Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Desire lines: signs of bad design?

Desire lines are where authorities intend for people to go one way, but people (especially pedestrians) quite logically ignore them and go a different way. Often they indicate poor design. Here are some quick examples from my neck of the woods. You have to wonder whose bright idea this was. Try and divert the pedestrians away to a crossing. Why do it? The worn grass indicates not many people fo

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Traffic light programming, and the tale of the Magic Laptop

The Magic Laptop One evening many years ago some PTUA bods and I were meeting with a Vicroads bloke about traffic light priority and other related issues. He had a laptop with him, and it displayed a diagram of a major intersection; I think it was somewhere out on Burwood Highway. While pondering topics such as tram priority, he talked us through how the traffic light sequences worked, an

driving, transport

Cyclists on the footpath

I described this on Twitter the other day, but I'll expand on it here. I was heading out in the car on Saturday afternoon. Got in, beeped, looked behind me, slowly backed-out of my driveway. BANG! A cyclist riding along the footpath with his dog (roughly at running pace) collided with my car. I stopped, moved my car back into the driveway, and asked if he was okay. Thankfully he was. A

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Crossing the street in Cardiff is an exercise in frustration

I wanted to reflect on something from our recent visit to Cardiff. Some of central Cardiff is pedestrianised, which is great. Many other areas have nice wide footpaths. It would be near-perfect for walking... if at most intersections the traffic lights weren't designed to be so pedestrian hostile. It's as if the traffic engineers either hate pedestrians, or have done everything they can t


Subway into SoCross: could it be re-opened?

I had been going to write a blog post asking people what this thing is, on Little Collins Street. If one looks closely, it has City of Melbourne markings. The City of Melbourne and the Herald Sun have highlighted it overnight: it's an old entrance to the subway underneath Spencer Street, into the nearby station. At the old Spencer Street station, the main way on and off the platforms was

Melbourne, transport

Some good stuff in the City of Melbourne’s Draft Walking Plan

You might have seen media coverage (Age / Herald Sun) of the new City of Melbourne Draft Walking Plan. There's lots of interesting stuff in the document (PDF, 35Mb). Below are some notes from a skim through. (Page references refer to those at the top of the page, eg numbered from the start of the PDF including cover sheets/intro, not the start of the document.) p1. The economic benefi

Morons on the road, transport

1 in 6 have challenges just getting down the street. Don’t block the footpath.

In an ABS survey in 2009, 4.0 million people (18.5% of the population) reported having a disability. Of people with a disability, Mobility aids used by about 15% of them. So about 600,000 people nationwide use mobility aids of some kind: walking sticks, walking frames, wheelchairs. Additionally, the 2011 Census says there are 1,457,571 people aged under 5. Let's assume that all of the


William Street — too much space for cars?

Heading south along William Street in morning peak hour, fighting for space on the street, are pedestrians (predominantly coming out of Flagstaff station), trams, cyclists and motorists. How many of each? Tram route 55 gets a tram about every 4 minutes in peak hour. The May 2012 PTV load survey said that each tram carries an average of 78.6 people between 8am and 9am southbound (actually mea

Politics and activism, transport

As a pedestrian, I hate streets with only one footpath

The Greens are traditionally strong on sustainable transport issues, but one of the local candidates for council raised my hackles with this comment: Do we really need footpaths on both sides of the street, in every street in Tucker Ward? There are plenty of places without footpaths or footpaths just on one side. This would save a whole lot of concrete / resources and it looks much better. -


Councils give warnings about overhanging trees blocking footpaths – why not parked cars?

From the City of Glen Eira web site: Property owners are responsible for keeping trees and shrubs under control and trimmed back to ensure pedestrian safety and clear sightlines for drivers. ... If a Council notice is sent requesting that trees or shrubs be trimmed, the work must be completed within 14 days. ... Property owners who do not comply with a notice within 14 days will be issu