Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kurilpa Bridge comments

Walking over the Kurilpa Bridge on the way to the PBT end of year function we all discussed the great and problematic elements in the design for pedestrians and cyclists. Much like the Goodwill bridge, the bridge operates as a shared pathway with recommendation that cyclists keep right and pedestrians keep left. This works well and reduces the likelihood of cyclists becoming aggressive towards pedestrians being in 'their area' as happens where they are separated.

Instead of using painted lines down the centre of the bridge to separate the directions of travel the architects used different shades of concrete. This looks good, works well and is low maintenance. The photo does not show this as clearly as in real life.
The use of separated bi-directional cycle lanes along one-way Tank Street and George Street is excellent. What is odd though is that a 0.5 m wide raised kerb is provided on Tank Street where the traffic speeds and volumes are low, but a small removable barrier was used on George Street where traffic speeds and volumes are high. This results in wasted space on Tank Street where additional footpath width would have been beneficial.
As can be seen in the photos above and below there is a lot of pedestrian movement across Tank Street. Unfortunately there is no provision for a pedestrian crossing point between the bridge and the intersection with George Street. The traffic speeds and volumes are low but this arrangement is not ideal. Pedestrians tend to treat the area as a shared zone and it would have been preferable if the area was designed as a shared zone.
As can be seen above there is no pedestrian pathway for people wanting to walk back towards North Quay and so people walk through the flower beds.
There is a very odd arrangement for cyclists travelling down George Street that want to access Tank Street. According to this sign they need to ride on the footpath to cross at the lights. Considering the volume of pedestrian traffic along George Street this is impossible. It is also illogical for cyclists and all stay on the pathway and turn at the lights. The location of the sign is also unfortunate since it has been placed in the path of cyclists who would supposedly use the turning facility. The height of the sign also makes it invisible to cyclists and pedestrians.

A strange raised area is placed on the cycle path at the entrance to Tank Street. It is unclear what the intention of this is. It cannot be meant to slow down cyclists because it is barely noticeable on a bicycle. It is not meant to indicate a shared zone with pedestrians because the pedestrian crossing is ahead of it. Unfortunately the location of the ramp is just where cyclists need to stop to press the crossing button and makes it awkward to stop on an incline and press the button.
The pathway stops at Turbot Street where it quite elegantly funnels cyclists down to the King George Square Cycle Centre. Cyclists wanting to travel further south into the city are unfortunately left stranded on little Roma Street with no clear route south.

The heavy volume of traffic turning from George Street into Turbot Street currently constrains the possibility of extending the pathway further south along George Street. It is unfortunate though that the option to extend this further some time in the future was made difficult by relocating the traffic signal to the new kerb line. If the traffic signal had been left where it was the cost of extending the bike path down George Street in the future could have been significantly reduced. In planning for this type of facility we need to ensure that we allow for the easy expansion of the system in the future when the current traffic constraints may be changed.

The discussion of the Kurilpa side of the bridge found far fewer issues. The limited space and height of the bridge meant that the bridge makes a leisurely spiral down to the ground. Although very elegantly done it does make for a less direct pedestrian route. Providing the option of stairs could have provided a slightly more direct route for pedestrians but would probably have destroyed the elegant lines of the bridge.

The entrance to the bridge is narrowed by a low wall in the right of the photo above. Although not a major issue with the current volume of pedestrians and cyclists it may cause a bottleneck as volumes increase.

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