Category Archives: Safety

Ward St – CBD Future 2020 Vision

City news Oct/Nov 2005 headline: ‘Vibrant metro CBD upgrade will reflect local character’. In this plan Ward St is in ‘The retail precinct, bordered by London, Anglesea, Bryce, Nisbet, Collingwood and Victoria streets, [which] will include boutique stores, retail and inner city living (24/7 population presence – see text in image), with the education precinct the block home to Wintec’. This education precinct is odd, since the 1,700 Girls’ High students are not included in the future vision.

The focus of this post is the statement that promises ‘Enhancement of the pedestrian environment with a focus on accessible linkage between key areas includes the redevelopment of Garden Place, Civic Square … enhancement of link between the Wintec campus and CBD along Ward Street west, and the creation of a pedestrian friendly piazza along Anglesea Street’ (from City News 2005).

Firstly, the future envisioned by the Future 2020 Vision team also shows trees on south side of Ward St, as in the Stark Concept and ViaStrada’s idea. I’d suggest the Edward White Architect should just go and plant a tree on Ward St, where it suits his/her plan.

I like the way the Stark concept allows Ward St to have a gateway to/from Tristram St; it nicely reinforces that inside, Ward St is a place, where you can take your time and relax. Where the CBD Future 2020 Vision (2020) and ViaStrada ideas are ahead of the Stark Concept is we can see detailed link from Girls’ High to/from Ward Park of the needed better pedestrian priority, which should have happened as part of the Western Rail Trail (WRT) project (the Girls’ High bike parking stand is a WRT destination). The 2020 plan goes furthest by giving people walking and biking right of way across Ward St west of Tristram St. ViaStrada gives a refuge island.

The 2020 vision intention was that a ‘dramatically revitalised CBD will see it transformed into a buzzing people-friendly area that’s easy to get around, good for business, is well planned and reflects local character’. Now think about the decision makers’ primary default mode of transport: will it be ‘easy to get around’ with more of that, and if the ‘local character’ maintains existing rights on how roads are used now, will they allow change that gives more rights to vulnerable road users? What does a ‘buzzing people-friendly area’ feel like

Here are the three pages as published in City news Oct/Nov 2005


Category: CBD, News, Projects, Safety, Walking

Safer urban car lane widths

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Readers need to be aware that this post does have a bias toward giving weaker road users a higher priority for road space. My reading of these design manuals is therefore to identify the widths providing greatest benefit for people aged 8 to 80.
First warning: For this post, lane width is about the distance between painted lines or changes in road surface texture. Kerbs/road bumps greater then 50mm in height limit the available options. See the photo at the end of this post.

New Zealand legislation states that a “lane for the use of vehicular traffic … is at least 2.5 m wide” Reprinted 1 October 2017 – Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (SR 2004/427)

Here is an example (in Schiedam) of narrowed motor vehicle lanes with the cycle lane width being maintained through the intersection. As we can all see, this doesn’t mean excluding heavy traffic (note bus stop). What it does mean is that the safety* a cycle lane width gives can be continued through the intersection.

*“Cycle lanes … provide a modest 10% safety improvement for cyclists, but 30% for pedestrians” This is from the NZTA Pedestrian planning and design guide Table 6.3

Data collected from the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Oakland County – Detroit areas does not support the idea of wider lanes being safer for motorists.

“There is no indication that the use of 3.0- or 3.3-m (10- or 11-ft lanes), rather than 3.6-m (12-ft) lanes, for arterial midblock segments (& arterial intersection approaches) leads to increases in accident frequency.” P23 (P25)

Ref: Relationship of Lane Width to Safety for Urban and Suburban Arterials – 2007 by Ingrid B. Potts, Douglas W. Harwood, and Karen R. Richard

Measures from Tokyo & Toronto also do not support wider lanes being more efficient for motorists. Ref: Narrower Lanes, Safer Streets – Dewan Masud Karim – 2015

Impact on Traffic Capacity and Congestion:

“Contrary to common belief, the results clearly demonstrate that narrower travel lanes, particularly 3.0m lanes, carry the highest traffic volumes (18% higher compared to 3.5m lane) … there is no measurable decrease in urban street capacity when through lane widths are narrowed from 3.7m to 3.0m … Traffic delays on urban roads are principally determined by junctions, not by midblock free flow speeds” p12

Large Vehicles and Narrower Lanes:

“Low volume trucks (less than 5%) experience no operational problems for narrower lane widths … For buses, it suggests using 3.3m for mixed traffic conditions and 3.0m where buffered bicycles lanes exist” p13

Lane widths to avoid – From Handbook for cycle-friendly design by UK based Sustrans 

“Avoid widths between 3.1 and 3.9m” p17

“Bus lanes widths … 3.2m to 3.9m to be avoided” p19

In my opinion it is particularly important that when narrowing lanes that kerbs and speed bumps are kept as low as possible. People stop for a variety of reasons. Bumps can make the ride in a bus uncomfortable or an ambulance trip worse than it needs to be.

Photo Gottingen – Lange Geismar Str

Past Blog post on lanes

A good one way cycle lane width = 2m+

4 lane roads when to

Lane width and cars per hour per lane

Number of cars per lane