day, read, digest, get inspired and then roll up those sleeves. Remember. This is your city!
http://www.betterhobart.com/tactical-urbanism/

If you've got some ideas for West Hobart, share your ideas below and you might find some neighbours keen to join in.

25 April 2017

Towels for Bonorong wildlife

As featured in the Mercury today, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary needs a heap of old (but clean) towels and pillowcases to help them to keep their animals and birds clean and warm.

Surely West Hobartians can help!

Di has set up a box at 67 Newdegate Street, so that neighbours can drop in their excess towels and pillowcases.  We'll get them to Bonorong for you. 

What could be easier?  Get onto it now, while you are thinking about it!



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”
1172
(includes 10 bike commuters)
1284 *
(includes 1 bike commuter, who had resorted to the footpath)**

Adult pedestrians crossing Hill St
47
54
23
Child pedestrians crossing Hill St
36
63
15
(all were accompanied by a parent)
Total pedestrians crossing Hill St
83
117
38




*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