Have your say on Hill Street, West Hobart
The City of Hobart has advertised, for public comment, the next phase of safety improvements on Hill Street, West Hobart.
These works are designed to provide several safer crossing points for pedestrians. The West Hobart Environment Network has provided a summary and some analysis of the proposal, which is worth reading.
A coalition of West Hobart residents, schools and businesses has been pushing for some years for broader and more significant interventions to break down the "rat run" along Hill Street, slow down the traffic and make the streets safer and more liveable.
We don't believe that the current design will do anything to reduce the average traffic speed on Hill Street and the new crossing points, while improved from previous installations, won't assist bike riders. From the bike rider's perspective, there is an immediate opportunity here to influence the current proposal. We could make the four proposed new crossing points safer for cyclists, and we could also ensure that the current works support the installation of future bikelanes along Hill Street.
All readers who ride regularly or occasionally through West Hobart, or who are concerned about the safety of all road users in West Hobart - 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.
The two critical sections of this current plan, for riders
Extract from 1995 Hobart Bike Plan
The two sections of Hill Street within this current project plan which are 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 put in place to direct riders to go around Lansdowne Crescent, to provide safer cycling space for people 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 provide improved 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.
- The inserted boxes illustrate our propose changes to the advertised design:
- 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, which would improve the tracking of vehicles on the road and encourage a reduction in traffic speeds. 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 (which would assist further to slow the average speed of traffic).
Don't forget, Have Your Say.