The devil is in the detail when it comes to providing quality walking and cycling networks. The plan was presented to the Kingborough Bicycle Advisory Committee in June 2016 and the following comments were made, which have also been added to the development plan map (above):
Access into the site by bicycle
The connection from the Whitewater Creek Track at the highway underpass to the town promenade and civic spine comprises of steps which does not cater for bicycles, prams or other wheeled devices. A ramp needs to be provided to create this connection as it will be the main active transport access point from the west.
Bike lanes on the Boulevard
The report identified bike lanes on the Boulevard. However it is preferred that the Town Promenade be made the main bike route into the site, although bike lanes would be needed between Channel Highway and Town Promenade. The Boulevard between Town Promenade and Beach Rd does not need to have bike lanes provided traffic speeds are kept low by having narrow lanes and a central median so confident riders can "take the lane". The parallel residential street (14 North South Link) can provide an alternative north-south link provided it connects adequately to the Whitewater Creek Trail at the north end and the Town Promenade at the south end. This includes kerb ramps and delineated space for cycling in pedestrianised zones.
Town Promenade/Mixed use street
Ideally the Town promenade/mixed use street would be a more people-friendly space by allowing for walking, cycling, delivery and public transport vehicles only while the main traffic thoroughfare is one block back on the boundary between precincts B and C. It is crucial that the town promenade provides adequately for cycling. Ideally private motor vehicles and on-street parking are restricted in this area but recognise that we live in a car-dependent and car-dominated culture and that driving down the main civic thoroughfare is in the current plan and is likely to remain in the final design. Therefore dedicated cycling infrastructure separated from motor vehicles is essential to provide a connection from the Whitewater Creek Trail to the Kingston CBD via the town promenade that caters for all ages and abilities. The photo (right) demonstrates how a cycling “road” can be included in the design while still allowing for on-street parking alongside as there is a buffer for people getting out of parked cars. It also clearly separates the cycling space from the footpath space. The footpath areas need to be carefully designed with consideration for how people will move through the space, the location of street furniture and trees and how the movement of bicycles through this space will be communicated. Defining a corridor where people will move back and forth in a straight line is essential to reduce conflict with people ambling, looking at phones, stopping to chat or hanging about.
The pedestrianised section of the town promenade needs to be designed so that bike movement through the middle is clearly defined, as shown in the photo (below, left). In Tasmania there is a history of banning bicycles through pedestrianised areas because their design has not accommodated the movement of people on bicycles (see photo below on right).
Whitewater Creek Trail
This forms the main off-road route for cycling into Kingston CBD and it is important it provides a convenient and practical cycling experience for all ages and abilities.
Intersection with the Boulevard
The introduction of an additional road crossing at the Boulevard detracts from the amenity and safety of the existing track by introducing an additional road crossing where people walking and cycling are at the bottom of the road hierarchy (anyone on the path must give way to all motor vehicles coming from all directions). This is particularly difficult for children or elderly. Consideration should be given to providing a left in/left out intersection arrangement which would simplify the road crossing for Whitewater Creek Trail users and encourage increased motor vehicle use of John St.
Alignment of trail out of flood prone area
The existing alignment of the Whitewater Creek Trail is underwater in sections after heavy rainfall. The main route should be a sealed 2.5m path located further up the slope, with secondary alignments in the lower section which can be gravel. The secondary alignment would be a more suitable location for passive activities such as a war memorial walk or contemplative areas or dog walking away from bicycles.
Dogs off lead area
Kingston Lawn will be a dogs off lead area so design will be important to provide separation from dogs and the Whitewater Creek Track through use of clever landscaping to create physical barriers between the lawn and the path while still maintaining a 1.0m clear space along the edges of the path.
9.5 Parking provisions
Strongly support “Encourage private car parking accessed from rear laneways, to provide for uninterrupted active street frontages to the public realm.” Bike parking in residential and commercial developments must be provided for residents and staff. Short term bicycle parking rails should be scattered around the retail area. These need to be hop-style rails and not "wheel bender/toaster" racks.
9.4.2 Future Road Network Operations
Proposed future roundabout at Beach Rd and Channel Hwy.
Removal of traffic signals is a poor outcome for people walking or cycling and would be a loss of existing amenity. Vulnerable road users (people walking and cycling) are over-represented in crash statistics at roundabouts, they lose priority on all legs of the road crossing and at peak times gaps to cross the road are often not available.
Roundabout at Beach Rd and John St
A pedestrian refuge is needed that is wide enough to accommodate bicycles to allow users of the Whitewater Creek Trail to split their crossing into two phases and reduce the complexity of crossing the road at this location.
Roundabout at Beach Rd and Boulevard
The assessment has not considered the impact on users of the Whitewater Creek Track. It introduces an additional road crossing and it would be preferable if through traffic was prioritised along John St rather than the Boulevard. Consider a left in/left out arrangement on the Bouldevard as an alternative to a roundabout which will make the road crossing easier for people walking and cycling on the Whitewater Creek Trail.
John St at Beach Rd
John St is not a pedestrianised area as it is dominated by multiple off-street carparks and has minimal retail street frontage. It should be prioritised over the Channel Hwy and the Boulevard for through traffic with priority given for motor vehicle access from Beach Rd onto John St (rather than the Boulevard).