Category Archives: Walking

Ward St – Benchmarking

Success involves having records showing that more people are staying longer in Ward St. This post has two safety comments and two examples. First: with more people, mistakes and crashes will happen between different road users, so we need our political leaders to set maximum speeds. They could opt for a “choice of 30 km/h instead of 50 km/h, [where] the estimated reduction in fatal crash risk is 95%”, or even lower, like 20km/h to avoid serious injury. The second comment shows this approach can work: ‘New York City committed to strategies to protect pedestrians, the most vulnerable street users. In 2017, the 32 percent decline in pedestrian fatalities was the steepest-ever one-year percentage decline in the City’s recorded history.’

The Science of Safe Streets (p22) isn’t hard to understand, but what NZ traffic engineers have done traditionally is to try to separate road users and move pedestrians to where they want them to cross. So question one is: where do people actually cross on Ward St?

Moving on to Example 1 – Schloßstraße Koblenz: Having walked this street a number of times, each time I found myself walking in the centre of the street. Even though this is also a place for motor vehicles, it did feel the centre was the right place to be. I think this came from the open space, with uncluttered sight lines, which creates a vacuum that pulls life to the centre. It also has the ‘boutique stores, retail and inner city living … 24/7 living’ of Hamilton’s Future 2020 Vision utopia, as described in a longer quote at the end of this post.

Example 2 – Neue Straße Ulm: This carries motor vehicle traffic in a area between the city’s main square in the north, in the older city, and the river promenade in the south. My reference says it moves 13,000 vehicles per day, which is in between  Hamilton’s Anglesea St at 12,300vpd* and Tristram St at 14,560vpd*. (*five year average 2012-2016). I have walked across this street more than once and it did feel OK. I think what makes it OK is the flush surfaces. What was also noticeable was that the vehicle lane was identifiable more by its different surface texture than its colour. There were some bollards but these weren’t placed to stop motor vehicles from accessing courtyards if they needed to.

The following is from a German planner explaining shared space, and the link that follows directly refers to the Neue Straße shared space

If cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers are to share narrow spaces as equally as possible and at the same time increase the quality of stay for residents and visitors, this is only possible if the speeds fall. Because the higher the speed and the different the speeds of the various road users, the greater the required safety distance between the individual road users, the louder the traffic, the stronger the tunnel vision is, which prevents us from perceiving others. Shared space means that the speeds of car and bicycle traffic are closer and traffic is flowing more smoothly … This means that every road user is aware of the fact that he has to come to terms with the others. This promotes mutual consideration. These two basic rules are mainly there to break the dominance of the car. This leads to more equality of all road users. Because only those who feel safe, also like to cycle often … Visibility is essential for communication between road users … Although Shared Space clearly promotes cycling, it cannot be seen as a measure to promote cycling. Cyclists must also be considerate in a shared space …towards pedestrians. Besides, shared space is not a solution for everywhere.

If you would like to know more about what it feels like to use this Neue Strabe. Councillor Siggi Henry has been he many more times than me. Her contact detail can be found here.

Back to Schloßstraße Koblenz, above photo looking towards the Electoral Palace (note 20kmh speed signs), and here is how the locals talk about this place.

Created with numerous trees as an avenue, the heart of the street between the Centre and the Electoral Palace beats, making it an ideal connection between the city center and the Rhine promenade … Fringed by the pleasant green of the shady trees, the open-air shopping mile invites you to stroll and stroll. The range of resident businesses is unusually rich. In addition to traditionally run family businesses, you will also find modern start-ups. All together lend the Schloßstraße their special character with high-quality goods. A balanced ratio of numerous specialist shops, service providers, cafes and restaurants with comfortable outdoor seating offer the opportunity to linger longer in the Schloßstraße.

Schloßstraße/Casinostraße Koblenz crossing (mid-way)


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